According to LSA Code, Chapter 3, Reg. 4.4

General requirements for lifeboat:

  • All lifeboats shall be of sufficient strength to:
    1. Enable them to safely launch when fully loaded with their full complement of person and equipment.
    2. Be capable of launched and towed when a ship is making headway at a speed of 5 knots in calm water.
  • Except for free fall, each other lifeboat to be launched by falls shall be of sufficient strength to withstand when loaded with its full complement of person and equipment and with applicable skates or fenders in position, a lateral impact against ship side at an impact velocity of atleast 3.5m/sec and also a drop into water from a height of atleast 3 mtrs

  • The size, number and the capacity of the lifeboat for a merchant vessel is decided by the type of the ship and number of ship’s crew, but it should not be less than 7.3 m in length and minimum two lifeboats are provided on both side of the ship (port and starboard).
  • The requirement for lifeboat of a cargo ship with 20,000 GT is that the boat must be capable of launching when the ship is heading with a speed of 5 knots.
  • The ship must carry one rescue boat for rescue purpose along with other lifeboats. One lifeboat can be designated as a rescue boat if more then one lifeboat is present onboard ship.
  • The gravity davits must be hold and slide down the lifeboat even when the ship is heeled to an angle of 15 degree on either side. Ropes are used to hold the lifeboat in stowed position with cradle. These ropes are called gripes.
  • The wires which lift or lower the lifeboat are known as falls and the speed of the lifeboat descent should not be more then 36m/ min which is controlled by means of centrifugal brakes.
  • The hoisting time for the boat launching appliance should not be less than 0.3 m/sec with the boat loaded to its full capacity.
  • The Lifeboat must be painted in international bright orange colour with the ship’s call sign printed on it.
  • A fully loaded lifeboat in calm water has an engine speed of atleast 6 knots and at least 2 knots when towing a 25-person life-raft and enough fuel for 24 hours.

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.


  • The ambient temperature for lifeboat starting is -15deg and not 15deg. So, kindly make correction

  • Hello
    How many air cylinder needs to installed in enclosed life boats (ie 50 ltr)?
    vsl I am working on had 3 (50 ltr ) cyl, one not hold pressure due to damaged regulation valve, vsl crew 25 engine should consume same air from cylinders.

  • Under which regulations ship life boat want increase capacity from 11 preson to 12 person.
    What are the chances of getting a approval from statutory authorized.

  • hi
    i have a query regarding , where it mentioned in solas or other imo pubication or guidelines , the standard lenght of life boat falls
    many tanks

  • hii,

    i have query relate to exemption from carriage of lifeboat on tanker. may i know which regulation of Chapter III states that.

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