Guide to Helicopter/Ship Operations (eBook)

Published Date

June 2020

Guide to Helicopter/Ship Operations (eBook)

(Excludes any applicable taxes)

The fourth edition of the Guide to Helicopter/Ship Operations reflects up to date guidance from the international shipping and aviation industries. The book tailors its guidance to each specific role and illustrates the ways in which ship and helicopter personnel can cooperate during operations.

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The objective of this publication is to align marine and aviation industries through the promotion of standardised procedures and facilities. To provide additional value, this new edition is accompanied by a CD version of the text with a search function. The CD includes an electronic template for preparing helicopter landing/operating plans that can be cross-referenced between ship and helicopter operators.

For those ships to which the ISM Code applies, the Guide may assist in developing shipboard operating procedures and requirements for helicopter operations that may be undertaken on board. The book contains detailed illustrations and takes full account of specifications for helicopter performance. It also outlines requirements for the safe location of landing/winching areas and ICAO guidance on actions to be taken in the event of helicopter incidents.


1.1 Introduction

1.2 Selection of a Helicopter Operator

1.3 Provision of Helicopter Landing/Operating Area Information


2.1 General Principles

2.2 Marine Responsibilities

2.3 Aviation Responsibilities


3.1 Introduction

3.2 Designation of Helicopter Performance

3.3 The Use of Twin Engined and Single Engined Helicopters

3.4 Helicopter Size and Weight Restrictions

3.5 Equipment and Crewing

3.6 Helicopter Landing Gear
3.7 Weather and Sea Conditions


4.1 Ship Operating Areas

4.2 Environmental Effects

4.3 Details of Landing Area

4.4 Details of Winching Area

4.5 Additional Considerations for Helicopter Operating Areas

4.6 Night Operations: Landing and Winching Area Lighting

4.7 Fire Fighting Appliances and Rescue Equipment


5.1 Communications

5.2 Normal Operating Procedures - Pre-Arrival

5.3 Navigation

5.4 Signalling Procedures

5.5 Basic Operating Procedures

5.6 Helicopter Landing and Unloading

5.7 Helicopter Hovering

5.8 Helicopter Loading and Departure

5.9 Instructions to Helicopter Passengers

5.10 Passenger/Freight Handling Procedures


6.1 Tankers

6.2 Bulk Carriers and Combination Carriers

6.3 Containerships

6.4 Gas Carriers

6.5 General Cargo Ships


7.1 General

7.2 Illness or Injury Evacuation

7.3 Emergency Operating Areas


8.1 General

8.2 Helicopter Accident Procedure

8.3 Fire Procedures

8.4 Helideck Emergency Procedures

8.5 Personnel in Water - Emergency Procedures

8.6 Plan of Action


Appendix A Commercial Helicopters in Marine Use

Appendix B Communications

Appendix C Shipboard Safety Checklist for Helicopter Operators

Appendix D Instructions to Helicopter Passengers Transferring to and from Ships

Appendix E Marine Pilot Transfer

Appendix F Helicopter Landing/Operating Area Plan (to be used with accompanying CD)

Appendix G Duties and Suggested Action Plan for Helicopter Accident

Appendix H Bridge Wing Operations for Marine Pilot Transfer – A Risk Assessment

This guide has been published after wide consultation with both marine and aviation experts, whose contribution to this new edition is acknowledged with thanks. Its purpose is to encourage safe and efficient helicopter/ship operations, and while the guide is intended principally for the use of ships' masters, officers and crew, it also offers advice to helicopter pilots and operators. The objective is to promote standardised procedures and facilities for helicopter/ship operations worldwide.

This revision of the guide supersedes all previous versions. It has been updated with extensive guidance regarding the role and responsibilities of both the ship and helicopter. Definitions of helicopter performance have been both expanded and clarified, while information regarding the location and marking of landing and winching areas has been completely revised to reflect the latest International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) requirements.

It is recognised that in the years since the third edition was published, on some ships and on certain trades, the practice has developed of transferring by winch marine pilots directly to the Bridge Wing. Such operations should not normally be conducted unless a thorough risk assessment has been conducted, particularly when more conventional transfer arrangements can be provided. Guidance and advice regarding a risk assessment to be conducted when planning for the winching of marine pilots to the Bridge Wing of ships forms Appendix H. Guidance regarding emergencies has been supplemented with advice addressing the actions to be taken in case of a helicopter incident/accident. A new Appendix F provides guidance regarding the provision by the ship of specific Landing/Operating Area data to the helicopter operator.

To provide additional value and utility, this new edition of the Guide is accompanied by a CD containing the full text in electronic form with a ‘search’ function and the facility to print the checklists included in the Appendices.

Importantly, the CD also includes an electronic template for preparing helicopter landing/operating area plans for transmission from the ship to the helicopter operator. For full instructions, see Appendix F.

All possible care has been taken in the preparation of this guide, but it must be stressed that it is only a guide. It is not intended to be binding, and shipping companies, ships' masters and officers, helicopter operators and air crew are all responsible for acting in accordance with relevant national regulations and company instructions. Ships may operate under codes or national requirements which may necessitate the application of alternative or higher standards than those advised in this guide. Regulations for helicopter operations are established by the authorities in the country of registration of the aircraft and/or where the

operation takes place, and may vary in detail from one country to another.

For those vessels to which the International Safety Management (ISM) Code applies, this guide may provide assistance in developing shipboard operating procedures and requirements for the various helicopter operations that may be undertaken on board.

It should be recognised that certain sections of this guide may be found to be of value by ship design teams, and for many users, technical information within the guide may need to be accessed only occasionally.

Retaining advice for both the helicopter and ship regarding joint operations in one publication is considered by the authors to be appropriate, and it is anticipated that this consistency will be found to be useful to ship and helicopter operators alike.


Comment on the guide and suggestions for further improvement will be welcome, and should be addressed to the International Chamber of Shipping, 38 St Mary Axe, London, EC3A 8BH, United Kingdom.

Email [email protected]


The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) is the principal international trade association for the shipping industry, representing shipowners and operators in all sectors and trades.

ICS membership comprises national shipowners' associations in Asia, Europe and the Americas whose member shipping companies operate over 80% of the world's merchant tonnage.

ICS membership comprises national shipowners' associations in Asia, Europe and the Americas whose member shipping companies operate over 80% of the world's merchant tonnage.

Established in 1921, ICS is concerned with all technical, legal, employment affairs and policy issues that may affect international shipping.

ICS represents shipowners with the various intergovernmental regulatory bodies that impact on shipping, including the International Maritime Organization.

ICS also develops best practices and guidance, including a wide range of publications and free resources that are used by ship operators globally.

Title: Guide to Helicopter/Ship Operations (eBook)
Edition: Fourth
Product Code: MA1002EA
ISBN: 978-1-9162322-8-0
Published Date: June 2020
Author: International Chamber of Shipping

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