SOLAS - Changes to Pilot Transfer Arrangements
Pilot Ladders are specifically designed for the purpose of safe embarking and disembarking of Pilots. The design and construction of Pilot Ladders is strictly specified by international regulation by SOLAS, The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea.
Pilot Ladder Construction
The Ladders are constructed to be robust by fixing hardwood ladder steps, hardwood spreaders and heavy duty rubber and resin composite pilot ladder steps. The hardwood steps are assembled onto 28 – 30 mm Manilla ropes and spaced at 35cm intervals. The spreaders are a minimum 1.8 metre wide to prevent twisting and these are inserted as the 10th step in each sequence. The lowest four steps of Pilot Ladders are the heavy composite rubber to give further stability and resistance to action between the ship and the pilot’s boat. Because the decks of most commercial ships are far above the waterline, pilots and others who need to come aboard at sea can usually only do so if a pilot ladder is put out. When not being used, the ladder is stowed away.
Changes to the SOLAS specification of Pilot Ladders
The IMO Resolution 308, adopted in December 2010, made changes to the pilot transfer arrangements set out in SOLAS Regulation 23. The amendments came into force on 1 July 2012. The revised regulations apply to pilot boarding equipment and arrangements installed on or after the 1 July 2012. In the case of existing pilot boarding equipment and arrangements replaced on or after 1 July 2012, vessels are required to comply with the new regulatory requirements as far as reasonable and practicable. However, the amendment to Paragraph 6 which prohibits the use of mechanical pilot hoists applies to all vessels from 1 July 2012.