As an aid to boat launch and recovery the davit docking head remains innovative and, with its triaxial anti-pendulation device and compact design, the head used for Vestdavit’s latest PAPH-type, single point davit for fast rescue daughter craft is certainly state-of-the-art.
However, we are also mature enough to acknowledge that as a concept, the docking head is by no means new, which makes a recent surge in interest in the equipment type all the more intriguing.
A docking head fits over a cone on the boat to ‘lock’ it steady and in the right orientation when moving between the stowed position and the ready position at the ship’s side, whether as part of the launch or recovery operation. This prevents the boat from damaging itself or the ship’s structure, or hurting the crew, without requiring the extra hands the task would otherwise take.
Vestdavit has been offering docking heads since the late 1990s and today its PAPH-design davits accommodate loads ranging from 3-16 tons and come complete with hydraulic shock absorbers, line pullers and self-tensioning systems. To dampen swinging loads, even in rough seas, its docking head feature hydraulic actuators which compensate movements triaxially and can engage with boats at inclines of up to 30 degrees.
Originally, though, the docking head was thought to be of most use when handling was too far from the ship’s side for guiding arms to perform effectively. Until recently, its use has been largely limited to North European navies and offshore operators handling fast rescue daughter craft.
However, our latest experience is that it is increasingly being considered by surface forces across Asia and in the Americas and tenders being issued by government agencies today frequently include such phrases as “shall include docking feature”, or similar wording.
In response to the rising demand, Vestdavit has been developing a new version of its docking davit, with the first example set to be the PLD-5000. Developed with cost efficiency firmly in mind, the 5-ton capacity Navy’s PLD-5000 unit is expected to make its debut onboard a undisclosed Coast Guard in Asia.
We have every faith that the cost-efficient PLD-5000 will meet a warm reception in the wider market.