Radial Davits

John Campbell
14th January 2010, 20:43
I wonder how many SN Members can recall the Radial Davits and the associated drill in launching a lifeboat with them e.g. " No.1 stands by the bow of the boat No.2 .......

We have progressed a lot with free-fall TEMPSC nowadays but have we really? When we read in todays SafetyatSea that---

ONE IN FIVE ships examined by the Paris MoU were found to have deficiencies regarding launching lifeboats.

An inspection campaign was conducted by Paris MoU member countries from 1 September to 30 November. They carried out 5,749 inspections.

Testing of lifeboat launching drills found that one in eight was not performed satisfactorily; the Paris MoU blamed a lack of training for this result.

The body also raised concerns about safety management systems relating to lifeboats on many ships.

There were 80 cases of ships being detained in the three-month period because of serious deficiencies in lifeboat launching appliances.

JC

rcraig
14th January 2010, 21:50
John,

Given the age of many of SN's inhabitants, including us two, I am sure there are some who will remember them. Remember the fun attempting to launch them in even the slightest amount of roll?

John_F
14th January 2010, 22:24
John,
I well remember the radial davits that we had aboard the Wendorian (KEVII Nautical College training vessel in the 50s, early 60s.) During my week aboard her in 1958 we had lifeboat drill many times each day until we were got it absolutely perfect. It was hard work, especially getting the boat swung out over the side. When I eventually went to sea as an apprentice & first came across Welin McLaughlin davits I thought "What a doddle!" Check the plugs were in, release the gripes, lift the brake & Bingo! Why did we struggle for all those hours with radial davits?
I have no experience of modern escape methods but in theory, if I was on a blazing tanker & I had the choice of using a lifeboat on radial davits OR a free-fall TEMPSC/Welin McLaughlin boat, I know which one I'd choose.
Kind regards,
John.

Hamish Mackintosh
14th January 2010, 22:35
Gravesend sea school had radial davits in early 49/50,s and as far as I am aware I think they are still there, and I "aquired" my boat ticket using radials

slick
15th January 2010, 08:41
All,
I seem to remember that the Boulevard Nautical School had them at the Victoria/ George Docks (?) Hull for launching the "Jonas Hanway". and has been said elsewhere practice made perfect.

Yours aye,

slick

hughesy
15th January 2010, 09:22
Your right there Slick we used them a couple of times for boat pulling practise at Hull Sea Cadets, the life boats that is but we lauched em. They was on Vicky Dock.

all the best(Thumb)
Hughesy

David Davies
15th January 2010, 10:38
Slack away the for'd guy , launch aft , out bow etc. I sailed on Mac Andrew's 1926 Palacio with radial davits which where worked by turning a handle geared to a horizontal quadrant. She was an early motor ship with limited air for maneuvering something like 13 or 7 starts with no whistle

Binnacle
15th January 2010, 10:53
Sailed on a number of ships with radial davits. About the 1950s they were being replaced and we had to paint a red band round each davit to indicate that the boat could only be lowered with launching crew aboard. Picked up the crew of the Mill Hill when her cargo shifted. Unfortunately the mate got caught between the davit and boat and fell overboard. Difficult davits to work with on a rolling ship.

ROBERT HENDERSON
15th January 2010, 11:14
The only ship I can remember serving on with radial davits was the T.H.V. Triton in the 1950's.
These were for two heavy motor work boats, to launch the bow annd stern outboard a steam winch was on the boat deck. To lower the boat into the water the rope falls were round a crucifix and lowered in the conventional way.

Regards Robert

Nick Balls
15th January 2010, 11:44
I don't Think we have progressed far !!!! I have 'meet ' these old davits when I was on the "Worcester' training back in the early 70's but never used them in real life. However over the years I have launched many boats at sea , ranging from the old open 60 man to modern FRC type craft. The common thread is that as things have become more sophisticated they have become infinitely more dangerous! The last davit I used in ernest was a german contraption which was heave compensated . Full certificated it was quite the most dangerous thing I have ever seen ! I had the dubious pleasure of being involved in its 5 year inspection/testing regime. It passed with flying colours ..it all 'worked' Farce !! it was in fact unworkable in real life.
I have come across some good modern kit but it is always simple, robust, and easily understood. Most these days is the reverse. If you are in Charge of such things on a ship do a little quiz at the next boat drill. Take the time and study in great detail exactly how all aspects of your system works. then ask questions of those trained to use the equipment, asking them to explain back to you just how it will work....... Then use the equipment....... Then ask everyone what did work and what didn't ........This will prove very interesting. In my experience many pretty competent people still 'assume' that a system is similar or the same as their last system. Pretty often it is not !!!!! this is precisly how accidents happen .

