Safety Working Practices on Deck



  • Safe Working Practices Regulations 
  • Sections 47-53

Every year there are serious and often fatal accidents involving falls from stages, bosun’s chairs, portable ladders, and other working places aloft. You should get into the habit of wearing a safety device. When working outboard or over side, you should also wear some form of personal buoyant device. When coming back on board avoid the temptation to “ride the hoist.” Use a Jacob’s ladder, gangway, or accommodation ladder. Take care to avoid risks to anyone working or passing below. Make sure those tools and stores are sent up and lowered by line in suitable containers, or wear a tool belt.

If working aloft near the funnel, whistle, radio antenna or radar scanner, make sure that the persons in charge of these items know that you are there, so that they can isolate this equipment from the power source to prevent risk.

      •                  Ropes
  • Before working aloft, always inspect and test all rope, whether a safety lifeline, gantline or stage rope. Your life could depend on it!
  • Many types of artificial and natural fibre ropes are used on ships. All are affected, and some seriously weakened by contaminating substances such as rust removers, bleaches, oils, solvents and detergents. Take care to minimize exposure to these agents.
  • It also is important to select the right type of rope for the job. Further guidance is given in “The Code of Safe Working Practices” and in the manufacturers’ literature.


  • Cradles and Staging
  • The modern cradle-type stages are safest because they have permanent guard rails. When using an ordinary plank stage, you should ensure that the materials are strong enough for the job and free from defect. The standard method of rigging the stage is shown. Before lowering or raising a stage, make sure that other persons on the stage are informed, that the movements are closely controlled, and that safety lines are secured. When they are not in use, stow the stage or the planks in a dry ventilated space away from heat.


Bosun’s Chairs

      • Always inspect the chair and gantline before use. When using a chair for riding topping lifts or stays, make sure that the bow of the shackle, and not the pin, rides on the wire. In any case, seize the pin. Use only your hands, never a winch, to haul a person aloft in a bosun’s chair.


Portable Ladders

  • If you have to work from a ladder, it should rest on a firm base and be secured as close as possible to its uppers resting place. Make sure it is in good condition before use. Use both hands for climbing; carrying tools in a belt or haul them up on a line as with other materials and equipment. It’s easy to overreach while working on a ladder; take care that you don’t lean out too far and overbalance.




LEARNING OBJECTIVE: Explain the procedures for working over the side and taking soundings.untitled

  • Personnel preparing to work over the side should notify the officer of the deck (OOD). Upon securing,personnel should again notify the OOD.


  • All personnel working over the side of the ship on stages, boatswain's chairs, and on work floats or boats along the side of the ship are required to wear life jackets. Except for personnel in boats, personnel working over the side must be equipped with a parachute-type safety harness with safety lines tended from the deck above.


  • All personnel should be instructed in all applicable safety regulations before they are permitted to work over the side of the ship on scaffolding, stages, or in boatswain's chairs.


  • A competent petty officer must constantly supervise personnel working on scaffolding , stages, and in boatswain's chairs, and personnel must be assigned to tend the safety lines.


  • When personnel are doing hot-work such as welding or cutting while working over-the-side or aloft, fiber lines could burn and cause a serious mishap. To prevent this, replace all personnel safety lines and the fiber lines on the staging and boatswain chairs with wire rope. The Navy uses Corrosion Resistant Steel (CRES) wire rope. How ever, since the Navy supply system does not carry pre-assembled working or safety lines made of CRES, you must make them yourself.


  • When doing hot-work over the side, replace the nonadjustable, fiber-rope, working lanyard and the fiber-rope safety lanyard (DYNA-BRAKE, if needed) used with the safety harness with a 3/16-inch-diameter CRES wire rope. The wire rope should be 6-feet long (including the DYNA-BRAKE, if needed) with double-locking snap hooks at each end. Secure both hooks directly to the wire rope, using wire-rope thimbles and swaging.


  • All tools, buckets, paint pots, and brushes used by personnel working over the side of the ship should be secured by lanyards to prevent their loss overboard or injury to personnel below.



  • aaa5
  • Safe Working Practices Regulations

Section 90

Each year, many seafarers are injured through incorrect lifting,carrying, pulling and levering of loads.Remember, your legs are much stronger than your back, and so they should take the strain in any lifting operation.

The main principles are:

1. Stand close to the load with your feet slightly apart, so that the lift will be as straight as possible. 2. Bend your knees, keeping the back straight to ensure that your legs do the work. Keep your chin tucked in.
3. Grip the load with your whole hand, not just fingertips. If there isn’t enough room under a heavy load to do this, place a piece of wood underneath first.
4. Lift by straightening your legs,keeping the load close to your body. Don’t twist your body. If the load is too heavy, ask for help in lifting it. Never carry a load in such a way that you cannot see where you are going.



  • Safe Working Practices Regulations
  • Sections 30-32
  • Many deaths have occurred in recent years when crew members have entered spaces where the air could not support life. Such spaces are likely to be short of oxygen; some may contain asphyxiating or toxic gases. This does not apply just to pump rooms or to tanks that have contained petroleum or chemicals.

Some casualties have occurred recently in cargo spaces containing, or that have contained, seemingly harmless cargoes such as steel cuttings, wood chips, tallow and even vegetables. Any confined space may be deficient in oxygen. So don’t take a chance. Never enter an enclosed or confined space without the permission of the Master or a responsible officer. These persons must ensure that the possible. Where designated routes space is safe to enter by testing and ventilating before entry, and by spare breathing apparatus, safety lines and another person standing by .
If, when inside a space, you feel dizzy or have difficulty breathing, get out at once. If you are on standby outside and the person inside collapses, raise the alarm immediately but do not rush in without thinking. Speed in rescue is vital, but putting a second life at risk will just add to the problems. Rescuers must wear breathing apparatus; lives have been lost when precautions were not take despite obvious danger.




