Ships Pilot Elevator System

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Ships Pilot Elevator System
Text by John Milligan

It is frequently a Maritime requirement for a ship to employ and have onboard, a Ships Pilot when entering port. His/ her presence will greatly enhance the safe docking of a vessel into port, harbor or to an anchorage.

As the ship approaches its destination a Ships Pilot will arrive alongside in a Pilot launch in order to board the moving vessel. Using well-rehearsed procedures the Pilot is provided with a flexible ladder with wood or plastic rungs, lowered from the ships deck. The launch approaches the ladder and when it is deemed safe to transfer, the pilot steps off the launch onto the ladder and climbs up to the deck of the ship. Accidents and fatalities have occurred during this method of transfer.

To greatly reduce such incidents a new transfer system has been developed. It consists principally of two simple components. A guide track and a platform. The components can be very easily assembled/ dis-assembled and stowed when not in use. The platform assembly rides in the guide track built onto the side of the ship.

When assembled, the system, part of which rides within the track, and the platform, is lowered by means of a winch. The Pilot simply steps onto the platform, will be surrounded by safety rails and is raised to the deck of the ship using the winch. The (Jacobs/ Pilot) ladder is eliminated. The reverse applies to allow the Pilot to dis-embark all within the safety confines of the platform and safety rails.

The general procedure would be:
1. The pilot launch arrives at the pilot platform.
2. The pilot steps onto the platform when it is safe to do so.
3. The pilot secures himself to the safety wire/ harness lowered from the ships deck. He does NOT secure himself to the platform.
4. The pilot closes the drop chains in order to create a safe environment.
5. The pilot is raised by the winch to the ships deck.

The system should be located around amidships. The system and winch will be located in a ‘house’ in way of the guide track. To assemble or dis-assemble the system, it has been designed to be light enough for each component to be ‘manhandled’ without tools and yet strong enough to safely support the Pilot.
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