RayJordandpo
15th January 2010, 11:49
In recent years lifeboats have killed more people than they have saved.

rcraig
15th January 2010, 12:06
Often because they have not been properly hung off on safety pendants when testing out the release mechanism.

sidsal
15th January 2010, 12:10
Most of the shipsI sailed on (WW2 and thereafter) had radial davits.
An amusing tale involving radial davits was told to me by the late Phil Brand - BOT examiner and mate of the Mathura when I was in Brocklebanks. He was an apprentice on their Makalla - in the 30's and she was manned by apprentices \as a training ship.
She was in Kiddapore dock in Calcutta - finished loading and due to go out into the river at 5am. All the officers etc were turned in but there was a contingent of apprentices who arrived back at the quay, sometime after midnight. They were in several horse drawn "gharries".
On the passage out they had had bad weather and one of the lifeboats had been washed overboard so there was an empty pair of davits. They had a brilliant idea and had a whip round and bought one of the gharries. The owner, unfastened his horse and departed. The lads then swung out the davits and with strops around the gharry , handraulically hoisted it onto the chocks and tidied things up.
In the morning the pilot boarded and theywent out into the river and proceeded down the Hooghly. As dawn broke the "old man" looked aft and there, between the row of lifeboats was this incongrous sight !!

slick
15th January 2010, 17:23
All,
Like most of us I have heard not that many confidence inspiring tales of "Freefall" boats.
As a lad I remember seeing a book containing photographs of Mr. Schat being lowered rather sliding/ skating down a heeled hull.
I feel that a lot more of these systems would be improved if the "Inventors/Salesmen" were seen to use their own fiendish devices on a fairly regular basis.
I understand that when personnel had to abandon the MSC Napoli no one had a knife to cut fouled cordage until the Chief Engineer boarded the lifeboat or liferaft!

Yours aye,

slick

Klaatu83
15th January 2010, 18:01
When I was a cadet we still had to learn the procedure for launching a boat using "radial" davits, though I never had occasion to use one. All the commercial ships I have been on had gravity davits, though some of the U.S. Naval vessels I sailed on were fitted with the old-fashioned "crank-out" type. The gravity-type were the easiest to use, though I suppose all types work well enough when they are properly maintained and operated by trained people. By the same token, they can all be equally hazardous when neglected and operated by untrained personnel. I have seen neglected gravity davits hang up and refuse to budge in spite of the crewmembers pounding on the davit arms with hammers, I have seen releasing gear fail to release and I have seen dry-rotted tillers and wooden propelling gear handles snap off in the crew's hands.

Like any other item of ship's equipment, lifeboat davits are only as good as the people who operate and maintain them. The only way to ensure that they are ready for use at all times is to hold weekly practice drills in which the boats are actually lowered, at least to the embarkation level, the engines started, and the limit switches tested. We also had to lower each boat into the water, and test the releasing gear, at least once every three months.

Satanic Mechanic
15th January 2010, 18:12
In recent years lifeboats have killed more people than they have saved.

Your not joking either!!!!(EEK) . I have become the biggest ever fan of freefall life boats - for me they are probably one of the biggest steps forward in safety in many a year. There are a number of reason for this but for me the NO.1 biggest advantage over fully enclosed davit launched lifeboats is easy -NO OFF LOAD RELEASE GEAR to reset.

Now having seen freefalls become more and more popular imagine my horror to discover - while doing some vessel inspections last month that with in the company no one is launching them with people in them!!! 2 steps forward - 1 back plus ca change(Cloud)

Satanic Mechanic
15th January 2010, 18:17
All,
Like most of us I have heard not that many confidence inspiring tales of "Freefall" boats.
As a lad I remember seeing a book containing photographs of Mr. Schat being lowered rather sliding/ skating down a heeled hull.
I feel that a lot more of these systems would be improved if the "Inventors/Salesmen" were seen to use their own fiendish devices on a fairly regular basis.
I understand that when personnel had to abandon the MSC Napoli no one had a knife to cut fouled cordage until the Chief Engineer boarded the lifeboat or liferaft!

Yours aye,

slick

Sorry Slick but free falls are absolutely brilliant, they do take a wee bit to get used to but over and above the initial scariness of them for me they truly are a massive step forward, I honestly have absolutely not one bad thing to say about them.

Wheeeee
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4KrqT0rfaU&NR=1

RayJordandpo
15th January 2010, 21:10
Give me freefall lifeboats any time. I'm going for a refresher next month, no problem at all.

RayJordandpo
15th January 2010, 21:22
Often because they have not been properly hung off on safety pendants when testing out the release mechanism.

Quite true but also caused by failure or inadvertant release of on-load release mechanisms during drills or training. Apparently initially it was nearly always put down to 'operator error' but now the davit manufacturers are admitting that a lot of the accidents are caused by equipment malfunction

tsell
15th January 2010, 22:38
On one ship in the early 50's we spent much of the first week at sea, freeing davits and repairing/replacing lifeboat gear, under a new skipper, who conducted regular drills thereafter.
We wondered about the previous crew and also why the gear had not been surveyed when in port. No evidence of H & S in those days!

Taff

lakercapt
15th January 2010, 23:30
Only time I ever saw them was when I was at T.S Dolphin at Leith.
It was a marvel to me how a boat could be launched as even on a steady place it was a hoot

David E
16th January 2010, 00:00
John,

Given the age of many of SN's inhabitants, including us two, I am sure there are some who will remember them. Remember the fun attempting to launch them in even the slightest amount of roll?

