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01 July 2001 - Testing, Testing and More Testing

RRS James Clark Ross Diary


Lets go boating ....... well lets weight test them anyway !

This week saw us testing the boat launching systems, every five years both of our lifeboats and our rescue boats' launching appliances (davits and falls) have to be weight tested to 110% of their safe working load. This is witnessed by the MCA (Maritime & Coastguard Agency) who then issue the ship with the appropriate certificates.

To get all of this weight into the boats we use water-bags to simulate the weight of people as for safety reasons there can be no-one in the boat until it is down in the water, we have 80-person boats so that added up to a whopping 7.2 tonnes. "So what ?" I hear you say, "they are designed to take that"; well they are but then to liven things up we stop the boat just above the water which tests the brakes on the winch, and some unlucky person (who just happened to be me!) climbs in out of our safety boat to do an on-load release.

Normally the boats cannot be released until they are safely in the water (with the weight therefore taken off the falls, which is an "off-load" release); however, for this required, test we have to let them go when they are still hanging with their full weight on the falls (wires attaching the boat to the ship) this is called an "on-load" release.

Water bags in the lifeboat. Click to enlarge Filling the bags. Click to enlarge Launching the lifeboat. Click to enlarge

Left to right: Water bags in the lifeboat,
filling the bags
and launching the lifeboat
Click on images to enlarge.


More testing ......

Once this was all done we moved onto the rescue boat. 500 kg of waterbags were put into the boat, and we did much the same thing by lowering it until it was just touching the water and releasing it "on load".

Preparing to drop the rescue boat. Click to enlarge In goes the rescue boat. Click to enlarge

Paul the Third Officer preparing to drop
the rescue boat
.............. and in it goes
Click on images to enlarge.


And more testing ......

Also getting tested this week was the stern gantry, after a long and bitter fight with a hydraulic-ram pin that neither wanted to come out or go back in. This was done by attaching a large water-bag with 12.5 tonnes of water in it to the gantry. This also went well, much to the delight of Doug our Deck Engineer.

The water bag on the gantry (1). Click to enlarge The water bag on the gantry (2). Click to enlarge Doug the Deck Engineer. Click to enlarge

Left to right: The water bag on the gantry
and a very happy Doug the Deck
Click on images to enlarge.



Last but not least ..... and sometimes testing

Gerry Armour in his new boilersuit. Click to enlarge We have been having all sorts of fun and games for the last three weeks trying to get a boilersuit to fit Gerry Armour our fourth engineer, he was so happy to receive it (XXXL!) that he asked if he could show it off to the world ....... so here he is. The picture shows Gerry working on the emergency generator.



Coming up next week we have .......

Hopefully some information about the new LAN system being installed, the other lifeboat to test, the return and reinstatement of Main Engine parts that are away being serviced, the completion of the outstanding A&P refit jobs, and lots more.


Written by Paul Clarke (Third officer)


Weekly diary entries