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OMAO Weight Testing Guidance for Small Boats Lifted by Shipboard Cranes

January 3, 2014

OMAO Weight Testing Guidance for Small Boats Lifted by Shipboard Cranes

On April 19, 2013 OMAO issued guidance regarding weight testing of small boats containing personnel while hoisted with shipboard cranes. This memorandum is being issued to extend and expand the requirements until the recommended update to the OMAO Supplemental to the Small Boat Standards and Procedures Manual is implemented.

The requirements listed below apply to boats containing personnel while hoisted with shipboard cranes. These requirements do not apply to:

  • Boats hoisted with davits or
  • Designated rescue boats.

 Boats defined as above will in concordance with the attached:

  1. Have an initial weight test conducted at 150% of the required weight condition. Boats satisfactorily tested to this in 2013 have met this requirement.
  2. Have follow-on annual weight tests at 110% of the required weight condition.
  3. Have lifting attachments and hoisting harness components designed to a 6:1 safety factor or greater. A limited number of options are available to existing NOAA boats that cannot meet this requirement.
  4. Have a weight test plate affixed to the transom or console clearly stating the max weight the boat can be hoisted for easy reference by the deck crew and coxswains before hoisting.

In addition, the ship's crane operator will have a display indicating the accurate weight of the load being hoisted on a display viewable from the crane controls.

OMAO Small Boat Weight Testing Specific Guidance


    1. Condition-A Weight (Dry Weight and propulsion) - Complete weight of the motor and boat, empty and does not include required equipment, fuel, or the equivalent weight of persons
    2. Condition-B Weight (Max. Carriage Capacity + Condition A weight) - Weight of the complete boat: includes all required equipment, fuel, and the weight of the maximum amount of additional gear, equipment, and persons at 185 lbs per person, that the boat is designed to carry.
    3. Modified Condition B Weight (Reduced Carriage Capacity + Condition A weight): A NOAA term defined as a boat's Condition A weight plus the weight offull fuel and required safety equipment, plus the weight of a reduced amount of supplies, gear, and personnel that the boat can be hoisted while containing people.
    4. Review Authorities

      1. OMAO boats - Marine Operations Engineering (MOE) (formerly Marine Engineering Branch - MEB)

      2. NOAA Line Office boats - The NOAA Small Boat Programs

    1.  Have harnesses:
      1. Designed and rated with a 6:1 safety factor for the boat's hoist weight
      2. Have a legible, permanently attached, weather and water resistant, label stating the safety rating from the manufacturer or certified inspector.
      3. Be removed from service if any deformation, ripping, cracking, seam popping, or similar, is observed. The harness will remain out of service until appropriately repaired or replaced and satisfactorily weight tested.
    2. Will have an annually updated, permanently affixed, legible, weather and water resistant identity plate.  Example provided in Diagram  I (bottom last page).  The plate will be affixed to the transom or console clearly stating:
      1. The boat's name and hull registration number.  Program boat registration numbers as per NOAA Small Boat Standards and Procedures Manual -section 14.
      2. Statement "Weight Tested to XX\'.X lbs according to I 10% OR 150% of the Condition B OR Modified Condition B weight on DATE.  Maximum hoisting weight per OMAO policy is XITX pounds when hoisted containing people.
  3. ALL BOATS, OTHER THAN DESIGNATED RESCUE BOATS, BOATS HOISTED WITH DAVITS, AND INFLATABLE BOATS LACKING A RIGID HULL, will have an initial proof weight test conducted by the approved review authority at 150% of the Condition -B weight OR at 150% of the Modified Condition B weight.


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