What are regulations/ requirements for lifeboat as per SOLAS?

As per SOLAS Chapter 3, Regulation 41 ,General requirements for lifeboats

 Lifeboat fittings
  1. All lifeboats shall be provided with at least one drain valve fitted near the lowest point in the hull, which shall automatically open to drain water from the hull when the lifeboat is not waterborne and shall automatically close to prevent entry of water when. The lifeboat is waterborne. Each drain. Valve shall be provided with a cap or plug to close the valve, which shall be attached to the lifeboat by a lanyard, a chain, or other suitable means. Drain valves shall be readily accessible from inside the lifeboat and their position shall be clearly indicated.
  2. All lifeboats shall be provided with a rudder and tiller. When a wheel or other remote steering mechanism is also provided, the tiller shall be capable of controlling the rudder in case of failure of the steering mechanism. The rudder shall be permanently attached to the lifeboat. The tiller shall be permanently installed on, or linked to, the rudder stock; however, if the lifeboat has a remote steering mechanism, the tiller may be removable and securely stowed near the rudder stock. The rudder and tiller shall be so arranged as not to be damaged by operation of the release mechanism or the propeller.
  3. Except in the vicinity of the rudder and propeller, a buoyant lifeline shall be becketed around the outside or the lifeboat.
  4. Lifeboats which are not self-righting when capsized shall have suitable handholds on the underside or the hull to enable persons to cling to the lifeboat. The handholds shall be fastened to the lifeboat In such a way that, when subjected to an impact sufficient to cause them to break away from the lifeboat, they break away without damaging the lifeboat.
  5. All lifeboats shall be fitted with sufficient watertight lockers or compartments to provide for the storage of the small items of equipment, water and provisions required, Means shall be provided for the storage of collected rainwater.
  6. Every lifeboat to be launched by a fall or falls shall be fitted with a release mechanism complying with the following requirements:
    • The mechanism shall be so arranged that all hooks are released simultaneously.
    • The mechanism shall have two release capabilities as follows:
      1. A normal release capability which will release the lifeboat when it is waterborne or when there is no load on the hooks;
      2. 2 an on-load release capability which will release the lifeboat with a load on the books. This release shall be so arranged as to release the lifeboat under any conditions of loading from no-load with the lifeboat waterborne to a load of 1.1 times the total mass of the lifeboat when loaded with its full complement of persons and equipment. This release capability shall be adequately protected against accidental or premature use.
      3. The release control shall be clearly marked in a color that contrasts with its surroundings,
      4. The mechanism shall be designed with a factor of safety of six based on the ultimate strength of the materials used, assuming the mass of the lifeboat is equally distributed between the falls.
  7. Every lifeboat shall be fitted with a release device to enable the forward painter to be released when under tension.
  8. Every lifeboat which is fitted with a fixed two-way VHF radiotelephone apparatus with an antenna which is separately mounted shall be provided with arrangements for siting and securing the antenna effectively in its operating position.
  9. Lifeboats intended for launching down the side of a ship shall have skates and fenders as necessary to facilitate launching and prevent damage to the lifeboat.
  10. A manually controlled lamp visible on a dark night with a clear atmosphere at a distance of at least 2 miles for a period of not less than 12 h shall be fitted to the top of the cover or enclosure. If the light is a flashing light, it shall initially flash at a rate of not less than 50 flashes per minute over the first 2 h of operation of the 12 h operating period.
  11. A lamp or source of light shall be fitted inside the lifeboat to provide illumination for not less than 12 h to enable reading of survival and equipment instructions; however, oil lamps shall not be permitted for this purpose.
  12. Unless expressly provided otherwise, every lifeboat shall be provided with effective means of bailing or be automatically self-balling.
  13. Every lifeboat shall be so arranged that an adequate view forward, aft and to both sides is provided from the control and steering position for safe launching and maneuvering.
Lifeboat equipment

All items of lifeboat equipment, whether required by this paragraph or elsewhere in this chapter, with the exception of boat-hooks which shall be kept free for fending off purposes, shall be secured within the lifeboat by lashings, storage in lockers or compartments, storage in brackets or similar mounting arrangements or other suitable means. The equipment shall be secured in such a manner as not to interfere with any abandonment procedures. All items of lifeboat equipment shall be as small and of as little mass as possible and shall be packed in a suitable and compact form. Except where otherwise stated, the normal equipment of every lifeboat shall consist of:

