What are the SOLAS requirements for lifebuoys?

SOLAS Regulations For Lifebuoys:  

  • Not less than one half of the total number of lifebuoys shall be provided with lifebuoy self-igniting lights;
  • not less than two shall also be provided with lifebuoy self-activating smoke signals and be capable of quick release from the navigation bridge;
  • lifebuoys with lights and those with lights and smoke signals shall be equally distributed on both sides of the ship;
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  • SIZE: Inner diameter should not be less than 400 mm or 16 inch Outer diameter should not be more than 800 mm or 32 inch
  • WEIGHT: total mass must not be less than 2.5 kg not be more than 6 kg
  • MADE: Inherently buoyant material
  • COLOUR: internationally ORANGE in color, highly visible.
    1. Retro-reflective tape (Retro-reflective tape reflects the light in the opposite direction when a beam of light is directed on it from any angle)
    2. Grab line:
      • Its diameter must not be less than 9.5 mm and length of line not be less than 4 times the outer diameter of body in length.
      • It must be secured at 4 equidistant points around the life buoys.   
    3. Self igniting light:   

      -be such that they cannot be extinguished by water, White in colour
      -Capable of burning continues & its luminous intensity not be less than 2 cd  (candela) having min 50 and max 70 flashes per minute for a period of 2  hour, operated battery type.

    4. Buoyant life line:
      • Non-kinking type
      • Diameter not be less than 8 mm
      • Breaking strength not be less than 5 KN
    5. Self igniting light:
      • -Smoke colour is ORANGE. Highly visible
      • -Capable of quick release from the height of 30 m or lightest seagoing condition.
      • -not ignite explosively or emit any flame.
      • -Burning period is atleast 15 minute.
  • It is capable of supporting not less than 14.5 kg of iron in fresh water for a period of 24 hour.
  • It shall not sustain burning or continues melting after being totally enveloped in a fire for a period of 2 sec.
  • be constructed to withstand a drop into the water from the height at which it is stowed above the waterline in the lightest seagoing condition or 30 m, whichever is the greater, without impairing either its operating capability or that of its attached components.
  • Markings “PORT OF REGISTRY” of ship.



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