Lifting a 150 Ton Liveaboard Vessel

The whole process starts the day before the main lift with Captain Chao taking Oktavia from Tab Lamu Pier for the journey south to the boat yard in Phuket.  Leaving early in the morning he arrived with plenty of time to spare and prepare for the first high-tide the following morning.

Typically enough, the following morning failed to bring the bright warm weather were so use to here in the south of Thailand, and so it was very much a case of umbrellas and wet feet as Captain and the boat yard crew prepared the delicate task of moving Oktavia from the mooring to her final hardstand position on land.

The yard itself is not surprisingly a very large area with a ramp at the far end that enters the water.  It is from this ramp the boats are pulled and up and out to their final resting position.  You can see from pictures the network of rail tracks that criss-cross the yard and the huge gurney’s used to transport the boats.

With great skill and communication from both Captain Chao and the yard crew, Oktavia is positioned centrally in front of the ramp.  The gurney is then lowered down underneath Oktavia and together using small adjustments she is rested on the centreline of her hull.

From there (and probably the worst part of the job) the yard crew also enter the water.  The purpose is to chock the port and starboard sides of Oktavia by securing large wooden wedges along the length of the hull.  Diving down in the murky water the crew use their years of experience to ensure Oktavia is perfect level and stable before she is pulled up the ramp and out of the water.

Once everything has been checked and double checked, and with the clouds darkening above us, the winch man is given the signal to start the pull and Oktavia very slowly, but surely, makes her way up the ramp and on to level ground.  It’s only at this point that you really get a full appreciation of her true size as it’s the first time you get to see the extra third of her height that normally hides below the water line.

After another 30 minutes, and with the sun now shining, Oktavia is finally out of the water and stands proud in the center of the yard.  Everyone takes the opportunity to take a quick initial inspection tour of her hull and to see how much weathering she has sustained over the past 10 months of being in the water.  Barnacles are always the first talking point and by first glance it seems she’s in pretty good shape considering the amount of miles she has covered this season.

This puts a close to the first day of.  Tomorrow the yard crew will make the next step of moving Oktavia to her hardstand area.  Still on the gurney they will push her sideways along the rail tracks to the correct position, put the support struts in place, and then remove the gurney – leaving her ‘freestanding’ and ready for her first full inspection.