Safelaunch CD image

September 14, 2004

Making lifeboat launching safer

Lifeboat accidents remain all too common. Now Aberdeen, Scotland, based Survival Craft Inspectorate Ltd., has responded by introducing an animated CD version of the operation and maintenance manual for its Safelaunch lifeboat release gear.

The Safelaunch release mechanism is a quick release on-load hook that is designed to allow the safe launch of conventional davit launched lifeboats. Its design was based on a thorough review of existing designs and utilizes real-life experience by Survival Craft Inspectorate, which has been maintaining this type of equipment for many years. The key requirement was to eliminate the risk of accidental release and to keep the need for maintenance to a minimum.

Features include:

  • The usual flat-to-flat contact area of the release pin to the hook finger has been replaced by a curve-to-curve contact giving greater surface area contact even when the safety pin is not optimally aligned; this reduces the risk of potential accidental release.

  • A green safety pin is inserted into the hooks as an additional safety device when the boat has been lifted clear of the water. When the green safety pin is safely in place it is no longer possible to accidentally release the hooks.

  • All the components of the hook assemblies that are normally fabricated from galvanized steel are replaced by high quality stainless steel components to reduce maintenance requirements and ensure a long and trouble free life.

  • Simple visual confirmation of the safety status of the release hooks is enabled by means of a transparent guard on each release hook; red means danger, green means it is safe to proceed.


Explaining the idea behind the new CD manual Angus Campbell, managing director of Survival Craft Inspectorate said:"We conducted a lot of research and invested a great deal of expertise in developing the Safelaunch release mechanism. The ultimate aim is to make lifeboats safer, but it will all have been for nothing if the mechanisms are not operated and maintained correctly. Although English is the common language of the maritime industry and mostly well understood, some individuals do have difficulties reading and safely interpreting it. Diagrams and computer animations, on the other hand, are universal and unambiguous by their nature. If a picture is worth a thousand words it must be worth even more when computer technology enables you to animate it. The procedures become obvious and help ensure that Safelaunch mechanisms are operated and maintained so that they provide the level of safety assurance that crews deserve."

The Safelaunch CD uses a combination of animated graphics and text to explain the operation and maintenance of the release hook mechanism. By running the CD on a convenient PC or laptop, crews can be confident that they have understood the various procedures associated with the operation and maintenance of their 'Safelaunch' lifeboat release mechanisms.

The CD covers all aspects of the release mechanism's operation. It also includes detailed animations of the spare parts catalog, with the specified item being revealed from the main component, so that it can be identified visually with its appropriate part number. This is expected to reduce errors in parts ordering and so avoid the lifeboat down time that can occur when this happens.


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