Lifeboat Release Gear Cable Failure

Francis Wong
Francis Wong
Managing Director
Creating no-code websites and informative articles, such as this one, is what I enjoy. I also have a passion for search marketing and SEO.


18 Jul 2023 - On one vessel we attended for lifeboat and davit annual survey, we found some serious deficiencies on both their lifeboats' release gear system.

The lifeboat's make (manufacturer: industry terms) is Qingdao Beihai Boatbuilding Co., Ltd, type BH-7B. Lifeboat's release gear system is type BH HOOK 5.

Upon entering the lifeboats, my service engineer has determined that the release gear systems are unfit for purpose and need urgent rectification.

Scroll down to take a look at the photos taken.

The worst of the 4 cables. Corroded sleeve and exposed inner cable.

One of the total 4 release gear control cables, has its locking nut totally wasted and its inner cable exposed. It takes months for metal to rust to this result, and all 4 cables can be easily seen from inside of the lifeboats. This situation is dangerous as the release gear systems can no longer be used, any of the cables would have snapped just from operating the release gear system. Now, compare this to a normal Qingdao Beihai release gear system control cable that was installed in the same position below.

New cable fabricated in Singapore and replaced on 21st July 2023

According to's article "FAQs for Teleflex Controls and Cables", when visual inspection shows chafing, breakage or bent, loose or worn parts, the cable should be replaced, do not repair them. This is the same advice given by all Lifeboat manufacturers, including Qingdao Beihai Boatbuilding Co., Ltd, and can be easily found on the lifeboat manuals.

It took my team of 2, 12 hours to complete the annual survey for both lifeboats and davits (port and starboard side), that's including removing 1 set of the control cables as sample for fabrication at a local Morse cable assembler. Fortunately for us, the vessel has port stay of 3-4 days and that allows us to complete the work.

Installation stage

We handed 1 set of control cables to our partner and due to after office hours, they start to fabricate 2 sets of new cables the next day. The cables are only ready on 20th noon, and this time, the components supplied are in stainless steel which will not corrode like the original ones.

My team board the vessel at around 1800hrs with the new cables and proceed to secure the lifeboats.

Click here to read how we secure lifeboats and davits to work safely on the release gear.

Then, we sort out the cables for forward, aft and repeat for the other side.

New lifeboat release gear control cables packed in a roll.

Following which, we lay the cables in their respective position, and connect both ends. For a Qingdao Beihai lifeboat release gear BH HOOK 5, there are many bolts and components to remove/install, which is extremely time consuming.

Secure cable under central control area.
Central control area for release and reset.

We start from installing at the central control area. Normally, this area we will install and not adjust further. We will only adjust from both ends (forward and aft)

Forward side cable - interior.
Aft side cable - interior.
Aft side cable - Release hook area

After connecting all the cables to their respective positions, my service engineers tested out the release gear system for simultaneous release. Release gear if not released at the same time, could cause serious lifeboat damage. Since one of the release hooks might still be hooked on, exerting stress on the fiberglass structure. Tearing it in the process.

Only when they are satisfied with the tests, they start to box up the protective covers.

Then, repeat the same process for the next lifeboat.

All in, my team spent 15 hours (including travel) just for this replacement.

An extreme example of what happens if release gear fails (i.e., 1 release hook opened while the other didn't.)


Problem like this can be easily avoidable. When crew member carries out their weekly and monthly maintenance and visual checks, they could have noticed the control cables' conditions and alerted their superior. Get the necessary parts onboard and have them replaced at a convenient port.

While the cables are still in good condition, clean and apply fresh grease often to prevent corrosion.

It was fortunately though that we noticed it before any serious accidents occur.

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*N&P Maritime (S.E.A.) Pte Ltd is the authorized service station for Qingdao Beihai Boatbuilding Co., Ltd since 2011. We also representing other manufacturers such as Jiangsu Jiaoyan F.R.P Co., Ltd, Mansei Inc, Sekigahara Seisakusho Ltd, Fassmer-Marland & more. To see our full list of certificates, please click here.

We supply Genuine, OEM and compatible spare parts for Qingdao Beihai manufactured equipment such as lifeboat, rescue boat and davit.

Contact us at and/or +65 97684033 if you have any questions about your lifeboat, rescue boat and davit.

**Qingdao Beihai Boatbuilding branch is the boatbuilding department of Qingdao Beihai Shipbuilding Heavy Industry Co., Ltd. They are a government linked entity and has been in business for decades, building lifeboats, rescue boats, davits and in recent years, military & patrol boats.

Disclosure & Disclaimer: This post may contain advertisements which means we receive a commission if you click through the links, at no costs to you. This helps us fund this project to continue our research, produce contents to educate more people.