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Lowering of Lifeboat

Q. How will you arrange to lower the lifeboat with minimum crew?
Upon the call of stations, the boat’s crew proceeds to their designated stations. The incharge ensures that there is no obstruction for the launching of the boat. The following is performed in correct sequence and only after receiving clear instructions from the incharge. Two of the seamen unship the harbour safety pins forward and aft and then they let go the forward and after gripes. 
Out of the two seamen who have boarded the lifeboat, the Bowman passes the painter which is taken well forward well clear of everything and made fast at main deck level.  This will finally be left on board. The stern-sheet ensures that the boat plug is shipped. Tiller is removed and kept down.
Bowman and stern sheet make sure that the falls are clear and lifelines are secured. The brakesman lowers the boat to the embarkation deck by gradually releasing the hand brake, keeping the control to ensure the boat does not swing violently. As the boat comes to embarkation deck the weight comes on tricing pendant. This weight is partially taken by rigging bowsing tackle fore and aft, whose one side is secured on deck and the other in the lifeboat, with bowman and stern sheet holding the hauling part. These tackles are held tight by bowman and sternsheet. These are also left on board eventually. The boat now is ready to receive passenger, crew, etc into the boat.

Q. What are the securing arrangements in case of a lifeboat?
The lifeboat in its stowed position is secured with the following:
Lifeboat is stowed on wooden support on davit and hooked on to the lifeboat falls. Additionally, the securing is done by:

  1. Forward and aft gripes.
  2. Harbour safety pins.

Q. What is a toggle painter?
Toggle painter usually is a 32mm fiber rope with eye on both the sides. It’s one end is fast on deck, well forward and clear of everything. This painter ensures connectivity to ship till the time we want and in the end it can positively be released from boat by slipping off the wooden toggle.

Q. What precautions must you take in respect of tricing pendants?

  1. The length of the both the tricing pendants must be equal and adapted to the length appropriate for the purpose.
  2. They must be maintained in good condition as they would take the weight of boat partially.
  3. Bowman and sternsheet must ensure that they are secured prior attempting to swing the boat.
  4. When order is given to let go tricing pendants, they must be released together.

Q. What is the role of tricing pendants?
The tricing pendants help controlling violent swing of the boat away from shipside and get the boat close to ship side (embarkation deck) as it is swung with minimum crew.

Q. What is the role of bowsing tackle in lowering the boat?
To share the weight of tricing pendent and bring the boat closer to embarkation deck, the bowsing tackles are rigged. The tricing pendant and bowsing tackles help boat to remain close to embarkation deck even in adverse list, as required by regulations. When crew has boarded the boat, the weight is taken on bowsing tackles to provide ease in releasing tricing pendant. Thereafter the bowsing tackles are gradually eased off and then left on board.

Q. What areas of a life boat must be checked during a lifeboat drill?

  1. Lifeboat should be dry with plug available and close to drain.
  2. Lifeboat engines are worked.
  3. Tiller and hoist handle are located and checked ensuring that they are in good condition.
  4. The hook attachment plates of the boat’s body is in good condition.
  5. Tricing pendant and gripes must be in good condition.
  6. Harbour safety pin and the slot is well greased.
  7. All the moving parts must be greased and sheaves must turn.
  8. Condition of boat falls must be thoroughly checked.
  9. Auto cut off switch must be tested.
  10. The body of lifeboat must be closely inspected.

Q. What may happen if a sheave is not turning but the lifeboat fall slides over the sheave due grease and corrective action is not taken?
If such error is overlooked in several drills, the wire rope will have cutting effect. On the day that the successful launching is most needed, the shave may give up and wire rope and may get stuck in the sheave. It would not be possible to lower the boat thereafter.

Q. What other things must be checked during a lifeboat drill?

  1. Time taken from the alarm’s sounding to the time when the boat is alongside the embarkation deck is noted down.
  2. It must be ensured that the duties as well as the sequence of the procedure is clear to everyone.
  3. Everyone must be familiar with the donning of lifejackets and the appropriate posture of jumping. 
  4. Condition of hoist handle, ladder and other equipment is checked.

Q. What precautions must be taken in respect of release of hooks?
Last one meter or so, the lifeboat is allowed to fall in single go. This way the fall will be slightly more due the momentum. The idea being if in this last phase the boat remains partially supported on the wave crest then the boat may not fall further. The crew must be aware of the risk of getting the hand injured while unhooking and must take extreme precaution.

Q. What precautions must be taken as the lifeboat is lowered?

  1. Skates must be in position prior the attempt is made to swing the lifeboat.
  2. All must remain in the lowest possible stow position in the lifeboat.
  3. Once again it is ensured that there is no obstruction.
  4. Tiller must unshipped.
  5. Plug must be placed.
  6. Skates must be removed as the boat touches water.
  7. When the lifeboat is near water, lifeboat engines are started and hooks released.
  8. Both the falls should be unhooked together. In case the ship has soe headway then the after falls may be released first.
  9. Any other point that may be specified in the lifeboat manual.

Q. What details are given in the lifeboat manual?
The manual must be prepared using the ‘Revised guidelines for developing operation and maintenance manuals for lifeboat systems’. This is provided in MSC.1/Circ.1205/Rev.1 dated 26 June 2019.  The lifeboat manual has details about operation and maintenance of lifeboat systems including launching appliances in a user friendly manner.

Q. What is the objective of these guidelines?
Seafarers sometimes are not familiar with the lifeboats on their ships. This is because they may serve o different ships with differing systems. Casualties with lifeboat systems are often caused by poor understanding of the lifeboat systems, especially release gear systems. User-friendliness of manuals for lifeboat systems is, therefore, important to help prevent casualties.

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