Life Boats and Tenders

I used to think that cruise ships had an unlimited supply of tenders to shuttle passengers back and forth to ports - or at least, if not unlimited - limited only by the supply of full-sized life boats. On our last cruise (Crown Princess) the bridge tried to "manage expectations" by warning passengers that due to the distance from moorage to the port in the Falklands - and the limited number of tenders, some passengers might not get to disembark (or words to that effect). Turns out - there was no problem - everyone who wanted to go ashore got ashore. Also turns out  that the number of life boats (under international law) that can be used for tendering is strictly limited, must be identified as tenders, and that the rest can ONLY be used for emergencies.

Tags: tenders life boats

11 Answers

I have never heard of passengers being told that they may not be able to go ashore due to a lack of tenders.

That's interesting. I was at Santa Barbara with the Crown Princess last November and I wondered why they were using such a small number of boats. I think it be interesting to read all the rules involving cruise ship operations. So much on the internet I'm guessing that type of info might not be hard to find.

I gotta say--I don't think I'd be a happy camper if I wasn't allowed to debark only because of lack of tender service.

Totally agree with this.

I have never heard of this either. Poor weather yes, not enough tenders no. Usually the island will also provide tenders as well. They want as many people in town spending money as possible.

Who da thunk it.

It makes sense not to use all the lifeboats as tenders. The ship is still at sea, and an emergency requiring evacuation could still happen. What would we do if all the lifeboats were busy on tender duty?

I get it. But cars that sit start to leak around the seals, batteries die, mice nest on the carburetors. They need to be driven occasionally. I suspect the same is true with life boats? And - they do use life boats as tenders. A select few...

They do perform regular preventative maintenance on all the boats, as will as "take them for a spin" occasionally.

This is an interesting observation, can't recall a cruise where a shortage of tenders caused a problem but that doesn't mean it didn't happen, they just didn't tell us the reason why. One time on the Amsterdam, at a tender port, they ran across a reef and tore up the prop bad and the hull a little, so they couldn't use the tender again.

Last year there was quite a discussion on tenders which I tried to find and repost here but I couldn't find it. I learned quite a bit from that so it caused me to look more closely at Ship's and their tenders. "As a tender the boat is usually rated by Lloyds ( a classification society by whose regulations the ships are built) for fewer passengers than as a lifeboat. (90-120 passengers for tender service vs. 150 persons as a lifeboat)."

I noticed that on the tenders they have printed capacity restrictions, if used as a lifeboat, the tender was allowed to carry many more. It also appeared to me that the newer vessels have just about all their lifeboats configured as tenders too, I believe the new Royal class for Princess has 80% of their boats as tenders. It also appears to me that the older vessels have proportionality fewer tenders.


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