Skip to content

Lifeboat damaged whilst being lowered on davit

A member has reported an incident in which a lifeboat was damaged. The incident occurred when the davit was boomed out to lower the lifeboat. The lowering was part of a functionality test after adjustment of limit switches by the manufacturer’s service engineers.

Whilst booming out, one of the remote control wires for lifting the brake got trapped behind a wire sheave arrangement. When the wire became taut, the remote control wire lifted the static brake and the lifeboat started lowering while it was still above the deck. The lifeboat got stuck on its protection fender, from which the stainless steel turnbuckle parted. The lifeboat then swung out sharply and was damaged in several locations when it swung back in, hitting the side of the vessel. The lifeboat then descended to the water on the centrifugal brake control. It was not possible to stop the process as the remote control wire remained stuck and taut, lifting the static brake.

The lifeboat was moderately damaged, suffering a puncture hole in the starboard side bottom (approx. 5 x 5 cm), crushing damage to the fibre-glass on the starboard forward top (approx. 80 x 15 cm), and loss of some of the water sprinkler tubing, which came off when the lifeboat hit the side of the vessel. No one was in the lifeboat at the time and there were no injuries.

Damage to lifeboat
Damage to lifeboat
Damage to lifeboat
Damage to lifeboat
How remote wire got stuck behind a wire sheave arrangement
How remote wire got stuck behind a wire sheave arrangement
How remote wire got stuck behind a wire sheave arrangement
How remote wire got stuck behind a wire sheave arrangement

During our member’s investigation the following points were noted:

  • It was unclear when the remote control wire had slipped in between the sheave and sheave guard. It was difficult to observe the many obstacles which could potentially foul this wire;
  • If the remote wire had been kept under adequate tension this would have prevented the likelihood of it fouling;
  • The fact that the lifeboat could be lowered while not yet fully boomed out could be considered a design error. The manufacturers have been asked to investigate this further;
  • The likelihood that the remote wire could become fouled was not foreseen by the manufacturers, and there were no written procedures or instructions covering this.

The following recommendations were made:

  • Persons involved with lifeboat lowering and recovery should ensure that the remote wires are constantly out of the sheave and not fouled with any other rigging.

Safety Event

Published: 14 November 2012
Download: IMCA SF 12/12

IMCA Safety Flashes
Submit a Report

IMCA Safety Flashes summarise key safety matters and incidents, allowing lessons to be more easily learnt for the benefit of all. The effectiveness of the IMCA Safety Flash system depends on Members sharing information and so avoiding repeat incidents. Please consider adding [email protected] to your internal distribution list for safety alerts or manually submitting information on incidents you consider may be relevant. All information is anonymised or sanitised, as appropriate.

IMCA’s store terms and conditions ( apply to all downloads from IMCA’s website, including this document.

IMCA makes every effort to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the data contained in the documents it publishes, but IMCA shall not be liable for any guidance and/or recommendation and/or statement herein contained. The information contained in this document does not fulfil or replace any individual’s or Member's legal, regulatory or other duties or obligations in respect of their operations. Individuals and Members remain solely responsible for the safe, lawful and proper conduct of their operations.