  1. Sufficient buoyant oars to make headway in calm seas. Thole pins, crutches or equivalent arrangements shall be provided for each oar provided. Thole pins or crutches shall be attached to the boat by lanyards or chains;
  2. Two boat-hooks;
  3. A buoyant bailer and two buckets;
  4. A survival manual;
  5. A binnacle containing an efficient compass which is luminous or provided with suitable means of illumination. In a totally enclosed lifeboat, the binnacle shall be permanently fitted at the steering position; in any other lifeboat, it shall be provided with suitable mounting arrangements;
  6. A sea-anchor of adequate size fitted with a shock-resistant hawser and a tripping line which provides a firm hand grip when wet. The strength of the sea-anchor, hawser and tripping line shall be adequate for all sea conditions;
  7. Two efficient painters of a length equal to not less than twice the distance from the stowage position of the lifeboat to the waterline in the lightest seagoing condition or 15 m, whichever is the greater. One painter attached to the release device required by regulation , shall be placed at the forward end of the lifeboat and the other shall be firmly secured at or near the bow of the lifeboat ready for use;
  8. Two hatchets, one at each end of the lifeboat;
  9. Watertight receptacles containing a total of 3l of fresh water for each person the lifeboat is permitted to accommodate, of which 1l per person may be replaced by a de-salting apparatus capable of producing an equal amount of fresh water in 2 days;
  10. A rustproof dipper with lanyard;
  11. A rustproof graduated drinking vessel;
  12. A food ration totaling not less than 10,000 kj for each person the lifeboat is permitted to accommodate; these rations shall be kept in airtight packaging and be stowed in a watertight container;
  13. Four rocket parachute flares complying with the requirements of regulation 35;
  14. Six hand flares complying with the requirements of regulation 36;
  15. two buoyant smoke signals complying with the requirements of regulation 37;
  16. One waterproof electric torch suitable for morse signaling, together with one spare set of batteries and one spare bulb in a waterproof container;
  17. one daylight signaling mirror with instructions for its use for signaling to ships and aircraft;
  18. One copy of the life-saving signals referred to in regulation v/16 on a waterproof card or in a waterproof container;
  19. One whistle or equivalent sound signal;
  20. A first-aid outfit in a waterproof case capable of being closed tightly after use;
  21. Six doses of anti-seasickness medicine and one seasickness bag for each person;
  22. A jack-knife to be kept attached to the boat by a lanyard;
  23. Three tin-openers;
  24. Two buoyant rescue quoits, attached to not less than 30 m of buoyant line;
  25. A manual pump; .26 one set of fishing tackle;
  26. Sufficient tools for minor adjustments to the engine and its accessories;
  27. portable fire-extinguishing equipment suitable for extinguishing oil fires;
  28. A searchlight capable of effectively illuminating a light-coloured object at night having a width of 18 m at a distance of 180 m for a total period of 6 h and on working for not less than 3 h continuously;
  29. An efficient radar reflector, unless a survival craft radar transponder is stowed in the lifeboat;
  30. Thermal protective aids complying with the requirements of regulation 34 sufficient for 10% of the number of persons the lifeboat is permitted to accommodate or two, whichever is the greater;
  31. In the case of ships engaged on voyages of such a nature and duration that, in the opinion of the administration, the items specified in paragraphs 8.12 and 8.26 are unnecessary, the administration may allow these items to be dispensed with.
 Lifeboat markings
  1. The dimensions of the lifeboat arid the number of persons which it is permitted to accommodate shall be marked on it in clear permanent characters.
  2. The name and part of registry of the ship to which the lifeboat belongs shall be marked on each side of the lifeboat’s bow in block capitals of the Roman alphabet.
  3. Means of identifying the ship to which the lifeboat belongs and the number of the lifeboat shall be marked in such a way that they are visible from above
Regulation 42,  Partially enclosed lifeboats
  1. Partially enclosed lifeboats shall comply with the requirements of regulation 41 and in addition shall comply with the requirements of this regulation.
  2. Every partially enclosed lifeboat shall be provided with effective means of bailing or be automatically self-bailing.
  3. Partially enclosed lifeboats shall be provided with permanently attached rigid covers extending over not less than 20% of the length of the lifeboat from the stem and not less than 20% of the length or the lifeboat from the aftermost part of the lifeboat. The lifeboat shall be fitted with a permanently attached foldable canopy which together with the rigid covers completely encloses the occupants of the lifeboat in a weatherproof shelter and protects them from exposure. The canopy shall be so arranged that:
    • It is provided with adequate rigid sections or battens to permit erection or the canopy;
    • It can be easily erected by not more than two persons;
    • It is insulated to protect the occupants against heat and cold by means of not less than two layers of material separated by an air gap or other equally efficient means; means shall be provided to prevent accumulation of water in the air gap;
    • Its exterior is of a highly visible color and its interior is of a color which does not cause discomfort to the occupants;
    • It has entrances at both ends and on each side, provided with efficient adjustable closing arrangements which can be easily and quickly opened and closed from inside or outside so as to permit ventilation but exclude seawater, wind and cold; means shall be provided for holding the entrances securely in the open and closed position;
    • With the entrances closed, it admits sufficient air for the occupants at all times;
    • It has means for collecting rainwater;
    • The occupants can escape in the event of the lifeboat capsizing.
  4.  The interior of the lifeboat shall be of a highly visible color.
  5. If a fixed two-way VHF radiotelephone apparatus is fluted in the lifeboat, it shall be installed in a cabin large enough to accommodate both the equipment and the person using it. No separate cabin is required if the construction of the lifeboat provides a sheltered space to the satis faction of the Administration.


About the author

Amit Sharma

Graduated from M.E.R.I. Mumbai (Mumbai University), After a brief sailing founded this website with the idea to bring the maritime education online which must be free and available for all at all times and to find basic solutions that are of extreme importance to a seafarer by our innovative ideas.