Real Life Accident: Man Overboard Buoy Stays On Board

An officer was undertaking his inspections of the various life saving appliances on a relatively new (two years) small coastal vessel. His inspection revealed that the starboard man overboard life-ring launcher, located aft and below the bridge due to design considerations, was inadequate from a design standpoint.

When activated from the bridge wing, the launching flap deployed to 90 degrees, the retaining chain being too short to allow a greater angle. This meant the life-ring would remain in its holder instead of falling into the water.


Lessons learned

  • Even after two years, this deficiency remained ‘hidden in plain view’. Flag inspectors, class surveyors, port state controls and even internal inspections had failed to catch this deficiency over the two year period
  • Life saving appliances are a crew’s last chance at survival if disaster strikes. It is in the crew’s own best interests to ensure their proper functionality.


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