Bollard Proof brings together a demonstrable wealth of industry expertise in marine contracting, covering design, build and installation.

Bollard Proof Ltd.

Bollard Proof brings together a demonstrable wealth of industry expertise in marine contracting, covering design, build and installation. This unique combination of skill sets gives us an invaluable understanding of how bollards should be tested safely to internationally recognised standards, realistic mooring conditions and, above all, client satisfaction.

We understand that our clients are entrusting us to proof test their mooring assets and ensure that they are fit for purpose, whilst treating their port infrastructure with care. Our hands-on directors and highly trained team design our equipment, control test protocols and oversee the entire on-site operations, underpinning the many processes from start to finish. We take pride in providing our clients with a dedicated, managed testing service, concentrated on adherence to health and safety regulations and the highest standards of site operation.

Our knowledge of bollards and ships’ moorings globally spans many decades. Whilst regional trends and styles vary, and bollard designs come in different shapes and sizes for specific ship types and berth conditions, they all have the same basic function. This know-how and market understanding led us to develop a range of bollard testing devices not only adaptable to different bollard characteristics, but also able to simulate the conditions by which a ship physically loads a quayside bollard.

Earlier methods of testing bollards in-situ, e.g. by use of a tug or pulling bollard-to-bollard, not only introduce an element of uncertainty/danger in the event of bollard failure under high load (whilst being pulled over a considerable distance), but crucially do not mimic the way in which a bollard is loaded in real life. With safety being our absolute priority, we quickly concluded that a bollard test rig should be compact, adaptable and provide containment of the test specimen.

Bollard Proof operates out of 2 sites in the UK, with a sales and design office in Wiltshire that can assess your requirements, check the fit of the rig for its individual application, and advise if further adaption will be required to achieve the desired test conditions. Once this has been established and the quantity and location of bollards to be tested is known, a proposal and quotation will be provided.

Our main service and test hub is based in Cumbria, from where our rigs, test engineers and personnel operate. Our Cumbria branch can test clients’ bollards in-house, which is a service particularly suited to new bollards which have yet to be installed. It’s also where the test rigs are built, assembled, independently checked and calibrated, to ensure that they operate to the highest levels of accuracy, consistency and reliability.


Mooring bollards are a safety critical component of any port or dockside structure. Their function should be to reliably hold a docked vessel against its mooring lines during any ship to shore related operations. As ships get larger and freeboards increase, the service duty on bollards becomes ever more demanding and imperative.

It is therefore vital that mooring bollards be field tested for compliance. The following are a few reasons why a bollard might fail during its operation:

  • Older bollards, or those of unknown source, quality and capacity might have reduced performance due to heavily worn, corroded or decayed structure. Or they might never have been designed to cope with the steep mooring line angles of modern ships.
  • The bollard supplier might not have adequately calculated the bollard strength, or its anchorage design capacity and operational range of mooring rope angles.
  • The bollard supplier might not have diligently vetted the bollard manufacturers casting and material quality, leading to an inferior and defective product.
  • Modern ships invariably use constant tension winches; these, in combination with multiple mooring lines, can result in bollards being continuously loaded to their capacity during mooring. This increases the load spectrum on bollards, leading to fatigue. This is distinct from traditional ships’ moorings, which exhibited cyclical loadings governed by wind and current directions.

Mooring bollards can be realistically proof tested for shear failure in the bollard and overturning, sliding, and bearing failure in the base, or of the anchorages. This will demonstrate if the hardware was sized correctly or is able to withstand the intended design capability.


Bollard Proof’s test rig is a portable device that can be delivered to the quayside. Unlike other current methods of testing bollards, such as pull-testing between adjacent bollards or hammer tests that record and analyse the resonance in the bollard, our system simulates an actual ship’s mooring rope that loads the bollard by pulling away from the quayside in a range of combined vertical and horizontal angles.

Our system can pull and hold to a pre-set level according to the bollard’s design service capacity. This can either be set at unity, or with a small safety margin of 10%. The entire process is recorded live by means of a calibrated load pin that measures the bollard load, whilst a laser measures and detects any movement in the bollard base or bending or failure in the bollard. All of this is further captured on 4 video cameras that live stream and record each test.


The test is conducted remotely from within a control van with umbilical line between the rig and the van. The rope that attaches to and pull tests the bollard is a short length, typically 2 metre low-creep synthetic rope. It pulls away from the quay, so the trajectory of a failed bollard would be seaward, although its energy would be quite small.

Bollards come in a multitude of shapes and sizes and distances from the quay edge. The rig can adapt itself to cater for a variety of bollard types. To do so it has in-built motorised adjustments that allow our operators to set the rig safely and with a minimal amount of manual activity.

The bollard being tested is encapsulated in a ballistic grade transparent enclosure which will arrest any broken parts which might be propelled following a breakage. It also retains them, allowing for the broken or defective parts to be further metallurgically analysed to establish the cause of failure.


Clients, or their representatives, are welcome at our Test Centre in Cumbria to witness testing first hand. 

We can test new or removed bollards to customer requirements. Bollards will be bolted to an adaptable test bed and pulled at combined vertical and horizontal angles to their rated working capacity, or 10% beyond.