New decade brings safer davit service requirements

New requirements for certified equipment maintenance have come into force which must be satisfied by the davits installed on board every ship at sea.

When 2030 rolls around, end of decade shipping quizzes will doubtless feature a question on the impact of greener marine fuels from January 1, 2020 but seafarers at the sharp end will hope a lower profile IMO safety regulation on equipment maintenance also has a lasting impact.


New SOLAS requirements
From January 1, new SOLAS requirements came into force covering maintenance, operational testing and repair for lifeboats, rescue boats and boat launch and recovery systems. They affect all ship owners and managers, yards, suppliers and flag states.
IMO Resolution MSC.402(96) demands that the original equipment manufacturer is involved with annual and five-year servicing of loading/unloading devices (including davits). The new regime envisages genuine, fully-tested spare parts being used and personnel who are certified as trained by an authorized service provider undertaking the work.
If the personnel certificate is not issued by the OEM itself, it must come from a service provider authorized by a flag state or its Recognized Organization, with each make and type of equipment serviced requiring separate authorization.


Refreshed classroom training
In recent months, Vestdavit has refreshed the classroom training it offers to service partners at its Bergen headquarters and brought its own training davit into service nearby to offer hands-on lessons in maintenance issues. It has also expanded its network of certified service partners, with new authorizations in diverse markets, including the US, the UK, Russia, Brazil and Singapore.
These steps coincide with the IMO regime change, rather than being prompted by it. For a company whose market position relies on safe boat handling there can be no service compromise on the wave-compensating winches, shock absorbers and other technologies which consistently bring Vestdavit wins from navies, coastguards, pilot authorities and offshore operators.
Boat handling systems from Vestdavit are sophisticated solutions designed for high performance and frequent use over a long lifespan, often in high sea states and harsh conditions. As well as being a crucial mission function for many vessels, they offer a clear example of the way ships and ship operators hold the fate of crews in their hands.

Spare parts

Spare parts from Vestdavit are specifically designed and tested to work within our boat handling systems as a whole: similar-looking parts can have shortcomings that are not immediately identifiable. The materials used for rogue parts will not have had to endure the prior testing regime or surface treatments that we consider vital for overall system performance: if malfunctions occur as a result, possible outcomes could include fatalities.

Unauthorized personnel – a major risk

Unfortunately, service providers sometimes believe that training and certification of approved technicians can come from any company with a davit. This is not true and letting unauthorized personnel undertake inspection and service represents a major risk. We are also aware of cases where service certificates look genuine but are not!

In fact, only service technicians from Vestdavit and its authorized service partners are fully trained and can verify having gone through Vestdavit’s own documentation. In Vestdavit’s view, under the new service regime only authorized personnel should be delivering the service report required by SOLAS for countersigning by the Master, and providing the statement confirming equipment is fit for purpose and the service certificate.

Our advice is to contact Vestdavit or its representatives to verify all credentials.
Vestdavit’s approved service partners can be found at

Why the need for OEM-involvement during annual and 5-yearly inspection?

Boat handling systems from Vestdavit are highly complex systems that are designed to work and perform under harsh conditions and last for a long-life span. Our customers, in many cases, consider the boat handling system and the ability to launch and recover small boats a crucial part of their operations. It is therefore utmost important that this system is treated with the correct attention to detail and with the correctly tested spare parts. Lifting people is not something that any boat operator should take lightly. It should be treated in the same way as all other equipment that holds the fate of human lives.


Rogue service providers

Unfortunately, there are many service providers that operate outside of the Vestdavit system. They believe the training and certification of approved technicians is something that can be done by any company that possess a davit. This is not true and there is a huge risk in letting these rogue technicians perform service or inspection on your davit. They do not have the proper training, nor have they gone through the documentation needed to be a certified Vestdavit technician. They often operate with certificates that look stunningly genuine and professional, but they are not! Please contact Vestdavit for credential verification.

Spare Parts 

Spare parts from Vestdavit are tested and designed to fit in the greater picture of our boat handling systems. Even though there might be spare parts that look similar to the one we supply, they most probably did not go through the same testing and design requirements. There might be features that are not easily identifiable or visible. These features, whether it be certain surface treatments or prior material testing could be vital for the overall system performance and could cause malfunctions that transfer to bigger problems and eventually system failure and fatalities as the worse possible outcome.


All boat handling systems are different in the ways they are deigned, built-up and intended to work. Vestdavit systems are advanced due to their highly set requirements of working conditions. The inner workings of a Vestdavit system cannot be compared to those of less complication that are designed for much calmer sea states or considerably lower frequency of usage. To have a boat handling system working day after day, year after year with many launch and retrievals per day possibly, there is a need for these systems to be inspected and serviced by service technicians that have in-depth knowledge about the specific system. All Vestdavit service technicians and service partners have gone through extensive training to obtain this insight. They are also working on Vestdavit systems every day, which is something that is not possible for a third-party service provider that deals with all different kinds of equipment and where there is no particular focus on the specifics of Vestdavit systems.

This important way of looking at OEM service providers is also something that is shared by THE MARITIME SAFETY COMMITTEE in their latest published document, MSC.402(96). Many of the requirements in this document is not only impossible for a third-party service provider to fulfill, but it would also be a breach on the SOLAS regulation.


1.5 The personnel carrying out maintenance, thorough examination, operational testing, overhaul and repair (…) shall be certified by an authorized service provider (…).


            7.1.1 (…) a manufacturer’s established certification programme


           7.1.3 access to appropriate parts and accessories as specified (…)

          7.1.4 availability of the manufacturer’s instructions for repair work (…)



          8.2.1 Initial certification shall be issued only to personnel having completed education, training and competence assessment.


Please contact Vestdavit or our approved service partners to schedule an inspection or spare parts and make sure your davits are working as intended in a safe manner for many years to come.

Contact info can be found on our homepage at

If in doubt about a specific technician or service provider approval or certificate, Vestdavit can easily verify the credentials for you!