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Old 17 May 2010, 15:29   #1
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Hydraulic steering failure

Hi,

So that I don't hijack aye_capn's thread (http://rib.net/forum/showthread.php?t=35775) I have started a new one here...

For what it's worth I had a hydraulic failure on our RIB today; engine went hard over throwing wife & 2 kids into the water, and 3rd kid hitting her head on the A-frame.

The connection between the hydraulic line and the ram/piston at the engine can off.

The biggest problem was being unable to steer to get to them so they could get back aboard.... not to mention that 2 of the 3 lifejacket didn't inflate! - there will be phonecalls tomorrow to the lifejacket manufacturers

To answer the questions from the other thread:
  • The connection type is/was a compression coupling that blew out, maybe it wasn't as tightly done up as it could have been, or it had never been tight enough to push the olive (if it has one) on to the pipe. These will now be replaced with a crimped end that is threaded on to the ram end.
  • The lifejackets were in date (18 months old) junior lifejackets that had been replaced by the manufacturer following a recall. They were Halkey Roberts type. It would appear that the cylinder was not installed properly. In hindsight they could have inflated them by the mouth tube, but with two kids hanging off her in a state of shock it didn't come to mind at the time; and were pulled out the water within 2 minutes by the RIB we were in company with. The manual toggle was pulled a lot of times, but did not work due to the cylinder not being installed properly.
What do I know now:
  • The throwing line has been ordered - you can't go and pick someone up when the go over the side if you can't steer the boat!
  • Check the lifejacket fully yourself - don't trust even a new lifejacket.
  • A good VHF/DSC is essential - we already carry a fixed and portable VHF, and are very glad that Solent Coastguard still listen on CH16
  • Cruising in company is the best way to travel.
  • Accidents do happen, so we will be back out on the water as soon as the steering is fixed
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Old 17 May 2010, 15:44   #2
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Thanks for the extra info., esp regarding the loose cylinders!

You might consider an emergency steering fitting at this point - no big expense, simply a clip/bolt/tie-on tiller for just such a scenario.

TimM has decided NOT to sell his: here
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Old 17 May 2010, 15:55   #3
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Wilk, an excellent idea. I'll add it to the top of the list of bits to add to the boat. A shame you told TimM what his stainless bits were for!

Dom.
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Old 17 May 2010, 16:11   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DJPirks View Post
A shame you told TimM what his stainless bits were for!
Eh, not me, I'd have smirked as his bits got rusty through lack of use...

And it doesn't have to be something as snazztastic as that - a simple bracket/receiver can be fitted to the engine mount and a pole (eg flag pole, oar, boat hook, fishin rod) can be employed as the tiller, come the moment...
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Old 17 May 2010, 16:24   #5
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Dom,

Thanks for the extra info. Its useful to know it was loose cylinders rather than a dodgy auto mechanism. There is now someone producing bayonet fitting cylinders and jackets to mitigate against this risk. (I don't have them but check the cylinders are tight everytime they come out the cupboard).

Glad everyone OK in the end.

Its a useful point about being able to deploy emergency steering quickly. I suspect most of us who are not coded either have no plan or have never tried the plan for real - never mind the very real possibility that steering failure has turned into a critical situation.
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Old 17 May 2010, 16:28   #6
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Sorry to here about your accident, life jacket failure is quite common, it will surprise you how many life jackets that are never opened up.

You find a similar accident happening in Loch Lommond, unfortunately the people involved were not so lucky as you:

http://www.maib.gov.uk/publications/...och_lomond.cfm

I suggest you you contact your RNLI Local Sea Safety Officer, who will be able to show you how to inspect your life jackets and give you few tips.

You can download the RNLI Guides from:

http://www.sea-safety.org.uk/sea_saf...formation.html

Sat 22nd - Elie Harbour - Firth of Forth is a RNLI Life Jacket Clinic, where we check Life Jackets Free of charge.

Might be bit far for you but any locals it is an ideal time to A) meet me! and B) get your life jacket checked and you will also get a free coffee and biccy into the bargain.

More information http://www.sea-safety.org.uk/index.html

S.
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Old 17 May 2010, 16:44   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polwart View Post
either have no plan or have never tried the plan for real - never mind the very real possibility that steering failure has turned into a critical situation.
Well, I have a plan but no way of testing it - short of bollixing me steering.

My plan is to use the tiller to fix/lash the steering in an ahead position and use the throttles to RTB. Except if the WX is shite, in which case I'm gonna halfta go with steering from the stern with the XO on the throttles.

It's a b1tch
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Old 17 May 2010, 17:09   #8
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Yes many thanks to Ian for telling me what those stainless pole were for. Would seem they are emergency tillers for Suzuki 300s of which I am currently running two of (which would explain why I have them!). As I said in the other thread, when it came to having emergency steering on board for the coding inspection the chap was always happy with the idea of lashing a paddle or boathook to the side of the engine in order to steer it. I've never actually tried this, but providing you have the necessary bits on board and don't go too fast should work well as long as theres two of you (one on the tiller, one on the throttle).

I've heard of the bolt that holds the engine onto the steering fail before but never the hose come off. Worrying stuff.

On the subject of life jackets, I always inflate and fully check a new life jacket before I start using it. Better safe than sorry.
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Old 17 May 2010, 17:10   #9
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The most frustrating thing with the lifejackets is that the week before we had put the kids in some "old" lifejackets and got them to pull the toggles so they would know what it was like to be in one when it inflates. We then left them inflated for 24 hours to check they stayed up. Before getting them checked "professionaly"

Sadly we didn't do the visual inspections on their "good" ones.

We now have a more frequent check of their new Baltc Argus jackets planned once they arrive. (This is NOT the same manufacturer as the ones that failed!)
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Old 17 May 2010, 17:25   #10
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Always check a lifejacket cannister before using it.

At work we discovered that particularly when left in the boot of a car, the cannisters can loosen from the fitting and if not used for long enough come completely off.

You can normally tell if it's tight through the lifejacket skin without unpacking it all.

Chris
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