Rescue Boat near miss

Just curious how many others on here treat their rescue boat the same way? Some scary shit here.

Many years ago my counterpart as Chief Mate was launching the rescue boat for a quarterly drill with him and two other crew in the boat. The counterweight for the limit switch which surrounded the cable near the davit head failed while lowering and nearly severed the cable. Luckily they were close enough to the main deck at the time that they were able to scurry back aboard the ship. Ever since this incident I have had the same feeling about these boats as the crew in the story.

I have flat out told USCG inspectors that I refuse to lower the rescue boat with any crew onboard for a drill. The risks are too high. I don’t think I’d even use it in an emergency, opting for the lifeboat instead. SOLAS now mandates that the rescue boat be launched monthly so there are 12 opportunities a year for a catastrophic casualty in my opinion.

Anyone else feel likewise?

They always stuck me as among the most dangerous piece of equipment on the boat. I wonder how many lives they have saved vs lives they have lost or ruined?

We trained on lowering the lifeboat with crew on board every time we reached Honningsvåg on northbound trip, when I worked for Hurtigruten. Hated everything about it, one screw up or faulty equipment and people could die/get hurt.

Luckily people took the training serious and we had a strict maintenance regime on the lifeboats and davits. But I had some experiences I could live without.

Weak points on the davits was the lowering wire and the system used to keep the lifeboat alongside the shipside for easy entry. If the lowering wire got stuck, the davit would not stop at mustering deck and you could risk that the lifeboat did a uncontrolled launch.

Something like this:

A cruise ship used its lifeboat to rescue a worker who fell overboard off another cruise ship near Cuba yesterday. Lucky for him his rescuers survived the launch.
How can this problem be fixed?

On the lifeboat side of the equation I believe @john brought this Viking Nadiro releasing gear system to my attention a couple years ago. Rescue boats are a different animal to me though. The one on my vessel is a Chinese single point on load releasing system that is shaaaadddyyyyy.

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The vessel I did my AB apprenticeship on had a ugly accident some years prior during a FRC training. While lowering of the FRC the davit wire broke because of rust. 3 AB’s fell 13 meters down to the sea with the FRC. One AB died and two became disabled for life.

It was maintenance routines that was at fault. Company policy was to grease the wire, but that trapped water in the wire and it rusted from the inside.

I’m not sure why the weekly inspection of the FRC davit did not see the damage. But I learned something about how thoroughly you have to inspect the whole davit.

I actually found a article about the accident

Was on MS Nordkapp in 2005. Was actually a sister ship of the one I did my apprenticeship on.


Video of the rescue:

Being Norwegian, he could have lasted several more days.

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Was he Norwegian or just a crew on Norwegian Getaway? I never could get a straight answer on Reddit. Read the article from
and it makes no sense. Maybe I’m not as steady in English as I thought, but when I read the story he is a Norwegian (Getaway) crew member.

I have heard nothing about the story in Norwegian papers. Is there even Norwegians left in the cruise industry except maybe a Captain or two?

I don’t know except that at one time many of the officers were Norwegian with, I believe, Filipino crew?
In reference to my question about fixing the problem, I was thinking more in terms of an overall systemic change like the pod concept with simpler release systems rather that a launching apparatus.
Rescue boats would still have to be on davits obviously.

Should have a maximum allowed height from freeboard deck also. Launching a FRC some is 20 meters above water is scary as hell.

Yes, it was about the same time as the cruise companies was Norwegian owned.

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I’m also of the opinion that IMO should have a foundation to buy rescue equipment patents and release them for all to use. Life equipment should not be to expensive to upgrade on vessels. If the Drop-In-Ball™ proves to be the superior system to all others is should become standard on all vessels that can use it.


He is a 33 year old Filipino.

Nothing Norwegian left with Norwegian Cruise Lines except the name.
Originally started by Kloster back in the 1960’s but now owned by Genting Holdings. HK which is owned by a Malaysian Chinese family:

Lucky him, but it did make the story a lot less interesting. Read that he jumped.

How about making all of the critical rust prone components of the davit out of stainless or some other corrosion resistant material.

An excellent idea. Rescue boats are often placed on the poop where launching them at sea where launching them at sea would be suicidal.
The only vessels where boat work happens on a day to day basis is vessels engaged in seismic survey where work boats are launched frequently to undertake maintenance of the array and passenger ships conveying passengers ashore by tender.
The work boats are approximately 11 tonnes , twin diesels fitted with radar and a sophisticated positioning equipment and they have to be launched while the vessel is underway and making way. The fast rescue boat is often used as well for personnel changes and urgent light stores when helicopters are not available.
Some cruise ship lifeboats/tenders are aso twin screw with a bow thruster and radar with a capacity up to 300 that I have seen.