Lifeboat Test Accidents
Lifeboats are supposed to save lives but tragically, lifeboat testing sometimes takes them. Lifeboat drills are important safety precautions, but many accidents during these drills result in injuries and fatalities.
Lifeboats are small vessels capable of carrying passengers in an emergency, after the ship they’re on suffers damage. To use lifeboats properly, a ship’s crew members must be experienced in filling and lowering them. This requires regular lifeboat drills, which must be held at least once a month, per the United States Code of Federal Regulations.
Since each crew member must participate, multiple drills may be necessary each month. If more than 25 percent of the crew hasn’t participated in an abandon-ship drill on board a vessel during the previous month, the drill must take place within 24 hours of the ship leaving port. Lifeboat drills must also be held when a new vessel enters service, after modifications have been made to a ship, or when a new crew is engaged. These drills include crew members helping others into lifeboats, lowering the boats into the water, moving them some distance from the ship, then lifting and stowing the vessels.
Lifeboat Drill Accident Causes
Most of the accidents that occur during lifeboat drills are due to defective equipment, lack of maintenance, improper training, and poor communication.
The most common injuries include head and spine damage, sometimes leading to paralysis, or even death at a later stage. When testing is conducted in cold waters, hypothermia is also a risk. Common examples of the failures leading to lifeboat drill accidents include:
- Poor lifeboat maintenance
- Inadequate crew member training
- Unsafe practices during drills
- Unintended operation of the lifeboat release mechanism
- Communication failures between crew members
- Failure of the lifeboat release mechanism
You Need an Attorney
If you were injured during a lifeboat drill, you’re entitled to recover damages under maritime law. If you’ve lost a loved one in a lifeboat drill accident, you may be able to receive wrongful death compensation for your loss. To learn more about what the law offices of Steve M. Lee, P.C., can do for you, visit us on Facebook.