Two Injured in Lifeboat Drill Accident Aboard RRS Sir David Attenborough

Sounds like she’s already been involved in her first incident. I hope the crewmembers involved aren’t critically injured and recover quickly. Scary stuff!

UK MAIB: “We’ve started an investigation into injuries sustained by crewmembers inside a lifeboat that rolled onto its side and then fell overboard during a launching drill on the research vessel RRS Sir David Attenborough in Loch Buie, Scotland on 05 March.”

Yet again proof that nobody ever has enough training by the manufacturer of how to raise and lower a lifeboat.

It’s 2021. Ridiculous.

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“Two people sustained minor injuries.

“while inside a lifeboat that rolled onto its side then fell overboard during a launching drill.”

Article from the shipyard with a couple photos of the lifeboats

The lifeboats, each capable of carrying 90 people, are now in position on both sides of the vessel, along with the operational davits that allow for the safe deployment and recovery of the boats.

The lifeboats are certified to meet Polar Code requirements:

It’s difficult to train away complacency. How much attention do you give your boat drills?


Complacency? The ship is brand new! If there’s ever a time to not be complacent, it’s when you’re working with new and different equipment.

If this was in 5 or 10 years, maybe. But new ship, new equipment, new people, there should be extra attention paid by all involved. Thankfully those in the boat must have been strapped in their seats (which doesn’t happen always), or this could have been a lot worse.

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Yeah, the correct path to launch those boats is very narrow. Don’t have to step very far off for things to really go badly wrong. Not much margin for error.

Don’t you first lower the lifeboat down to the embarkation deck and open the doors to the boat … and then you enter into it. And when it is full of 90 people you lower it into the polar sea among the ice. What can go wrong? Aha, it is a royal (polar) research ship. So where were the royals. Shouldn’t Charles and the Queen ensure that the LSA of their ship works?
Anyway, when the boat is in the water/ice, it shall off load the 90 people somewhere. Are skis and skates provided according to the Polar Code? Only after that the empty boat shall be recovered and lifted up aboard again.

That was the old way. Now the embarkation is at the stowed position. Once the crew is aboard everyone steps back and the brake is opened. At that point the crew on deck stands back and just watches the shit fly. Hopefully all in the right direction.

No, there is no way to board 90 people on the boat in the stowed position. Anyway - only 2 persons got injured during the drill. The 88 others survived unscathed. Not bad!

Yes, there is. But there were not 90 people in that boat.

With a new crew I used to lower the boat to the deck with no crew aboard. Then after every knew the drill put the crew in and do it again.

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She have been out of the yard and on extensive sea trials for months, so probably not the first time they have had a drill.
Investigation is ongoing, so the truth will come out soon.
PS> Vestdavit claim that their launching procedure is easy to understand and perform. So is maintenance of their equipment.

My thoughts exactly. Complacency is usually a loss of focus trait where a person takes something for granted or just think they know better. This still could be the case. We don’t know. But, it should be pretty damn difficult to accidentally on-load release with the new hook designs – which require an override if the hydrostatic diaphragm has yet to sense pressure. I would certainly look at training, but I would also look at the design, maintenance, and commissioning records.

The royal ship took four years to be built and then there were four months of royal ship trials and two commoners were injured trying to launch a royal lifeboat one day using Vestdavit equipment . Who is at fault? The royals of course. The Queen and Charles should have been the two first allowed to enter and test and try the ROYAL lifeboat, etc. What are royals for these days?

Not definitive of course but the wording in the article makes it sound like it was not crew error.

The MAIB says crew members sustained injuries while inside a lifeboat that rolled onto its side then fell overboard during a launching drill.

“We can confirm that on Thursday 4 March a lifeboat failed to deploy correctly during testing.

Or at least it doesn’t sound like accidently release.

I’m glad we have a free fall boat. Seems like much less to go wrong.

Launching drills with crew in a life boat is a bad idea. What’s the point? You want to train the lifeboat coxswain how to handle the weight of passengers? Put some sacks of provisions in the lifeboat to simulate weight. At one point as chief I forbade my assistants to participate in live launching of life boats. I explained to the captain that we were happy to participle in drills before the grips were released as it is important for everyone to know how to get in and strap themselves down. BUT I was not in favor of mates practicing their craft of lowering life boats with human beings inside. The captain was understanding.