USCG SAFETY ALERT !
Recently, a vessel pilot died while boarding a vessel when its gangway separated from the vessel,
causing two persons to fall into the water. Although the investigation is still underway and additional
facts are being gathered, this casualty serves as another reminder that shipboard equipment that
seems quite benign can quickly become a hazard to persons boarding and departing a vessel.
Commercial vessels can present hazards to mariners onboard if the risks are not recognized and
mitigated. Considering the hazards presented by rotating machinery, electrical systems, potential fire,
severe weather, etc.; one could easily underappreciate the risk that a simple gangway presents, leading
mariners to become complacent. Because of injuries and fatalities on gangways, a number of
organizations have developed gangway safety standards, requirements, and best practices.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)1, International Maritime Organization2,
Principle and Indemnity Clubs,3 Owners and Operators4, and others5 have put forth various
requirements and shared best practices to improve gangway safety.
Because of this recent fatality, the Coast Guard strongly recommends:
• Owners and Operators, Captains and Mates review and implement the best practices as
presented in the links above and comply with all the regulations applicable to your vessel.
• For vessel pilots, crews, vendors, or anyone boarding or departing a vessel, condition yourself
to take a moment to examine the gangway, accommodation or pilot ladder. Look for potential
hazards or deficiencies, and report them to senior personnel on board the vessel.
At all times, if there is any question about the safety of a gangway, DO NOT CROSS IT.
Do not assume that any gangway crossing is “routine.”
This Safety Alert is provided for information purposes only and does not relieve any domestic or
international safety, operational, or material requirement. Developed by the Prevention Officers of
Sector Corpus Christi. Distributed by the Office of Investigations and Analysis. Questions may be sent