8. Safe access to ship1
8.1. Means of access to ship
8.1.1. There should be a safe means of access between any ship and any quay,
pontoon or similar structure or another ship alongside which the ship is secured.
8.1.2. Seafarers should be provided with adequate information on how to make
their way safely to and from the ship through the marine terminal or shoreside cargo
8.1.3. In some modern ports access equipment and information on safe means of
access are provided by the port authorities. However, the master should ensure, as far as
possible, that the equipment meets the required safety standards.
8.1.4. Seafarers should not use a means of access which is unsafe. They should
also use means of access with care, e.g. they should make several trips or use a stores
crane when carrying personal gear, stores or ship's equipment rather than attempting to
carry too much at once.
8.1.5. All access arrangements should be supervised at all times, either by seafarers
or by shore personnel, particularly in ports which have large tidal ranges.3
8.1.6. Access should generally be by an accommodation ladder or gangway which
is appropriate to the deck layout, size, shape and maximum freeboard of the ship.
8.1.7. Any access equipment should be of good construction, sound material,
adequate strength, free from obvious defect, properly maintained and inspected at
frequent intervals. It should not be painted or treated to conceal cracks or defects.
8.1.8. Access equipment should be placed in position promptly after the ship has
been secured and remain in position while the ship is secured.
8.1.9. A lifebuoy with a self-activating light and a separate safety line or some
similar device should be provided at the point of access aboard the ship.
8.1.10. All access equipment and the approaches to such equipment should be
8.1.11. Seafarers should use only the appropriate equipment for ship access.
1 The ILO Code of Practice on Safety and Health in Dock Work (revised, 1977) and the ILO
Guide to safety and health in dock work (revised, 1988) contain more detailed information on means
of access to vessels.
2 The duty to ensure the safety of seafarers in port areas is stressed in the Seafarers' Welfare at Sea
and in Port Recommendation, 1987 (No. 173) (Paragraphs 3 and 19).
3 Besides contributing to the protection of seafarers against accidents, such surveillance also
enhances security against unauthorized persons, including criminals, from boarding the vessel.