Step Change in Safety warns that a recent incident has highlighted a potential deficiency in a rescue boat painter release mechanism. During a routine launch of the rescue boat whilst at sea, the painter released early causing the towing forces normally absorbed by the painter to shift onto the fall wire once the boat was waterborne. This resulted in the rescue boat capsizing.
It is possible that the early release of the painter was due to a failure in the painter release mechanism.
A full investigation into the incident is underway and the findings will be published once complete.
The company concerned has instructed its vessel to immediately:
1. Check the painter release mechanisms on their rescue boats. Once the mechanism is released either manually or by pulling on the release wire the locking lever must spring back into the locked position.
2. If this does not spring back into place with sufficient force and lock the mechanism, the boat must NOT be launched until the deficiency has been rectified.
3. A weekly check of the painter release mechanism is to be included into the rescue boat checks and entered into the planned maintenance system.
4. Immediately prior to launching the rescue boat, a check must be made that the painter is secured correctly in the boat and on the vessel. This must be confirmed by another member of the launch party.
5. Review the onboard procedure and risk assessment for launching/recovery of the rescue boat at sea with the vessel making headway and incorporate any further required reference to the checking of the painter release mechanism.