Lifeboat Service

Lifeboat Hook mechanism defect is one of the most common faults that require immediate attendance for Vessel Seaworthiness. Oceanlink Marine Services offers fast and efficient service technician attendance to troubleshoot and solve the issue. 

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Lifeboat Release Hook Mechanism


The hook is released when ‘release lever arm’ is turned in anti clockwise direction while ‘operating cable’ is pulled down. Locking or maintenance pin must be removed before operating the release hook. Locking pin must be always in position when the life boat is secured to the ship. ‘Locking or maintenance pin’ is nothing but a fall preventive device (FPD). It is colored green. Have a look at the actual images of the life boat hook below. Click on the thumbnails to enlarge.


Regulatory Background

In 2011 the IMO agreed a set of new and stricter safety standards for conventional lifeboats with on-load release hooks, also referred to as on-load ‘release and retrieval systems’. The main purpose of the new safety standard was to reduce the likelihood of the hooks being released by accident. The MSC89 adopted amendments to SOLAS III/1.5 (Res. MSC.317(89)) and the International Life-Saving Appliance (LSA) Code Chapter IV (Res. MSC.320(89)), as well as related guidelines for the evaluation of lifeboat release and retrieval systems (MSC.1/Circ.1392):

  • SOLAS III/1.5, which entered into force on 1 January 2013, requires all ships, regardless of build date, to identify existing on-load release hooks in lifeboats that do not comply with paragraphs to of the amended LSA Code and to replace these with compliant hooks. The required actions must be completed no later than the first scheduled dry-docking after 1 July 2014, but in any case before 1 July 2019.1
  • The LSA Code paragraphs to include requirements for improved hook stability and locking devices as well as automatic resetting of hydrostatic interlocks where provided.
  • The guidelines in MSC.1/Circ.1392 provide flag States, shipowners and manufacturers of lifeboats and release and retrieval systems with a detailed step by step process for compliance with SOLAS III/1.5.

Lifeboat manufacturers have completed their re-evaluation and testing of existing hook systems, and an overview of compliant hook systems is available in the IMO Global Integrated Shipping Information System (GISIS) under the section ’Evaluation of Hooks’. If an existing hook has not been tested and is not found in GISIS, the hook is non-compliant and must be replaced.


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