Wheelhouses used to be built in wood and were removable for passing under some lower bridges. These days they are built in aluminum and can be raised or lowered by a hydraulic system. A wheelhouse is very often the area where the skipper spent most of his time.
In the early days many windows in a wheelhouse were blended or it was just a wooden panel instead of glass. This was for two reasons:
- Windows could break when lowering the wheelhouse
- Some skippers were afraid their vanished interior would be deteriorating quicker because of sun light coming in.
Nowadays this is no longer allowed since you must have an all-round view from the wheelhouse. This is also one of the rules in getting a CVO.
Some inside pictures of the wheelhouses from Dutch Barges. Most of the pictures were used with permission from the broker website Fikkers.
A kitchen in a wheelhouse
While walking around in Amsterdam, I discovered that several people had their kitchen made in the wheelhouse. It is not such a crazy idea after all. If you don’t move your boat, the wheelhouse is a perfect place to see what is happening and what is nicer then cooking with a good view?