Fast craft turn to lighter davits
The lightweight aluminium davits often chosen as the boat handling solution for fast patrol craft are extending their appeal, with navies and other enforcement agencies selecting the specialized boat handling equipment for a greater number of vessel types, according to Vestdavit.
Rolf Andreas Wigand, Managing Director, Vestdavit says the davit dimension of fast craft operation merits special attention, because weight savings here can enhance maneuverability, fuel economy and vessel responsiveness, in turn expanding a fast craft’s operational window.
“Davit safety and efficiency must be optimized but vessel performance and rapid deployment are also prerequisites,” says Wigand. Boat crew safety is – of course - paramount, but every kilo saved is also an opportunity to enhance vessel stability or add payload, or both.
Vestdavit recently saw two 26-knot Cape-class vessels enter service with the Australian Border Force, each equipped with a pair of lightweight PLAR-6500 units to lift 6,500 kg rigid hull inflatable boats (RHIBs). The all-aluminium davit system is 30 per cent lighter than its steel counterpart. The company has already installed 16 units on eight earlier ABF Cape-class vessels.
Safe working loads for all-aluminium davits from Vestdavit range between 850kg and 7,000kg, and the equipment type is easy to retrofit. The company’s all-aluminium option from Vestdavit is also preferred for fast patrol boats by the Royal New Zealand Navy, the Danish Navy, the Swedish Navy, and the US Coast Guard. The US Coast Guard is currently installing aluminium PLA-2000 rescue boat davits on their nine (9) Bay-class 140-foot icebreaking tugs. Security forces in the Middle East and South Asia are now considering the solution for fast patrol vessels.
“A-frame aluminium davits have been designed for use where weight is a high priority, but they are also corrosion-proof and proving themselves day-in-day-out as hard-wearing, high performance assets that navies and coastguards rely on for rapid boat launch and recovery,” says Wigand.
He adds that Vestdavit has recently been advising classification societies on how best to upgrade guidelines on davit performance that go far beyond the standards set by the Safety of Life at Sea Convention. Soon-to-be published guidance from a leading society will instead echo longstanding recommendations from Vestdavit that boat lifting and lowering speeds should take account of sea states. They will also acknowledge the safety benefits of dynamic shock absorbers, boat guiding arms and self-tensioning wires, hydraulic end stops and independent HPUs.
PLAR Type davits from Vestdavit are hydraulically operated with power stored via accumulators in compliance with latest SOLAS requirements. They can be installed with optional Wave Compensation System on winch, Hydraulic Wire Puller, Hydraulic Limit Switch and Remote-Control unit. In the case of the PLAR 6500 units delivered for the ABF’s Cape Class vessels, these are attributes which combine to help launch and retrieve boats safely at up to 10kts in heavy seas which, accommodating an operational area extending from the tropics to the Antarctic.
Specifications of recent installations can be found on the Vestdavit stand, No A69 at Seawork International 2018.
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