Add a third. "Myrtlebank" and the old "Forresbank".At least you could see what you were doing with them.I remember the first overhead Gravity Davits I met-"Golfito" where I attempted to lower a boat at my first boat drill without spotting that the port safety bars were still in-total cock-up.

David

Keltic Star
16th January 2010, 09:46
John,
I well remember the radial davits that we had aboard the Wendorian (KEVII Nautical College training vessel in the 50s, early 60s.) During my week aboard her in 1958 we had lifeboat drill many times each day until we were got it absolutely perfect. It was hard work, especially getting the boat swung out over the side. When I eventually went to sea as an apprentice & first came across Welin McLaughlin davits I thought "What a doddle!" Check the plugs were in, release the gripes, lift the brake & Bingo! Why did we struggle for all those hours with radial davits?
I have no experience of modern escape methods but in theory, if I was on a blazing tanker & I had the choice of using a lifeboat on radial davits OR a free-fall TEMPSC/Welin McLaughlin boat, I know which one I'd choose.
Kind regards,
John.

You beat me to it John, I remember the boat drills on the "Wendorian" and I can't say too fondly. I remember we used to launch and recover with the "Wendorian" under way and as we finally managed to pull up to the ship the Chief, watching from the E/R door would signal the stoker put a bit more steam on her. There was no question of our fitness after a weeks cruise on the "Wendy" and I must admit that the experience came in handy when I sailed with Fred's navy a few years later as most of the old Empire boats had radial davits and we needed the boats for a run ashore when at anchor.

I also dis the run job to the breakers in Spain on the Esso Inverpool, true quadruple expansion steam engine and radial davits to boot.

What's this free fall stuff?

chadburn
16th January 2010, 11:34
Most of the ,40's/ 50's built Tramps had Welin/Mclaughlin( a Smiths Designer) or other types of gravity davit's, however, the jolly boat was on radial davit's and after the contortions of having to get the jolly boat into the water I would not like to launch a lifeboat in a hurry using this type of davit. it certainly needs a well trained team effort who all speak the SAME LANGUAGE which is one of the major problems when launcing a lifeboat/jolly boat on foreign multi-crewed ship's. My admiration goes out to the Master highlighted on this site who decided to have a practice launch in the rolling Atlantic, he was obviously well aware that any 3rd WW would be the same as the 2nd in that GB/Europe would have to rely on Convoy's across the Atlantic and the Russian's would employ the same tactic's as the German's did in WW2 (pre any dropping of a Nuclear brock's). If I remember correctly the R.N. way was to forget about the boats as they were most probably useless anyway. Never used a freefall suffice to say I am not keen on the big dipper at Blackpool.(Jester)

Satanic Mechanic
16th January 2010, 13:13
What's this free fall stuff?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=unnovzCTtY4&NR=1

this sort of stuff

sidsal
16th January 2010, 18:02
In ww2 all the lifeboats were slung outboard and bowsed up to the spar. Being nearly exclusively of timber they would be lowered whenever possible when at anchor or in port to swell the timbers. Often if this hadn't been done for a while they would fill to the gunl's on being lowered.

Macphail
16th January 2010, 23:31
Outward Bound Moray Sea School 1958.

The sea going part of the course involved two weeks on the “Prince Louis”.
On joining we had lifeboat drill, swung the aft davit and lifeboat out, moved the lifeboat aft, then swung out the ford davit, lifeboat ready.

John.


http://www.shipsnostalgia.com/gallery/showfull.php?photo=150642

John Briggs
17th January 2010, 00:51
On the British India cadetship Chindwara we had a whaler stowed on the poop and it had radial davits.
The boat was put in the water every chance we got so we all had plenty of practice with the davits.
Soon got into the swing of things -no problem at all!

Trader
17th January 2010, 00:54
I was on three Manchester Liners all built in the 30's that had radial davits. The Manchester Progress, Manchester Port and Manchester City. I was also on a small coaster, the Somme, on the Manchester/Liverpool to Paris run.
I don't remember any difficulty in launching the boats, mind you it was always in port. I passed my lifeboat ticket in the Salthouse dock, Liverpool in 1952 using radial davits.

I still remember the orders "launch the boat forrard" followed by "launch the boat aft"

Alec.

tell
17th January 2010, 02:00
Anyone remember a certain mate in the Newfoundland having his face smashed in by the winding handle when the ordinary seaman lifted the brake handle

Keltic Star
17th January 2010, 06:28
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=unnovzCTtY4&NR=1

this sort of stuff

I was only joking but thanks for the video
Bob

RayJordandpo
17th January 2010, 21:02
Anyone remember a certain mate in the Newfoundland having his face smashed in by the winding handle when the ordinary seaman lifted the brake handle

I've seen exactly the same thing happen on a salvage tug. The guy was already no oil painting but a damn sight worse when they finished stitching up his face.