The purpose of this paper is to provide the best practice to prevent injuries and fatalities during drills and maintenance for totally enclosed motor propelled survival craft (TEMPSC) on any normally manned Fixed offshore installations, Mobile Offshore Drilling Rigs, jack-up barges and floating barges/heavy lift vessels to ensure safe evacuation of personnel to safe place where they can be recovered.

Lifeboats have been involved in a number of serious/fatal incidents during maintenance operations and drills (e.g. Offshore Drilling Rig AD22 in 2009) when the boat has inadvertently fallen into the sea.

The outcomes of worldwide Survey investigated the root causes of most lifeboats incidents in the last 15 years, Root causes have been categorized as follow:

  • Unsafe practices during lifeboat drills and inspections;

  • Communication failures;

  • Inadequate maintenance of lifeboats, davits and launching equipment;

  • Inadequate training for personnel maintaining/operating the lifeboat.

  • Lack of familiarity with lifeboats, davits, equipment and associated controls;

  • Failure of on-load release mechanism;

  • Inadvertent operation of on-load release mechanism;and

  • Design faults other than on-load release mechanisms. [2]

The survey highlited that unsafe drills by manned launching and recovery of lifeboats and poor maintenance have been played the significant root causes in the high number of incidents and consequences.

Totally enclosed motor propelled survival craft (TEMPSC) should be considered to be a safety-critical element, Therefore Performance Standards should be established and a Written Scheme of Verification prepared to demonstrate their integrity.

Performance standards should be expressed in qualitative and quantitative terms against the fundamental parameters of Functionality, Reliability/Availability, and Survivability and should be measurable & auditable.

Eliminating the associated root causes of fatal Lifeboats accidents during launching and recovery of lifeboats for the purpose of drills/preventive planned maintenance program is the way forward by Making Lifeboat Drills Safer.

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