How To Use Marine Rubber Airbags To Launch A Ship?


Launching a ship is a complex process that involves a variety of issues, to be able to use launching airbags for launching operations more safely, jerryborg as a professional manufacturer, I provide advice on How To Use Marine Rubber Airbags To Launch A Ship in response to this issue.

Table of Contents

Preparation before launching

Vessel type: Define the type of vessel, such as a fishing vessel, commercial vessel, or yacht. Different types of vessels may require different sizes of rubber airbags.

LOA (length) and width of the vessel: Determine the length and width of the vessel. Ensure that the size of the rubber airbags selected is suitable for the hull size.

Vessel’s actual launching weight and deadweight tonnage: Provide the actual launching weight and maximum deadweight tonnage of the vessel. Use this information to select a rubber airbag with the appropriate load-carrying capacity. Type of ground to be constructed: Find out the construction ground material, for example, clay or concrete, to suit different environments and terrains.

Depth at which the boat first enters the water: Determine the depth of the water at which the boat first enters the water. This will help you adjust the level of inflation of the rubber airbags.

The angle of the slipway: Find out the angle of the slipway on the land. This ensures that the boat will slide smoothly into the water when launched.

On-site low/high tide schedule: Provide the tide schedule of the launching site. This will help ensure safety and smoothness by launching at the most suitable moment of the tide.

Working Height (Block Stand Height): Consider the height of the block stand. Ensure that the rubber airbag can be installed smoothly under the hull.

Distance from the bottom of the propeller to the water surface: Know the distance from the bottom of the propeller to the water surface. This will avoid damage to the bottom of the hull during launching.

Distance from the stern to the water intake point: Determine the distance from the stern to the water intake point. This ensures the rubber airbag’s support is fully utilized during the launching process.

How To Use Marine Rubber Airbags To Launch A Ship?

Setting up the holding system

Before a vessel is launched, it is vital to ensure that it is securely held in position using an effective holding system. Larger vessels can use ground anchors, winches, and wire ropes to ensure firmness and stability. While for smaller vessels, the use of crawler cranes may be an option for easier maneuvering. These simple holding systems are reliable. They ensure the ship’s stability and safety during launching.

Launching airbag inflation

During ship launching, the hull can be easily lifted by inflating the launching airbag. Firstly, the launching airbag is inserted between the keel blocks of the hull and then starts to inflate the airbag. As the airbag inflates, the hull is gradually supported securely. Typically, the hull will gradually rise from one end until the bottom is clear of the support blocks. Once this step is complete and the support blocks are removed, the full weight of the hull is evenly distributed across the airbag. This makes it easier to remove the boat from the building or rest on the dock.

Clearing the ship's launching platform

When clearing the boat launching platform, it is vital to ensure that the site is level. The launching slope should be kept as level as possible and areas where potholes exist need to be filled with bagged sand. Flatten protrusions and remove debris and obstructions from the vessel’s bottom and all sites where airbag rolling could be blocked. These steps ensure a smooth launching process. They also increase the effectiveness of the ship’s launching airbag.

Adjusting the launch airbag

One key step before launching a vessel is adjusting the launch airbag. This involves adjusting the airbag’s pressure and the hull’s position. In some cases, the vessel may have been constructed further away from the water. This requires proper movement on the slipway. For this reason, the pressure of the ship’s launching airbags must be adjusted to ensure that the launching process is carried out safely and efficiently. This should be based on actual conditions and launching calculations before the final launching.

Releasing the winch to get the boat into the water

To get the boat into the water, mooring ropes need to be arranged on both sides of the boat. These ropes must have enough traction. They are brought in from the bow and tied to strong ground members. Optionally, they can be tied to locations such as bollards. If needed, they can even be tied to part or all of the hull. When ready, the removal of all piers under the ship may be commenced. Then, the automatic release hooks can be activated, or the holding wire ropes cut. With the help of the rolling action of the rubber airbags, the boat can then be driven smoothly into the water. If the water is limited, controlled launching can be used. It allows the boat to slide slowly and safely into the water by releasing the winch ropes.

Launching and recovery of airbags

After the vessel has been successfully launched, the vessel is first towed to the marina. Subsequently, the recovery of the rubber airbags is carried out. During the recovery process, the bow and stern drafts of the vessel need to be measured to ensure that they meet the design requirements. At the same time, the compartments are checked for leaks to ensure the integrity of the hull. This series of steps helps to ensure that the launching process is completed smoothly. It also helps to identify and deal with potential problems promptly, after launching, to safeguard the ship’s safety.


Ensuring the successful launching of a vessel is a complex process involving multiple steps. Each step is critical. Tasks include preparation, setting up the holding system, cleaning the platform, and adjusting the launching airbags. Then, they enter the vessel into the water and eventually recover it. Jerryborg is committed to providing you with a full range of vessel launching services. They use their expertise and experience for this. Please feel free to contact us if you have any needs or questions regarding vessel launching. We will provide you with professional consultation and efficient services. This will ensure that every launching process is safe and reliable. We look forward to cooperating with you!


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