Digitalized lifeboat service saves time, money - and lives

Regularly assessing the condition of lifeboats and related equipment is crucial to ensuring safety at sea. A new iPad-based inspection and reporting solution from VIKING will enhance the accuracy, consistency and timely delivery of servicing documentation.

Standard industry practice for lifeboat servicing relies on inspection reports that are compiled after the inspection has taken place. Aside from the wait customers can experience for relevant documentation to arrive, post-event reporting poses a risk for consistency, while accuracy may vary depending on the experience and workload of the engineer.

A new iPad-based lifeboat servicing solution being implemented by VIKING for 2021 looks to overcome these issues by creating a standard reporting format that builds-in consistency and can deliver the service documentation inspection report immediately.

David Torres, VIKING’s global service director for boats and davits, explains. “Current reporting methods for lifeboat servicing take time and could also be improved in terms of uniformity,” he says.

“With our new system, our engineers use a digital checklist to follow a standardized process and issue documentation on the spot, allowing the customer to resume operations without delay.”

David Torres - Global Service Director, Boats & Davits

Documentation adheres to VIKING’s ‘rules of reporting’, Torres adds, which state that all service technicians must describe why they were on board the vessel, what they found during their visit, what they did to rectify any issues and what the result of their actions was. The client thereby gains detailed and transparent insight into the procedure.

Transparency is key

Further clarity is achieved through VIKING’s rating system. While inspecting onboard equipment, the technician assigns each item a value from one to five, with ‘1’ denoting ‘possible unsafe condition’ and ‘5’ ‘new condition’. Each rating is in turn linked to a response, so a product that receives a rating of 1 requires ‘immediate action’, while equipment rated 4 or 5 requires ‘no action’. Ratings of ‘2’ to ‘3’ call for ‘follow-up service’ and ‘minor action’, respectively.

“Conventional practice is more black and white,” says Torres. “If you simply tell the client, ‘This winch is in poor condition; it needs replacing,’ or, ‘It’s fine; you don’t need to do anything,’ you’re not giving them the full picture, and they will wait until something goes wrong and end up having to pay for expensive emergency repairs.”

More proactive means more productive

In contrast, our proactive approach helps the client to plan and budget for maintenance work before the next inspection, avoiding unforeseen outlays and equally costly downtime. “By providing more specific feedback, we are moving away from OK – not OK and reactive maintenance towards condition monitoring, which will ultimately help in preparing the vessel’s maintenance budget save our customers time and money while improving the operational safety,” says Torres.

Moreover, thanks to VIKING’s multibrand approval and comprehensive product knowledge, the same proactive maintenance service can will be applied to third-party equipment as well as our own OEM products. The system is currently being rolled out across VIKING’s global network and is due to go live in early 2021.

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