Common Mistakes When Operating Deck Machinery Systems
There is a great deal of work to be done aboard any ship. This includes painting, cleaning, handling cargo, and, perhaps most important of all, operating deck machinery. Not only is deck machinery very complex and expensive equipment, improper operation can lead to safety hazards as well as damaged machinery. In this blog, we will look at the most common deck machinery system mistakes and how to avoid them.
The first mistake is to increase the pitch of the bow thruster too rapidly. A bow thruster is a propulsion device built into or mounted onto the bow or stern of a ship or boat to make it more maneuverable. A common operator mistake is moving the bow thruster from minimum to maximum pitch in one movement. This can damage the motor significantly. The pitch should always be increased slowly and the maximum pitch should never exceed ninety percent.
The second mistake involves the winches. A winch is a mechanical device used to wind up or wind out a wire or cable. Controlling the speed of the winch is critical. It is always ideal to use the reduction gear rather than the brake. Overuse of the brakes will inevitably damage the lining of the drum. Slow and steady use of the winch is always preferable. The next mistake many operators make is overusing the deck crane system. To avoid this, be aware of and stay under the safe working load capacity of the crane system. The working capacity will most likely be displayed on the crane body.
A fourth mistake usually occurs when operating the ballast system. Prior to starting up the ballast pump, all valves and conditions around the pump should be inspected. Starting the pump from the cargo control room is a blind task, so it is critical to know the conditions of all the affected areas. It is also important to avoid mistakes while using the hydro blaster. This is essentially a power washer, used for cleaning aboard the ship. Prior to operating the hydro blaster, it is important to locate the safety switch. It should also never be altered with a tie or tape to keep the hydro blaster locked in the ‘on’ position.
Proper maintenance of the deck commonly involves welding equipment. This presents yet another necessary precaution. Like with any welding project, it is important to inspect the surrounding area for potential hazards including a fuel tank vent, tubing containing oil, or any critical part that could be damaged by heat. It is also important to check the insulation of welding cables. The final mistake you’ll want to avoid involves the onboard fire system. The fire system aboard a ship works by supplying water to the hydrants on the deck and in the engine room. However, it can only do this if the pipes are properly maintained. It is critical that the fire system’s mechanical components be maintained before going out to sea. If a fire starts, the last thing you want to find out is that the fire system is not working properly.
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