Small watercraft

Photo taken from above of someone climbing down a rope ladder into a rubber boat.
Climbing down from the ship into an IRB (Photo: A. Rushton)

We use a range of watercraft for cargo operations, personnel transfer and search and rescue.

Inflatable rubber boats (IRBs)/rigid inflatable boats (RIBs) and LARCs (Lighter, Amphibious, Resupply, Cargo) are used for cargo and personnel transfers and are available for search and rescue purposes.

Jet barges and Uniflote pontoons are also used for station resupply. We use aluminium and plastic work boats for designated science activities.

Particular hazards associated with watercraft operations from ships in Antarctic waters include:

  • boarding craft by ladder in swell conditions
  • exposure/hypothermia
  • cold water immersion
  • negotiating surf
  • landing on rocky shores
  • unsecured cargo
  • entrapment in sea ice

Disembarkation from ship may require you to climb down a rope ladder, which can be dangerous when the ship and LARC or IRB are rolling in swell. Listen carefully to crew instructions on when to step aboard.

A belay rope with harness is available at the bunker door. Personal equipment will be lowered separately.

This page was last modified on 18 August 2010.