Regulations

Regulations for marine distress signals

Approval according to SOLAS 74/88 and MED

 

The marine distress signals require SOLAS/MED approval because they are also among the life-saving appliances covered by section III of the International Convention SOLAS 74 / 88.

The detailed specifications and test methods for life-saving appliances are defined in the LSA Code (Life-Saving Appliance Code). The purpose of this code is to establish international standards for life-saving appliances that are required pursuant to section III of the international convention SOLAS 74/88.

 

The exact wording of the LSA code, see the following link:

 

http://www.deutsche-flagge.de/de/download/bau-und-ausruestung/neu-und-umbau/zusaetzliche-Informationen/lsa-code

 

The provision defines the following properties of the three different marine distress signals:

 

3.1 Rocket Parachute flares

3.1.1 The parachute flare must

1. be in a waterproof cartridge;

2. show on the outer label of the cartridge the print of a short and clear explanation or pictogram how to use the flare;

3. have a built-in ignition device;

4. be so constructed that the person holding the flare is not hindered when using the flare according to the manufacturer's instructions.

3.1.2 The rocket must reach a height of 300 meters if launched vertically. At the peak height or near it, the flare should eject a luminous star with a parachute which

1. burns with a bright red color;

2. evenly burns with an average luminous intensity of 30 000  candela;

3. burns for more than 40 seconds;

4. have a falling speed of no more than 5 meters per second;

5. does not damage his parachute or attachment during firing.

 

3.2 Hand flares

3.2.1 The hand flare should

1. be in a waterproof cartridge;

2. show on the outer label of the cartridge the print of a short and clear explanation or pictogram how to use the flare;

3. have a built-in ignition device;

4. be so constructed that the person holding the flare is not hindered when using the flare according to the manufacturer's instructions and that the survival craft is not endangered by burning or glowing residues.

3.2.2 The hand flare should

1. burn with a bright red color;

2. burn uniformly with an average luminous intensity of 15 000 candelas;

3. have a burning time of at least 1 minute;

4. continue to burn after having been immersed for 10 seconds 100 millimeters deep in water.

 

3.3 Buoyant smoke signals

3.3.1 The buoyant smoke signal must

1. be in a waterproof cartridge;

2. not ignite explosively when used in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions;

3. show on the outer label of the cartridge the print of a short and clear explanation or pictogram how to use the flare.

3.3.2 The buoyant smoke signal

1. must emit at least for 3 minutes in equal amount smoke of a clearly visible color when it floats in calm water;

2. may not produce any flames during the whole time of burning;

3. shall not be extinguished by rough seas;

4. must continue to emit smoke when submerged for 10 seconds 100 millimeters deep in water.

 

Marine distress signals which bear the “steering wheel” mark additionally are required for the equipment of a merchant vessel flying a European flag.

Marine distress signals, which are approved according to SOLAS / MED, do not necessarily need an approval with CE mark. However, it has proven advantageous that the distress signals obtain both the SOLAS / MED approval and CE approval to ensure a clear assignment to the relevant storage and transport group when stored within the EU.

 

CE approval

 

In order to guarantee the free movement of pyrotechnic articles within the internal EU market, the EU has released on 23 May 2007 a Directive under the name 2007/23/EC dealing with the placing on the market of pyrotechnic articles. The EU Member States are bound to adopt this new Directive latest by 4 January 2010 and change their explosive laws accordingly. For marine distress signals (category P1 and P2) these laws shall apply latest by 4 July 2013.

Directive 2007/23 / EU has been reworded by the European Commission in the form of Directive 2013/29 / EU, which completely replaces the old directive. In the context of this recast, all European countries are required to transform the changes into national law by 30 June 2015 at the latest. Corresponding adjustments have been made to the German explosives act and its regulations.
 

All pyrotechnic articles (except the SOLAS falres on merchant ships), among which you find the marine distress signals, require the approval through one of the so-called Notified Bodies after having passed the necessary tests. They shall bear in future the CE mark displaying the related registration number as a sign of conformity. Together with the CE mark each article receives its classification of the correspondent storage and transport group.

 

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