USCG Safety Alert on Handhold Stanchions

Herman Broers
USCG safety alert 04-23
USCG safety alert 04-23

On February 9th, 2023 Unites States Coast guard issued a safety alert (04-22-CH1) in which attention is drawn to the correct positioning of handhold stanchions onboard of ships.

This Safety Alert addresses the importance of verifying the correct arrangement of handholds in embarkation gate arrangements aboard merchant vessels. The Coast Guard is currently investigating a casualty involving a fall from a pilot ladder where the handholds in the gate arrangement aboard the vessel terminated without being rigidly secured to the vessel’s structure. This termination left a gap in the handholds at the transition point at the head of the pilot ladder, where an embarking person might reach to pull themselves onto the vessel.

In this safety alert, USCG strongly recommends that flag state administrations, classification societies, port state control inspectors, and shipboard personnel :

  1. Ensure familiarity with applicable requirements pertaining to handholds in gateway embarkation arrangements aboard merchant vessels
  2. Visually examine handholds in gateway embarkation arrangements for gaps, specifically at the lower terminations,
  3. Initiate rectification and issue outstanding conditions to meet regulatory intent for any non-conformities discovered.

In the same safety alerts, vessel owners and operators, shipboard personnel, and system designers are highly encouraged to review and comply with these standards:

• ISO 799-1:2019 Ships and marine technology — Pilot ladders — Part 1: Design and specification
• ISO 799-2: 2021 Ships and marine technology — Pilot ladders — Part 2: Maintenance, use, survey, and inspection
• ISO 799-3:2022 Ships and marine technology — Pilot ladders — Part 3: Attachments and associated equipment

The full safety alert can be downloaded here:

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