Alert 10 – 15 Lifeboat Property Damage Incident
An offshore rig recently experienced a property damage incident when a lifeboat davit component failed while performing a scheduled weight test of a lifeboat. Water bags were used to apply necessary weight to achieve maximum lifeboat capacity for the function test of release gear and davit components. As required by procedure, all personnel involved with the job remained onboard the rig and in a position of safety, limiting the actual severity of this incident to property damage. The lifeboat and davit arrangement consisted of two release hooks on the lifeboat supported by two davit fall/wires. When test weight was achieved, the brake was released at the davit to initiate a controlled descent of the lifeboat. The brake was set to stop the descent of the lifeboat approximately 6 feet above the water to check distance. The brake was again released to continue lowering the lifeboat and after descending another 6 inches, the threads of a sheave tensioning bolt used to adjust the sheave and secure it to the davit structure stripped. The bolt thread failure allowed the sheave to detach/separate from the davit structure creating 20 foot of slack in the bow fall wire. The slack wire allowed the bow of the lifeboat to drop into the water and the weight/force was transferred to the supporting fall/wire at the stern. This incident caused severe damage to the stern lifeboat deck area.