The well known pilot ladder poster is displayed on the bridge of every ship nowadays. Often another copy of the poster is displayed at the pilot boarding point. Crews rather use this poster to install the pilot boarding arrangement than reading another set of rules and regulations, after all a picture tells us more than a 1000 words.
In this article I would like to share my thoughts on this pilot ladder poster. Is it as good as we think or is there room for improvement? By taking you through this poster step by step I hope to explain what needs to be changed to make it similar to IMO an SOLAS regulations.
Combination arrangement section:
- Pilot steps up from the ladder to the platform, where he should step only sideways.
- Pilot mark has been placed in the wrong position with the result some ship’s do the same thing.
- Someone on the platform welcoming the pilot. The only place where this is mentioned is on the poster, nowhere else. Imho he could better stay on board instead of taking risks.
- Gangway is secured to the hull by means of rope, a magnet is also allowed. Similar for the ladder: secured by magnets, but rope is also allowed.
- Pilot ladder without thimble eyes at the top end, secured with a wrong knot, similar for the sideropes.
Figure A,B and C:
- Drawing suggests pad eyes are the only solution to guide the ladder from vertical to horizontal, as we know more ways are possible.
- IMO A.1045(27) states in 7.4.2: “The pilot ladder should be secured to a strongpoint, independent of the pilot ladder winch reel”. Not the case in any of the 3 figures.
- IMO A.1045(27) states is 7.4.3: ”the pilot ladder should be secured at deck level inside the ship opening or, when located on the ship’s upper deck at a distance of not less than 915 mm measured horizontally from the ship’s side inwards”. Not the case or made clear in any of the 3 figures.
- In figure C, the ladder is not secured to the ship’s hull 1,5m above the platform as required.
Absolutely dangerous as the table below explains:
This is quite different than the maximum climb of 9 meters the pilot ladder poster mentions. People have died falling from heights. Dropping from a height of more than 9 m will most certainly result into fatal injuries. Falling from lesser heights gives you a chance of survival. The table below in which I put dropping height in relation to speed illustrates this. Dropping from a height of even 3m will result in a final dropping speed of almost 28 km/h before you’ll hit the deck… from 10 meters even 50km/h, like driving into a wall.