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These guidelines apply to all lifting operations within Dunbar Harbour that require the use of mechanised hoists, winches or cranes.  Operations using a vessel’s own lifting equipment, tail gate lift platforms or the powered davit on the Victoria Harbour are excluded.  The Harbour Master has the authority to stop any activity in the harbour, including lifting operations, if that activity presents a risk to harbour users or the general public.


To ensure the level of control over lifting operations is appropriate this guidance will differentiate between relatively low risk ‘simple’ lifting operations, and higher risk ‘complex’ lifts.

A simple lift is one where the load is generally less than 5 tonnes and is small in comparison to the safe working load of the crane, taking into account the extension of the boom and wind conditions in relation to the sail area of the load.  Simple lifts will only involve one lifting appliance.

A complex lift will be, for example where the load is more than 5 tonnes and is large in relation to the safe working load of the crane.  A lift may also be considered complex if it involves an awkward load or more than one lifting appliance.

General Guidance 

The decision as to what is simple or complex lies with the Harbour Master.  The following guidance must be followed, but the Approved Code of Practice for the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations takes precedence where there is conflict. 

  • The Harbour Master must be informed at least one week prior to the lift, and must be present at the time of the lift.
  • The person in charge of the lift must provide documentary evidence of the tests and inspection of the lifting equipment, and the personal competencies of the lifting crane’s crew for the Harbour Master to review.  
  • The Harbour Master will carry out a brief risk assessment of the lift, taking into account the location and prevailing conditions at the time of the lift.
  • The Harbour Master must ensure that the lift is prepared adequately: i.e. loose items are removed from the load, the crane is located on stable ground and outriggers are deployed etc.
  • The lifting area must be cordoned off during the lift and access restricted.  
  • A competent person must act as banksman to assist the crane driver.

Once completed the load must be left in a safe and stable condition away from the main pedestrian and traffic routes on the harbour.

  • Hard hats, work boots with toe protection and hi visibility jackets must worn by all those involved in the lift.
  • No person is to ride on the load during the lift.
  • The load must not pass over any person during the lift.

Additional Measures for Complex Lifts

Complex lifts require a higher level of control due to the increased risk.  In general the working practices established by Dunbar Sailing Club are considered to be the standard.  Specifically the following should be taken into account.

  • The Harbour Master must be notified at least one week prior to the lift.
  • A written risk assessment must be provided in advance, together with a lifting plan which details the Safe Working Load under different conditions, communications, roles and responsibilities, safe working practices and action in case of an emergency.
  • The lifting team must include sufficient competent people to manage the operations.



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