Gangway Deployment System: Spirit of Discovery

Shearwater Marine Services successfully delivered an innovative solution to a health and safety concern faced by a client in the Leisure industry. The project involved four phases: initial design, detailed design and analysis, manufacture, and installation. Shearwater's collaborative approach ensured the final product met the client's requirements and was fit for purpose. The project's success has opened up new opportunities for Shearwater to engage in further discussions with the client and deliver more innovative solutions to enhance the services offered to customers while prioritising crew well-being.


Shearwater Marine Services was approached by a long-standing professional partner to address a critical health and safety concern faced by their end client. Leveraging our technical expertise, Shearwater swiftly emerged as the preferred contractor to deliver an innovative solution to the problem. Through the production of comprehensive CAD models and meticulous analysis, our team successfully secured the contract.


The end client, renowned in the Leisure industry for their specialised cruises catering to individuals aged 50 and above, sought a resolution to a manual handling predicament in their operations. Specifically, they required their deckhands to manually lift and transport a 400kg passenger gangway from its stowed position and deploy it outboard of the ship. Recognising the potential risk for injuries and striving for excellence in health and safety, the client regarded Shearwater's solution as a proactive measure to safeguard their crew's well-being.


To initiate the project, Shearwater's in-house engineers and CAD designers visited the vessel and engaged in discussions with the fleet manager. During these meetings, the overall requirements were thoroughly explained, and a comprehensive survey of the compartment and available space was conducted. This formed the basis for the initial design phase, marking the commencement of Phase 1 of the project.

Phase 1 – Initial Design

Shearwater Marine Services engaged in collaborative brainstorming sessions involving engineers, CAD designers, and senior fabricators to explore potential solutions for a health and safety problem faced by the client. A concept 3D CAD model was then developed to visualize the proposed solution. This model was presented to the client, highlighting the design's feasibility, functionality, and benefits. The goal was to ensure effective communication and understanding between Shearwater and the client, demonstrating Shearwater's commitment to delivering an innovative and practical solution to the health and safety challenge.

Phase 2 – Detailed design and analysis

The project involved collaboration between Shearwater's in-house engineers, CAD designers, FMEA analysis technicians, and the client's engineers. This collaborative approach ensured that the final product would precisely meet the client's requirements and be fit for purpose. By leveraging the expertise of all parties involved and incorporating direct input from the client's engineers, Shearwater developed a solution that addressed potential failure modes and mitigated risks. This collaborative engagement enabled the delivery of a product that fully aligned with the client's expectations and specifications, ensuring its suitability and success.

Phase 3 – Manufacture

Shearwater's highly skilled and experienced team of welders, fabricators, and inspectors played a vital role in the project. They worked diligently to meet Shearwater's high standards, CE marking process’, and LRQA welding procedures. In stage 3, the assemblies underwent comprehensive inspections, Non-destructive testing (NDT), load testing, and auditing. Upon passing these evaluations, the assemblies were carefully packaged and shipped overseas, awaiting the arrival of the installations team. This rigorous process, supported by Shearwater's expertise and quality measures, ensured the assemblies' integrity and readiness for successful deployment.

Phase 4 – Installation

Shearwater deployed a small and efficient team to a shipyard in Germany, where they met the vessel in drydock. Working within the budget and timeline, the four-person team diligently completed the project. The final inspection involved Shearwater's welding engineer, the client's Ship captain, and a representative from Lloyds Register to ensure compliance with standards. This demonstrated Shearwater's commitment to efficient project management and delivering a successful outcome that met client expectations and regulatory requirements.


This project has yielded significant results for Shearwater, as it has successfully acquired a new client. Furthermore, the project's success has opened up opportunities for Shearwater to engage in further discussions with the client regarding additional innovative solutions. These solutions aim to enhance the services the client can offer to their customers and prioritise the well-being of the crew on board. This outcome reflects the client's satisfaction with Shearwater's expertise and highlights the potential for continued collaboration and mutual growth in the future.


Through its expertise and collaborative approach, Shearwater successfully delivered an innovative solution that addressed the client's health and safety concerns. The outcome of this project has opened up new opportunities for Shearwater to engage in further discussions with the client and deliver more innovative solutions to enhance the services offered to customers while prioritising crew well-being.

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