Lifeboat Checks: What You Need to Know
Lifeboats are essential in ensuring the safety of passengers on ships or any marine vessels. You can never predict dangers at sea, especially those extreme situations where you need to abandon ship! This is why passenger ships, cargo vessels, and other vehicles for water travel should have a sufficient number of lifeboats to salvage both the crew and the passengers from deadly boat disasters.
Although lifeboats are meant to save lives, they are still equipment that can malfunction and that is a dangerous thing to happen most especially in tragic times when it is needed the most.
What should you do to ensure that your lifeboats are dependable?
Know the Correct Lifeboat to Use
Make sure to get the right type of lifeboat for your vessel. There are open lifeboats, closed lifeboats, and free fall lifeboats. Open lifeboats are the oldest type of lifeboats used in small or large vessels. It has no roof and uses manual propellers or ignition engines. Closed lifeboats, on the other hand, are safer to use because of their enclosed and watertight quality, which protects the people on board from strong winds and rough sea elements. Free fall lifeboats are also enclosed, but unlike open and enclosed lifeboats, which are lowered carefully into the water, free fall lifeboats are launched by letting them slide through a tilted ramp and into the water in a farther location.
Do Proper Maintenance
The crew should familiarize themselves with the lifeboat’s manual. Because lifeboats are created differently by their manufacturers, it is best to refer to the manual to know the proper maintenance procedure and how often it is needed. You will find in the manual the specific parts of the lifeboats that need priority attention and information on their service life so that you know when is the right time to replace them.
Lifeboat inspection and maintenance can be done weekly or monthly depending on the need. Specific personnel assigned to do these should be properly trained. With proper inspection on a regular basis, the crew grows more familiar with the lifeboats and how to use them. Lifeboat drills should also be practiced to learn how to use lifeboats by experience.
Keep Maintenance Records
Details of the lifeboat inspection should be recorded for future use and should be reported to the boat captain. These records can help to determine the start or cause of specific issues and eventually the fixing procedure. All the inspection and maintenance reports, as well as lifeboat repair details, should be presented to and signed by the boat captain.
Get a Lifeboat Service Provider
The maintenance crew can’t handle all types of lifeboat repairs. Some parts are just too complicated to touch without in-depth knowledge of what to do. This is the job of lifeboat service providers. These specialists give exhaustive lifeboat servicing yearly or every 5 years to ensure that your lifeboats are in tiptop shape and are compliant with regulatory guidelines. Pick a trusted provider with enough experience on the job and complies with 1S0 9000 standards. They should be well-versed in regulatory guidelines in your area of operation. In Singapore, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore oversees directives on lifeboat maintenance, accident prevention, and other safety matters.
Shipping is much safer today. However, sufficient crew knowledge and regular inspection/servicing of lifeboats should be part of the company’s priority to mitigate risks in cases of life-threatening situations at sea.