Pilot ladder defects are, unfortunately, a fairly common problem even today according to The Nautical Institute in its latest Mars Report. The report describes a pilot almost falling after a side rope suddenly broke. The Institute stresses the importance of inspection in this matter.

The Nautical Institute gathers reports of maritime accidents and near-misses. It then publishes these so-called Mars Reports (anonymously) to prevent other accidents from happening. A summary of this incident:

A vessel had been discharged and was ready to depart. A pilot had been ordered and had arrived via a small boat, boarding the vessel from the sea side. As the pilot stepped from the last rung of the pilot ladder onto the deck, one of the side ropes suddenly broke. Luckily, due to the fact the pilot had his weight and leg on the main deck, he did not fall.

Also read: Near miss as pilot rope ladder fails

Advice from The Nautical Institute

The lives of persons using pilot ladders depend on reliable, safe equipment. Ladders should be scrupulously inspected at regular intervals and any hint of defect corrected or the ladder taken out of service.

Mars Reports

This accident was covered in the Mars Reports, originally published as Mars 202126, that are part of Report Number 343. A selection of this Report has also been published in SWZ|Maritime’s June 2021 issue. The Nautical Institute compiles these reports to help prevent maritime accidents. That is why they are also published on SWZ|Maritime’s website.

More reports are needed to keep the scheme interesting and informative. All reports are read only by the Mars coordinator and are treated in the strictest confidence. To submit a report, please use the Mars report form.