Regulations for liferafts for merchant ships

1.1. SOLAS and LSA


According to an international convention, the equipment of merchant vesssels with life-saving appliances must meet certain safety requirements. This is the case under the 1974 International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS).


This agreement was negotiated by the IMO (International Maritime Organisation) with headquarters in London. Their current 167 member states amend the SOLAS regulations constantly. Amendments are usually made by the technical committee of the IMO, the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC).


The Chapter III this SOLAS Convention deals with Life-Saving Appliances and Arrangements, so all life-saving appliances and its detailed requirements. On the basis of this Chapter III the LSA Code (Life-Saving Appliance Code) was adopted by the Maritime Safety Committee in June 1996 through its Directive MSC.48 (66) in order to establish international standards for life-saving equipment as defined by SOLAS, Chapter III. This Directive entered into force on 7 Jan. 1998.


The LSA Code was amended and supplemented by Directive MSC.218 (82), which entered into force on 1 Jan. 2008. Through this Directive some rules have been clarified with regard to the safety requirements for life-saving equipment.


With Directive A.689 (17), the IMO has adopted the recommendations on the production testing of life saving appliances by end of 1991. In 1998, the Maritime Safety Committee of the IMO has recognized the need to introduce more detailed requirements for production testing of life-saving resources and has adopted as a result the Directive MSC.81 (70) thus replacing the Directive A.689 (17).


An explanation of the contents of the various directives of IMO and MSC can be found on the Internet at (Stichpunkt Safety).




1.2. EU Marine Directive (steering wheel)


In addition, the European Union has sought to eliminate through the establishment of common rules for the equipment of carriers with life preservers differences in the implementation of international standards in the EU Member States. With this objective, the EU has adopted in 1996 the Council (EU Marine Directive or shortly MED) Directive 96/98 / EC, which entered into force on 1.1.1999 for cargo ships of an EU flag in force. According to this directive needs a conformity assessment with the manufacturers of lifesaving funds performed to obtain the mark of conformity (steering wheel), which is required for the installation of such equipment on board a ship of the EU Member States and vessels which have agreed to the authorization procedure under MED. Since the entry into force of this Directive must therefore be subject to approval of each life-saving equipment on board a cargo ship flying a flag of an EU Member State, as a mark of conformity, the so-called. Bear steering. The Directive does not apply to equipment with which a ship at the time of entry into force of the Directive has already been. However, if a piece of equipment replaced or is it a re-equipment Directive applies again. What rescue means are subject to authorization under this Directive, including the Annex to this Directive. There are the following categories Others listed..:


A.1 / 1.12 Inflatable rafts

A.1 / 1.13 Rigid liferafts

A.1 / 1.14 Automatically self liferafts

A.1 / 1.15 reversible life rafts with canopy

A.1 / 1.16 Aufschwimmvorrichtungen for liferafts (hydrostatic release units)

A.1 / 1.24 Launching appliances for liferafts

A.1 / 1.27 marine evacuation systems


From the entry into force of the Directive newly manufactured equipment must satisfy the requirements stated in this appendix international agreements. A list of all accredited and approved in this area products and their producers can be viewed on the Internet at by appointment.


1.3. Useful links about this topic  (Mared Product Data base of the European Commission) (See-Berufsgenossenschaft) (DNV-GL) (International Maritime Organisation) (European Union) (Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency)