On-load release hooks

On-load release mechanisms designed to permit the release of the davit-launched lifeboat from fall wires when ship is still making way through the water or in rough sea. There is a common misconception that the on-load release system is to allow a lifeboat to be release while suspended from the fall wires. This is very dangerous practice, which can result in serious spinal injuries to persons on board and significant damage to the boat.

Since their introduction, failures of on-load release hooks were reasons of many serious accidents. There are reported to be about 80 types of on-load release hooks in service. Some of these systems are described by accident investigators as “inherently unsafe” or “unstable”. Many of the original manufactures of these systems are no longer trading and this leads to a situation where spare parts are not available creating problems with proper maintenance.

Remember: It is not allowed to ”drop” the davit-launched lifeboat from the falls to the water, as when the lifeboat is dropped, even from as little as one metre above the water, there can be serious personal injuries and possible structural damage.

Testing the on-load release mechanism must be carried out by equipment manufacturers or their authorized representatives.

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