Maritime Safety Week : Pilot Ladder Safety

Source: 7/7/2023, Location: Europe

In light of Maritime Safety Week and the Port of Blyth’s commitment to providing a safe environment for all, our Marine Pilots have been running a series of educational briefings with vessels that have entered the Port this week, promoting the importance of safe pilot ladders.

Our Pilots play an integral role in the safe operation of our Harbour, providing the safe navigation of vessels in and out of the Port. A regular concern for them is substandard and incorrectly rigged pilot ladders. Despite advances in marine technology over the years, Marine Pilots still embark and disembark moving vessels by using a rope pilot ladder. The pilot transfer is a hazardous operation, so it is essential that these ladders are safe for use.

Please see some of the advice shared by our Marine Pilots this week below:

The crew must inspect the pilot ladder before and after its use to verify that it is in good condition:

Ensure the ladder is in date by checking the maker’s plate, normally found underneath one of the lower spreaders
Inspect the ladder’s side ropes to ensure that they are undamaged and in good condition
Check the ladder’s steps, making sure they are undamaged, clean, evenly spaced and horizontal
Replace the ladder if there are any signs of damage, no matter how small. Someone’s life may depend on it.

The three most important points to remember are:
Inspect the pilot ladder before and after use
Ensure it is well lit and rigged correctly
Supervise its use, with a suitably qualified officer at the embarkation point who is in direct communication with the bridge and has lifesaving appliances close at hand, ready to respond if something goes wrong

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