Pilot Ladder Reels

Winch Reel Arrangements; Source: Wheelhouse Poster
Winch Reel Arrangements; Source: Wheelhouse Poster

The pilot ladder winch reel is an easy way to store and move the ladder. It is important to understand that after unwinding the winch reel, the pilotladder should be treated as any other pilot ladder when it comes to securing. Additional mechanical locking devices should be in place on the winch reel. The winch can never be the only securing point for the ladder.

The securing of the pilot ladder is no different when using a pilot ladder winch reel: 7.2.3.3 and 7.4 clearly indicate that when a Pilot Ladder Winch reel is used, the ladder still needs to be secured to strong points on deck. That should be done so that the weight of the ladder is transferred from the side ropes to the designated strong points on deck. See page “Securing the pilot ladder”. In addition to that, 7.5.6. also stipulates that a mechanical locking device is used to secure the reel itself.

Side Opening (Source: Wheelhouse Poster)
Side Opening (Source: Wheelhouse Poster)

Even when a winch reel is used, the ladder needs to be secured on strong points on deck.

Pilot ladder from a winch, secured by rolling knots.

IMO 1045(27) Pilot Transfer Arrangements:

7.1 Point of access 

7.1.1 When a pilot ladder winch reel is provided it should be situated at a position which will ensure persons embarking on, or disembarking from, the ship between the pilot ladder and the point of access to the ship, have safe, convenient and unobstructed access to or egress from the ship. 

7.1.2 The point of access to or egress from the ship may be by a ship’s side opening, an accommodation ladder when a combination arrangement is provided, or a single section of pilot ladder. 

7.1.3 The access position and adjacent area should be clear of obstructions, including the pilot ladder winch reel, for distances as follows: 

  1. a distance of 915 mm in width measured longitudinally;
     
  2. a distance of 915 mm in depth, measured from the ship’s side plating inwards; and
     
  3. a distance of 2,200 mm in height, measured vertically from the access deck.

7.2 Physical positioning of pilot ladder winch reels 

7.2.1 Pilot ladder winch reels are generally fitted on the ship’s upper (main) deck or at a ship’s side opening which may include side doors, gangway locations or bunkering points. Winch reels fitted on the upper deck may result in very long pilot ladders. 

7.2.2 Pilot ladder winch reels which are fitted on a ship’s upper deck for the purpose of providing a pilot ladder which services a ship side opening below the upper deck or, alternatively, an accommodation ladder when a combination arrangement is provided should: 

  1. be situated at a location on the upper deck from which the pilot ladder is able to be suspended vertically, in a straight line, to a point adjacent to the ship side opening access point or the lower platform of the accommodation ladder;
     
  2. be situated at a location which provides a safe, convenient and unobstructed passage for any person embarking on, or disembarking from, the ship between the pilot ladder and the place of access on the ship;
     
  3. be situated so that safe and convenient access is provided between the pilot ladder and the ship’s side opening by means of a platform which should extend outboard from the ship’s side for a minimum distance of 750 mm, with a longitudinal length of a minimum of 750 mm. The platform should be securely guarded by handrails;
     
  4. safely secure the pilot ladder and manropes to the ship’s side at a point on the ships side at a distance of 1,500 mm above the platform access point to the ship side opening or the lower platform of the accommodation ladder; and
     
  5. if a combination arrangement is provided, have the accommodation ladder secured to the ship’s side at or close to the lower platform so as to ensure that the accommodation ladder rests firmly against the ship’s side.

7.2.3 Pilot ladder winch reels fitted inside a ship’s side opening should: 

  1. be situated at a position which provides a safe, convenient and unobstructed passage for any person embarking on, or disembarking from, the ship between the pilot ladder and the place of access on the ship;
     
  2. be situated at a position which provides an unobstructed clear area with a minimum length of 915 mm and minimum width of 915 mm and minimum vertical height of 2,200 mm; and
     
  3. if situated at a position which necessitates a section of the pilot ladder to be partially secured in a horizontal position on the deck so as to provide a clear access as described above, then allowance should be made so that this section of the pilot ladder may be covered with a rigid platform for a minimum distance of 915 mm measured horizontally from the ship’s side inwards.

7.3 Handrails and handgrips 

Handrails and handgrips should be provided in accordance with section 5 to assist the pilot to safely transfer between the pilot ladder and the ship, except as noted in paragraph 7.2.2.3 for arrangements with platforms extending outboard. The horizontal distance between the handrails and/or the handgrips should be not less than 0.7 m or more than 0.8 m apart.

7.4 Securing of the pilot ladder 

Where the pilot ladder is stowed on a pilot ladder winch reel which is located either within the ship’s side opening or on the upper deck: 

  1. the pilot ladder winch reel should not be relied upon to support the pilot ladder when the pilot ladder is in use;
     
  2. the pilot ladder should be secured to a strong point, independent of the pilot ladder winch reel; and
     
  3. the pilot ladder should be secured at deck level inside the ship side opening or, when located on the ship’s upper deck, at a distance of not less than 915 mm measured horizontally from the ship’s side inwards.

7.5 Mechanical securing of pilot ladder winch reel 

7.5.1 All pilot ladder winch reels should have means of preventing the winch reel from being accidentally operated as a result of mechanical failure or human error. 

7.5.2 Pilot ladder winch reels may be manually operated or, alternatively, powered by either electrical, hydraulic or pneumatic means. 

7.5.3 Manually operated pilot ladder winch reels should be provided with a brake or other suitable arrangements to control the lowering of the pilot ladder and to lock the winch reel in position once the pilot ladder is lowered into position. 

7.5.4 Electrical, hydraulic or pneumatically driven pilot ladder winch reels should be fitted with safety devices which are capable of cutting off the power supply to the winch reel and thus locking the winch reel in position. 

7.5.5 Powered winch reels should have clearly marked control levers or handles which may be locked in a neutral position. 

7.5.6 A mechanical device or locking pin should also be utilized to lock powered winch reels.

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