Pilot Ladder Manual - Basic (eBook)

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Published Date

November 2017

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Pilot Ladder Manual - Basic (eBook)

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This pocket guide provides an overview of the rules, regulations and procedures that should be followed when preparing for pilot embarkation and disembarkation. The text is supported by explanatory photographs and diagrams which demonstrate good and bad practice.

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This publication covers topics such as risk assessment, PPE and maintenance and storage of equipment. It explains the technical details of carrying out pilot transfer operations and includes important safety observations and comments. Guidance on rigging a pilot ladder/combination ladder is illustrated by annotated rigging diagrams. The book also includes an onboard checklist that covers rigging a safe transfer arrangement, transferring a pilot to and from the ship and post operations.

1. Introduction
1.1 Pilot Transfer Rules and Regulations
1.2 Risk Assessment


2. Transfer and Rigging Arrangements
2.1 Pilot Ladders
2.2 Combinations and Accommodation Ladders
2.3 Shipside Doors


3. Other Equipment
3.1 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
3.2 Man ropes
3.3 Lifebuoys and Self-igniting Lights
3.4 Lighting, Heaving Lines and Retrieval Lines


4. Safe Operations
4.1 Consequences of Incorrect Rigging
4.2 Guidance on Maintenance and Storage
4.3 Supervision and the Transfer Process
4.4 Safe Deck Access


5. Checklists
5.1 Rigging a Safe Transfer Arrangement
5.2 Transferring a Pilot to and from the Ship
5.3 Post Operations

Throughout the world, at any time and in any weather conditions, a number of marine pilots will be in transit from one location to another.


The services of a pilot may be required for many reasons, such as providing specialist local navigational knowledge, carrying out ship handling or assisting bridge watchkeepers in high density traffic areas.


Each of these pilots will need to be safely embarked or disembarked from their ship. There are several ways in which this transfer operation can be completed, each involving a certain degree of risk.


It is critical that all involved in pilot transfer are fully aware of the dangers. Only through effective training and education can pilot transfer operations be made safer, irrespective of the transfer method used.


Pilot embarkation and disembarkation normally takes place when the ship is underway or alongside a berth, but it may also take place when the ship is at anchor. Possible transfer methods include by pilot boat, helicopter or directly from the shore. Transfer may be facilitated by the ship’s accommodation ladder or vehicle ramp, or possibly by crane basket. However, the usual method is by traditional wooden pilot ladder, and this arrangement is the focus of the publication.


Despite the best efforts of the International Maritime Pilots’ Association (IMPA), various regional and national pilot associations and the International Maritime Organization (IMO), there continue to be far too many reports of poorly rigged or unsafe pilot ladders.


In recent years, a significant number of pilots have been fatally injured as a direct result of accidents occurring during embarkation or disembarkation and many more have been seriously injured. The safety aspects of rigging a transfer arrangement apply equally to pilots and to seafarers joining and leaving a ship.


The aim of this publication is to remind all seafarers of the importance of adhering to the rules for transfer arrangements and of the need to follow established procedures when preparing for the embarkation and disembarkation of pilots. Particular attention should be paid to correct rigging arrangements as these are critical to operational safety.

Witherby Publishing Group

Witherbys titles are developed using scripts developed by technical experts that are peer reviewed within work groups. Typically, they seek to improve understanding of the regulations, recommendations and guidelines issued by Industry.

Witherbys staff have significant expertise in the fields of navigation and hazardous cargoes as well as in the presentation of complex subjects in a graphic and easy to understand manner.

Captain Kevin Vallance

Captain Kevin Vallance has held the role of Master with South Coast Shipping Co and in 2006, became a Trinity House Licensed Deep Sea Pilot. He was elected to the United Kingdom Maritime Pilots’ Association Technical and Training Committee and represented them at a variety of safety meetings during his 5 year tenure. In 2020, he was awarded the Merchant Navy Medal for his services to maritime safety.

Title: Pilot Ladder Manual - Basic (eBook)
Product Code: WS1602EA
Published Date: November 2017
Author: Kevin Vallance

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