During rough weather on a vessel at sea, the lashing on a life raft gave way due to wear on stitching on the strap eye. The life raft fell into the water and became inflated.
The life raft was recovered; the sea anchor was damaged, other equipment was found intact, but the shell of the raft was lost at sea.
What went wrong
- Lashing straps literally affected by “wear and tear” during poor weather condition;
- Inspection of the straps was not part of the vessel planned maintenance system.
- A “Y strap” wire lashing may be used (see illustration), given the approval of the manufacturer;
- Regular inspections and pre-checks before rough weather;
- Specific inspection of life raft lashings to be added to vessel planned maintenance system (PMS).
IMCA notes that consideration should be given to the possibility of corrosion and degradation, leading to failure of parts due to:
- Long-term exposure to the weather and to the sea air;
- Repeated stresses induced by the movement of the vessel;
- Accumulated damage or stress over very long periods between inspections – years;
- Difficulty in access for inspection.
Members may wish to refer to:
- Failure of life raft securing strap 
- Dropped object near miss – crane boom bumper stop falls off
- Checking of safety helmets [plastic hats do degrade under UV, over time]
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