USCG: Marine Safety Alert 13-19 Hazards of Retractable Pilot Houses on Towboats

12/06/2019 the USCG issued Marine Safety Alert 13-19 “An Important Safety Consideration – Hazards of Retractable Pilot Houses on Towboats.” The USCG has issued recommendations for reducing the risk associated with the crush hazard presented by the lowering of the pilot house.


The Coast Guard strongly recommends that towing vessel owners and operators that utilize retractable pilothouses:

  • Ensure pilothouses are installed with mechanisms capable of returning the pilothouse to a fail-safe locked condition in case of a failure or malfunction;
  • Ensure the pilothouses are equipped to sound an audible and visual alarm during all modes of pilothouse hydraulic movement;
  • Instruct operators to confirm personnel are clear of the danger zone before moving the pilothouse;
  • Instruct all personnel to never position themselves under the retractable pilothouse, even temporarily;
  • Clearly mark and place physical barriers around the perimeter of the pilothouse danger zone and discourage unauthorized personnel movement under the pilothouse;
  • Incorporate into the Towing Safety Management System (TSMS) the company/vessel’s policy and procedures, information about the potential dangers, audible and visual alarms, and safety considerations regarding operation of the pilothouses; and,
  • Ensure new crewmembers receive proper training regarding the dangers and that all personnel receive annual refresher training.

Click here to download USCG Marine Safety Alert 13-19 An Important Safety Consideration – Hazards of Retractable Pilot Houses on Towboats

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