Following on the heels of a horrific accident involving a woman hauling a person up the mast with a self-tailing winch (see earlier story), Lewmar has just issued a Deck Switch Service Update advisory that sets out enhanced inspection and replacement protocols, and includes a notice that self-tailing winches are not to be used for lifting operations.
The portion of the advisory dealing with winch safety states:
Please ensure that you thoroughly understand the operation and safety requirements of the winch before commencing the installation. Only persons who are completely familiar with the controls and those who have been fully made aware of the correct use of the winch should be allowed to use it. If there is any doubt of how to install or operate this unit please seek advice from a suitably qualified engineer.
• Winches used incorrectly could cause harm to equipment or crew.
• Winches should be used with care and treated with respect.
• Sailing, like many other sports can be hazardous. Even the correct selection, maintenance and use of proper equipment cannot eliminate the potential for danger, serious injury or death.
• Lewmar winches are designed and supplied for line control in marine applications and are to be used in conjunction with appropriate clutches, cleats and other manual controls and stoppers.
• It is the unavoidable responsibility of the owner or master or other responsible party to assess the risk of any operation on the vessel.
• Under no circumstances should any self tailing winch be used in self tailing mode for any lifting operation; rather suitable and adequate manual tailing should be arranged with proper means of manually cleating or stopping the hoist.
• Every winch should be installed with adequate means of manually cleating or stopping the loaded ropes.