Lifeboat Working Group

Our Ref: HSR/2/6

Head Office Circular: NP/161/22

21st July 2022

To: The Secretary




Dear Colleague,




A Lifeboat Working Group meeting took place on 16th June 2022.


In attendance were: Danny McQuaid (Belfast) and Geoff Kite (Regional Organiser) via video link, Dale Kember (NEC member), Jonathan Havard (H&S Officer) and Darren Procter (National Secretary). 


All actions points are for JH


  • DP reported on meetings with MCA so far. Next meeting is scheduled for 19th July. We await the MAIB report; the previous one reported 12 deaths and 87 injuries (these figures could be higher due to under-reporting). Previous MAIB report can be viewed here


  • It was agreed to copy the letters sent to the Bahamas and Cyprus flag states to the MAIB, MCA and Shipping Minister 


  • It was noted that under SOLAS there is no requirement to have crew onboard when the lifeboat is launched. DM noted that most accidents take place during launch due to problems with hooks; lifeboats should be lowered down to the water line before boarding during drills.


  • It was agreed to digest them respond to the next MAIB report once received, in the meantime send a lifeboat discussion paper to the MCA, MAIB and employers asking what their interpretation is in regard to SOLAS position


  • It was further agreed that in the same letter MAIB be asked when to expect the latest report before circulating to this Working Group (together with the recommendations from the last report)


  • It was agreed to write to the HSE (after discussion with R.O. Jake Molloy) to ask how many lifeboat incidents there have been on the last 1, 3 and 5 years in the UK Continental Shelf and to write to the MCA to identify how many inspections of vessels have found lifeboat deficiencies (a) in the UK and (b) in the Paris MoU region 


  • Discussion took place around information received about lifeboat simulation training from Virtual Marine, Canada. A presentation is attached for further consideration by group members. It was also agreed to invite DK and DM to any future physical presentation by Virtual Marine


  • It was agreed to invite Paul Cook (Wightlink) and the H&S rep from Hovertravel to the next meeting of this group.


At its meeting on 19th July, your National Executive Committee noted the following report from its Health and Safety sub-committee:


We note the report on file.


The General Secretary is instructed to rename the file to “Lifeboat Working Group” and to broaden the discussion on this important topic by seeking input or volunteers to the group with the creation of a lifeboat discussion paper.


Relevant members, branches and regional councils to be advised.

I am acting in accordance with these instructions; please bring the contents of this circular to the attention of relevant members. 


Yours sincerely



Michael Lynch

General Secretary