What is Marine evacuation system or MES as per SOLAS?

Written by Amit Sharma

Marine evacuation system is an appliance for the rapid transfer of persons from the embarkation deck of a ship to a floating survival craft.



Each marine evacuation system must have the following arrangements:
  1. Each marine evacuation system must be capable of being deployed by one person.
  2. Each marine evacuation system must enable the total number of persons for which it is designed, to be transferred from the unit into the inflated life rafts within a period of 10 minutes from the time the signal to abandon the unit is given.
  3. Each marine evacuation system must be arranged so that life rafts may be securely attached to the platform and released from the platform by a person either in the life raft or on the platform.
  4. Each marine evacuation system must be capable of being deployed from the unit under unfavorable conditions of list of up to 20 degrees.
  5. If the marine evacuation system has an inclined slide, the angle of the slide from horizontal must be within a range of 30 to 35 degrees when the unit is upright and in the lightest seagoing condition.
  6. Each marine evacuation system platform must be capable of being restrained by a bowsing line or other positioning system that is designed to deploy automatically, and if necessary, be capable of being adjusted to the position required for evacuation.


Each marine evacuation system must be stowed as follows:
  1. There must not be any openings between the marine evacuation system’s embarkation station and the unit’s side at the unit’s waterline in the lightest seagoing condition.
  2. The marine evacuation system must be protected from any projections of the unit’s structure or equipment.
  3. The marine evacuation system’s passage and platform, when deployed, its stowage container, and its operational arrangement must not interfere with the operation of any other lifesaving appliance at any other launching station.
  4. Where appropriate, the marine evacuation system’s stowage area must be protected from damage by heavy seas.

Marking on marine evacuation systems

The marine evacuation system shall be marked with –
  • maker’s name or trade mark;
  • serial number;
  • date of manufacture (month and year);
  • name of approving authority;
  • name and place of servicing station where it was last serviced, together with the date of servicing; and
  • the capacity of the system.

 Components  of marine evacuation system.

 The MES has 5 main components;
  1. The controls are used for launching the device in the event of an emergency.95
  2. The stowage box is mounted on the deck and contains the chute (when in the stowed position) and the fixed appliances used during the embarkation process, such as a seat and grab rail.94
  3. The chute is stored in the stowage box, attached to the ship and life rafts; and facilitates the egress of the persons utilizing the rafts from the ship to the raft(s) below.93
  4. The raft(s) are generally 1-4 in number, depending on the particular MES system.92
  5. The bowsing winch is fixed to the ship and is used to bows in the raft to the ships side.91


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.

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