Wilhelmsen insights

Through the eyes of a Ships Agent: Boarding Vessels at Sea

Boarding vessels at sea is part and parcel of a Ships Agent's life, which means safety checks at every step is crucial. Watch our Ships Agent, Jodie Morgan, in action through the lens of a camera attached to her safety helmet as she goes about her day, to safely board and disembark from a vessel at sea.

Wilhelmsen insights |
Port Services

Wearing PPE (personal protective equipment)

Various work situations require a different set of defined PPE. In the case of boarding vessels at sea, these include: High visibility clothing, Safety boots, Safety helmet, Life jacket, Safety glasses and Safety gloves.

Doing a TAKE 5 assessment

Our TAKE 5 risk management program in Ships Agency consists of 5 easy steps to identify and control hazards:


Scope and plan the task e.g. Boarding a launch boat at Port Hedland


Identify the hazards involved e.g. Transfer from Launch to Gangway


Assess your level of risk e.g. Probability: LOW; Consequences: MAJOR.


Use appropriate controls e.g. 3 points of contact, eyes on path, use PPE.


... when hazards have been controlled.

Security access to launch boat landing area

In compliance to ISPS requirements, security access need to be be put in place.

Boarding Launch to attend vessel

Two-Crew Launch

Our safety policy in Wilhelmsen establishes that it is compulsory to have 2 crew for all our launch operations - one Skipper to operate the launch and one Deckhand to assist passengers.

Supplier Vetting

Suppliers are vetted and approved in accordance to our safety standards.

Safety briefing 

Our expectation is that all Launches undertake a pre-start checklist before each shift. All our launch operators MUST give a safety and emergency briefing to passengers.
This Safety briefing includes the location of: 

First aid kit, 

Fire extinguishers, 

Emergency flares, 

SOLAS life jackets, 

Life buoys.

Emergency briefing 

This informs launch passengers of essential evacuation info, such as: Emergency exits and Emergency plan. It is always important to listen to the instructions of the crew at any point in time. 

Boarding vessel via gangway

The Bottom step of the gangway MUST be horizontal with its pins secured adequately to prevent accidents - this is a common hazard which can result in accidents. This is why we have a ‘Stop Work Authorization’ protocol where our agents (and any of our employees in any work situation) are authorized and have management support to stop work at any point if the work task does not comply with our safety policy and rules. In addition, there must be crew onboard vessel tending the gangway and observing persons boarding. Should an accident happen, the crew can take action immediately. When climbing the gangway, always maintain 3 points of contact. Keep your hands free, hold the rails at all times and move cautiously one step at a time.

Onboard Vessel

Upon boarding the vessel, all guests need to sign in the visitors' log. This is in line with ISPS requirements and ensures everyone is accounted for in an emergency.

Disembarking the vessel

Similar to boarding the vessel, maintain your 3 points of contact when disembarking. Ensure that the Launch is ready for boarding before stepping onto the bottom step. Stepping onto the launch, move away from the landing area on the offshore side.