USCG issues lifeboat warning after tragic accident

Malcolm Latarche

Malcolm Latarche · 26 July 2019


A death that occurred during a routine lifeboat exercise has prompted the USCG to issue a safety waring to operators.

The Eighth District Officer in Charge, Marine Inspection (OCMI) of the Outer Continental Shelf issued Marine Safety Information Bulletin 19-04, “Lifeboat operations on manned facilities,” to alert offshore operators about a tragic accident with loss of life that occurred on a floating offshore facility. At the time of the accident, the crew was exercising their lifeboat in accordance with the regularly scheduled maintenance and training plan.

In the process of retrieving the lifeboat, while the lifeboat was level with the facility’s loading deck and personnel were transitioning from the lifeboat back onto the facility, an incident occurred causing the lifeboat and personnel to fall approximately 23m to the water.

A USCG investigation to determine causal factors that contributed to this incident is ongoing. Because the potential factors involved in this incident may be common to many facilities on the Outer Continental Shelf, immediate and positive action need not await the results of the investigation.

It is recommended that all owners, operators, and masters immediately complete the following:

  • Review the company’s maintenance procedures for lifeboats and ensure they adhere to manufacture criteria for the model and make of lifeboats, davits, and other installed lifesaving equipment.
  • Take a proactive approach to ensure your personnel are properly trained in the inspection, maintenance and use of their lifesaving equipment.

Operators are also encouraged to review USCG D8(ocs) Policy Letter 04-2016, Rev 1 titled “Inspections of Emergency Evacuation Drills on Manned Facilities with Lifeboats (Boats)” and contact the District 8 OCS OCMI at 504-671-2106 or should they desire to pursue an alternative to lifeboat loading in the Gulf of Mexico.

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