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ISM and riding the tender during lifting
Posted: Friday, November 30, 2012 10:26 PM
Joined: 05/09/2008
Posts: 33

I recently did a relief job on a yacht which was ISM compliant. I was very surprised to see they were lifting the tenders on the bow with the deckhand riding the tender. In fact I was surprised to see that there are still yachts in general (be it ISM compliant or not) that have persons riding the tender during lifting. The captain was on the crane controls during the lifting most of the time. Both the captain and the bosun told me they had worked together with the First Mate who was on board Vinydrea when the deckhand got killed when he was riding the jet-ski during lifting. By the way, this yacht was also flying the Cayman Island flag. I looked at the SMS, there was no specific permit-to-work in place for lifting the tender. There was a risk assessment which said the person in the tender should were a life jacket. How is it possible that this takes place on an ISM compliant yacht? If a risk assessment has been made, surely the DPA must have seen it and be aware of this?
Posted: Tuesday, December 4, 2012 8:02 PM
Joined: 23/10/2008
Posts: 8

Hence why tenders on the bow are a stupid idea. Its either that or the deckhand goes down a  chair over the side to get in it, getting knocked against the hull in the process. You pick.

Posted: Tuesday, December 4, 2012 9:13 PM
Whilst 'man riding' operations have obvious increased risk, the vessels SMS, acting as the vessel's manual to comply with company policy in this instance is not unusal. Man riding operations are visited in the Code of Safe Working Practices for Seamen (MCA Publication), the standard operating procedure for this activity must be risk assessed by a competent person and risk mitigation strategies developed to ensure an acceptable risk level is attained, RA's for standard procedures must be re-assessed annually. Additionally, the vessel's SMS is audited by 'the company' and flag state surveyors at regular intervals. All persons taking part in this activity (as with any activity which bears appreciable risk) must be trained, and records of such transmitted to 'the company'. Additionally, the vessel's equipment must be maintained in accordance with manufacturer and flag state guidance (and records kept). If you do feel uncomfortable with undertaking this activity on the grounds of safety, as with any activity onboard, you can (and have a duty to) stop the activity and raise your concerns. In the first instance it should be with co-workers, head of department, safety officer, Master or the DPA. If, after raising the issue, you feel there is a failure of safety, a 'defect notice' should be raised. This is the very premise of the ISM system, and should have been explained (and understood) when you were given 'induction training' on joining the vessel. In the instance that there is a systematic failure of the ISM chain to the company level, you may seek the representation of your Maritime Union. * Remember though, the Master may instruct any activity, even contradicting the SMS or law as he sees fit in order to preserve life. In anycase, due to the nature of your question, a defect notice should be raised due to the 'unfamiliarity' of yourself with the vessel's SMS. This will then ensure strategies are developed to ensure new crew are aware of safety management procedures in future induction training.
Posted: Tuesday, December 4, 2012 10:51 PM
Joined: 09/10/2008
Posts: 134

It is a good while since I was last on a commercial vessel (tankers & ferries) but i think that you will find that it is standard practice to launch both rescue boats and life boats with multiple persons on board. Of course, the correct procedures, risk assessments, maintenance and testing need to be carried out and appropriately rated equipment used. On a recent new build over 500GT commercial reg we specifically went over the launching of the forward RCB with the (senior) Cayman surveyor. The procedure was approved for the crew member to remain on the boat as it was lowered.
Posted: Tuesday, December 4, 2012 10:52 PM
Joined: 27/02/2010
Posts: 3

Is the problem not that the tenders are located on the bow? Before questioning another boat's methods, especially if you will bring this up with a senior crew member, see if you can think of a legitimately better way to conduct tender launching operations. It's very easy to be a couch quarterback and it's highly unappreciated. Some suggestions could be to launch it and have a crew member board from the water. Launch it with some sort of quick release system and walk it to the stern - but this requires time, extra crew, possibility of the tender getting damaged or damaging the main vessel. We have a rescue tender on the bow and it has a specially designed hook to allow for a relatively quick release in an emergency which makes option 2 not possible. Also, In the case that you have any tender besides a RIB up forward option 2 is also not possible. Option 1 is only available if crew are about to engage is watersports/hull wash anyway - guest wont appreciate a drowned-rat escorting them into St Tropez I'm sure. I guess a third alternative would be to drop-off/pick-up someone to and from the tender but this assumes you have a tender that is launched elsewhere. But if all your tenders are on the bow - this too is not possible. So if, in this boats case, none of these 3 options are available then what do you suggest as an alternative?
Posted: Wednesday, December 5, 2012 3:04 AM
Joined: 19/04/2012
Posts: 6

Lets not overlook what ISM is, and that is Safe Management. If your lifting the tender with proper safe practices and procedures with SOLAS / Lloyds / Cayman certified equipment and STCW trained crew; of course it is safe and legal to lift crew in a tender. Just be sure of the particular rating of your crane / lifting gear as cargo and man-lifts require separate load tests and certification.
Posted: Wednesday, December 5, 2012 4:28 AM
Joined: 25/11/2012
Posts: 21

You can't legislate common sense. If ISM was the end-all, be-all way to prevent stupid actions, then we could use monkeys to run boats instead of people. But nice of you to do the relief work and not fix this mistake. Good job there salty. Another professional yachtie.
Posted: Wednesday, December 5, 2012 9:08 AM
You need to determine whether it is actually a "tender". Rescue boats and lifeboats are designed and approved for man-riding. Rescue boats are often stowed on the bow. Tenders are not usually designed (but may be) for this purpose. They are usually stowed in a garage.
Posted: Wednesday, December 5, 2012 11:24 AM
Joined: 14/01/2009
Posts: 1024

Good question. It certainly looks like these three Brave men of Stink are standing in a yacht tender , comparing license's and cursing yacht masters, while they hoist. It Could be a fashionable lifeboat ? You just never know these days.....................
Gabriel Poirier
Posted: Wednesday, December 5, 2012 5:21 PM
Joined: 21/05/2008
Posts: 31

I did work aboard a yacht where the captain was riding the tender and the deck at the control. Well he became the ex-captain. A week later with the new captain and mate (me), we pick-up the tender and I said to the deck that nobody will ride it. As we lifted it, the cable broke- a brand new cable, of the wrong size-. These crane and cable are not design for lifting other thing than the tender or other small object. I.S.M. or not, you better start thinking at your own safety. Nobody else will do it better than you.
Posted: Friday, December 7, 2012 12:51 AM
Joined: 05/09/2008
Posts: 33

There are some useful comments here, thank you for your replies.

So to recap: if riding the tender is unavoidable, you have to make sure it is safe by ensuring:
  • the lifting equipment is designed for the purpose of lifting persons (Code of Safe Working Practices);
  • there is a standard operating procedure (SOP) in the SMS;
  • the SOP is risk assesed and re-assesed annually;
  • all persons taking part in this activity must be trained and records transmitted to the company;
  • equipment must be maintained in accordance with manufacturer and flag state guidance and records kept.

Also a valid point was made by Dave: "Is the problem not that the tenders are located on the bow?" I think it is. The yacht designers do not want to sacrifice space on deck or in the garage and leave the crew to risk their lifes launching the toys.

And the "rescue" tender on the bow is just to comply with the regulations. The majority of the captains will not launch them underway while having anything else than a calm sea. Also because most of them (at least the ones I have seen) are not equiped with on-load release hooks like the ones on commercial vessels (tankers etc). It is quicker anyway to spin the yacht on a dime, drive back to the MOB and throw him line...

Thanks everybody for their input!