Yacht Mast Access

Here at Anglo Access we often receive enquiries from customers looking for a safe way to climb yacht masts.

The old days of using a bosuns chair and a spare halyard are coming to an end as mast rigging companies etc fall within the Working at Height Regulations 2005 and should by now be operating compliant systems of work. Many companies have made the effort to improve their mast climbing safety systems with climbing harnesses and ascending equipment.

Unfortunately climbing equipment rarely conforms to industrial use standards and therefore is unsuitable for 'at work' use.

Those working at height aloft the deck should be supported by a system with all components conforming to the relevant EN standards. Workers should also be provided with a safety back-up system comprising of a separate rope and fall arrest device. Rescue of an injured or incapacitated worker must also be considered, in most situations it is possible to rig the safety system in such a way that the whole system can be lowered in the event of a rescue.

A typical yacht mast access kit for yachts with powered winches would include:

  • A full body work positioning and fall arrest harness
    • This allows users to be suspended by the front lower attachment with their back up device anchored to the chest fall arrest point
  • A work at height helmet
    • Working at height requires helmets conforming to EN12492 as they require a higher breaking strain chin strap and cradle
  • Two suitable 10.5mm to 11mm semi-static ropes conforming to EN1891
    • The ropes used must conform to EN1891 to ensure their correct use with other devices in the system. The suspension rope must be independent of the back-up rope.
  • A fall arrest back up device
    • Back-up devices (such as the Petzl Asap) must conform to EN353 and be used with a suitable energy absorber (Petzl Asap sorber 20cm)
  • A work seat
    • If the task to be performed aloft will take longer than a few minutes it is recommended that a seat such as the Petzl Podium or Lyon Comfort seat be used.
  • Connectors
    • Connecting elements must conform to EN362 as a minimum or EN12275

How do I access the top of the mast without a powered winch?

Without the aid of a powered winch workers must climb a fixed rope using ascenders and descenders. The method used would be very similar to those shown on our rope access page.

As with all work at height, training is essential before attempting to use any of these yacht mast access methods.

For more information or to discuss your particular access situation or training requirements please do not hesitate to contact us.