The perpetually changing sea has often brought the best out of poets, but its constant motion is of more than romantic interest. For their own safety, seafarers must move beyond SOLAS and learn to work with the elements day by day, rather than against them.
As an expert in safe boat handling for life, Vestdavit’s equipment is being deployed in harsher conditions and on ship designs of greater variety than ever before, yet the safety of boat lifting and lowering operations cannot be compromised.
A slack hoisting wire caused by the wave uplift of a boat being prepared for hoist, for example, represents a hazard for personnel and equipment on board. Again, personnel being transferred on and off ship have no appetite for swings, sways or jolts to be part of their daily routine.
It is for both safety and crew welfare reasons, then, that we are increasingly being asked to deliver davits that include Vestdavit’s innovative wave-compensation solution, achieved via our constant-tensioning system.
The self-tensioning system can only be active when a boat is waterborne where it is activated by the operator using a straightforward push-button, then joystick controlled to pull the boat towards windward and bring tension into the wire. With tension in the wires, the boat can rise and fall with the waves, up to a maximum applied tension pull of up to one third of the davit’s safe working load (minimum tension pull app. 300 kg). The operator can then judge the best time to hoist, which will be at that moment when the dynamic forces and the pickup force are as low as possible. In general, Vestdavit does not envisage using the self-tensioning system in the boat launching mode.
Preference for the solution is a result of customers seeking wider operational windows and greater scope of duty for the boats being handled in harsh conditions, while also satisfying the need to maintain the highest possible safety standards. If the self-tension function were to be actuated before the boat reached the sea, an override would kick in to disable its operation.
The self-tensioning principle may not be new, but Vestdavit is unique among boat handling specialists in the way it continues to refine its innovative solution. Most recently, we have improved the system by building more features into the winch block, reducing the amount of piping, and the number of valves so that Vestdavit’s self-tensioning solution is more reliable and robust with less maintenance requirement. Today, we recommend wave compensation at all times where crew safety and comfort are prerequisites, and the Vestdavit system is designed for optimum performance up to sea state 6.