  • Ropes under strain, during mooring or towing, may “whiplash” with considerable force if they break. This is particularly true of artificial fibre ropes. During these operations you should always stand well clear of the danger areas, particularly rope bights and the bight between the drum and the fairlead. Artificial fibre ropes, especially polypropylene, also have a relatively low melting point - this can lead to sticking and jumping of turns on the winch barrel. Use the minimum number of turns needed to prevent unnecessary surging. When working the winch, remain at the controls throughout the entire mooring operation, and be ready to take immediate action to reduce the load if any part of the system appears to be under too much strain or if there is evidence of danger to personnel.


Safe anchoring

  • Planning for Anchoring
  • Master Shall:

Identify a suitable anchoring position before entering the anchorage area

  • Conduct a planned approach including speed reduction in ample time and orienting the ships head prior anchoring to

(a)Same as similar sized vessels around or
(b)Stem the tide or wind whichever is stronger

Decide on which method of anchoring to be used and the number of shackles depending on the depth of water, expected weather and holding ground.

A simple rule in determining length of cable to use:

Standard condition:

Length of cable = [(Depth of water in meters * 2) + 90 ] / 27.5 When good holding power can not be expected:

(e.g. Strong Wind, Strong Current, Harder Sea bottom)

Length of cable = [(Depth of water in meters * 3) + 140 ] / 27.5

It is suggested the use of radar parallel indexing technique, an effective tool in maneuvering approach to anchoring position.

A fix reference point is necessary in establishing the intended anchoring position relative to this fix point.


Preparation for Anchoring

  • The Chief Officer (or another experienced officer in lieu) must supervise letting go or weighing the anchors and should only assign experienced crew members to anchor work.
  • Prior to Anchoring, the Chief Officer should be aware of:

a.Approximate anchoring position
b.Method of approach
c.Which anchor to use
d.Depth of water
e.Method of Anchoring
f.Final amount of Cables

  • Procedure of the Introduction to Anchoring
  • At the Forecastle:

Check brakes are on and clear the voyage securing devices

  • (Anchor Lashings, Bow Compressed Bar etc.)

a.Start Hydraulic(Source of) Power of Windlasses
b.Check Anchor Shape / Light
c.Check Communication with the Bridge
d.Check Lighting on Forecastle including torch , at night time
e.Ensure all personnel are wearing Safety Helmets, Safety Shoes and Goggles.

  • Before Letting Go Anchor :

The Chief Officer shall confirm that there is no craft or any obstacle under the bow and inform to the Bridge.

The Master shall ensure that the vessels GPS speed at the time of anchoring is near-zero or indicates a slight sternway.

The speed should be verified by visual transits and/or Radar ranges of Landmarks, if available or other fix conspicuous targets.

Where means of communication between Bridge and the Anchoring party is by Portable radio, the identification of the ship should be clear to avoid misinterpretation of instructions from other user of such equipment in the vicinity.

  • Routine Anchoring Operation
  • There are 2 methods for Anchoring according to depth of the water:
  • Method 1 (Preferable for Container Ships / Depths up to 50m )

a.Walk out the anchor to Half a shackle above the sea bottom
b.Hold the cable on the brake and take the windlass out of gear
c.Stop the vessel over ground
d.Drop the anchor
e.Control the speed of cable flow by the brake , while not allowing pile-up
f.Bring anchor cable direction forward and confirmed anchor holds its position.

  • Disadvantages:

If the brake fails, or there is too much speed over ground, the cable will run out to the bitter end with consequent damage. The brake lining could also be damaged due to this Dynamic load (the Static load on brakes to restrain movement of an anchored vessel is much less).

  • Method 2 (Suggested for Tankers / Depths over 50m )

a.Stop the vessel over ground
b.Walk out the anchor under power until the complete length of required cable is paid out and anchor holds it position on the seabed.
c.Bring anchor cable direction forward and confirmed anchor holds its position.

  • Disadvantages:

Vessel must be completely stopped to avoid major damage to Windlass.

  • Particular Caution for VLCCs

VLCCs, because of their inertia require great caution while anchoring.

They can suffer equipment failure if attempting to anchor whilst moving at speeds as low as half a knot over the ground.

Hence, the vessel must be nearly stopped not only in the linear direction but axial too, meaning the bow should not be swinging much either while anchoring.

The depth at which the vessel can safely anchor is about 110m or less, beyond which the windlass may have extreme difficulty in recovering the anchor.

  • Emergency Anchoring

Anchors should be ready for letting go on arrival and departure port, when in anchoring depths. At least, any wire lashings are to be removed and the anchors held on brake.

In critical situations, to arrest the movement of the vessel, after stopping/reversing the main engine , it is preferable to let go both anchors simultaneously instead of one.

  • Anchor retrieval

For weighing in the anchors, to reduce the load on the windlass, and keep the cable near vertical ,as required, short movements to be given on the main engine (and Bow Thruster used, where is applicable)

The stay and direction of the cable and the residual shackles are to be continuously reported to the bridge.

Anchor Wash to be run to clean the chain and the anchor.

When anchor is fully hove, the brake is to be applied and the windlass taken out of gear.

The bow stopper is to be put when it is deemed safe to do so.


If it does not engage properly on the chain, then it is to be lowered across the chain as far as possible and lashed down in this position in such a manner, that if the cable does slip, the bar will fall into place across the chain.

  • Anchor watch

An anchor watch is to be always kept when the ship is at anchor. Anchor Watch Checklist is to be used