Mobile Cranes on Barges: Rigging Engineering Considerations for the Barge

Mobile Cranes on Barges: Rigging Engineering Considerations for the Barge

For those of you who plan lifts and load handling projects, isn't there quite a gamut of considerations in developing, for instance, a critical lift plan using a mobile crane in general industry?  You must consider the load's dimensions and center of gravity, pick and place points, crane setup and ground conditions, operator and rigging crew qualifications and competency, and much more, right?  Additionally, all of these considerations are relative to the project environment, which, for our purposes, could be classified as terra firma.

The only alternative environment offered on this planet - thanks to gravity - is water; can we call that terra aqua?  Well, the real question aside from translating Latin phrases, what are the additional planning considerations for using mobiles cranes over water?  

"Mobile Cranes on Barges" is a unique lesson that answers this question. This one-hour lesson can be barge2found in the Fundamentals of Rigging Engineering Program and is taught online by Kyle Adams, PE, Senior Project Engineer for Barnhart Crane & Rigging based in Memphis, Tennessee.  

This lesson, one of several that the engineering team at Barnhart have developed for ITI's Rigging Engineering Training Program, is designed to give students an overview of the engineering considerations a project planner must be aware of when conducting mobile crane activities on a barge. These considerations and the lesson outline entail:

  • Primary Considerations
  • Crane Considerations
  • Barge Considerations
  • Safety Considerations
  • Load Testing

Here is a Quick Overview of Several Barge Considerations for Mobile Crane Usage

  1. Stability & Strength - Mr. Adams explains the minimum regulations for barge stability and strength in the USA from OSHA 46 CFR 173.005, 174, 170.170. bargespecs
  2. After selecting an appropriate barge, a naval architect should analyze its planned loadings.
  3. The engineer must focus on the barge's local strength requirements for the outriggers/crawlers - the crane's contact points with the barge - and determine if additional crane load spreading is needed with matting.
  4. Global strength of the barge must be confirmed so it can withstand the bending moment imposed during worst-case lifting operations.
  5. Ballasting requirements to counter lift weight and maintain appropriate trim.
  6. All deck surfaces must be above water according to OSHA 1926.1437.
  7. The entire bottom of the barge must be submerged according to OSHA 1926.1437.
  8. There can only be a maximum of 5 degree list or minimum required by qualified person and manufacturer (OSHA 1926.1437).

A large portion of this lesson diagnoses the Primary and Crane Considerations which are certainly of the highest priority though Mr. Adams explains that all considerations are vital for a successful operation. To conclude the lesson, students are engaged with a case study project entailing multiple lifts made with a 200T Link-Belt Crawler for plugging of an oil well located on a man-made island. During this case study, all considerations are exemplified so students can grasp the detail and complexity of mobile crane on barge lifting activities.

If you'd like to learn more about this lesson and others in the Fundamentals of Rigging Engineering Program, you can Demo the Online Program and receive the Program Outline.

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About The Fundamentals of Rigging Engineering Program

Fundamentals of Rigging Engineering is ideal for lift planners, rigging engineers, and other key personnel who plan and execute crane and rigging activities. To learn more, visit or call Christina Lanham, ITI Manager of E-Learning at 800-727-6355.

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About Author

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Zack Parnell

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