Life-saving appliances

Further to our discussions earlier on this forum, I will summarize the rules that apply to lifeboats, liferafts and rescue boats on yachts. The rules are those that apply to yachts of British registry (red ensign group) and being MCA compliant. I have had additional help from Mr Frank Carter of the Maritime & Coastguard Agency in order to get everything right.

There are four cases to be considered:

The first three cases deal with "large commercial motor vessels" not carrying more than 12 passengers, the fourth case deals with vessels - private or commercial - carrying more than 12 passengers.

24-50 metres length, not exceeding 500 GT
These yachts are not covered by SOLAS regulations.

One or more liferafts on each side of the vessel of sufficient aggregate capacity to accommodate the total number of persons onboard. There should be liferafts in such number and capacity that, in the event of any one liferaft being lost or rendered unserviceable, there is sufficient capacity remaining for all on board.

The rescue boat may be a towed SOLAS approved boat or a RIB carried onboard of a non-SOLAS approved type.

50-85 metres length, exceeding 500 GT
These yachts are technically "cargo ships" according to SOLAS as they
exceed 500 GT but are not passenger ships.

One or more liferafts on each side of the vessel of sufficient aggregate pacity to accommodate the total number of persons onboard. There should be liferafts in such number and capacity that, in the event of any one liferaft being lost or rendered unserviceable, there is sufficient capacity remaining for all on board.

One rescue boat meeting SOLAS requirements should be carried onboard.

85- metres length
According to the MCA code of practice, SOLAS lifeboat regulations for cargo
ships will apply to commercial yachts only from 85 metres.

Partially or totally enclosed lifeboat(s) should be provided on each side of the vessel. The lifeboat(s) on each side should be of capacity to accommodate the total number of persons onboard.

If the yacht complies with a SOLAS two-compartment subdivision standard, lifeboats may be substituted by liferafts. Lifeboats may also be substituted by davit launched liferafts if provided in sufficient number on either side of the vessel.

If lifeboats are carried, one rescue boat meeting SOLAS requirements should be carried onboard, if not, one on either side of the vessel.

Vessels carrying more than 12 passengers
Under British registry these ships are required to be certificated as passenger ships regardless of whether they are engaged in trade or not. They must fully comply with SOLAS Ch III passenger ships regulations for life-saving appliances.

This means partially or totally enclosed lifeboat(s) on each side, inflatable or rigid liferafts on each side and at least one SOLAS approved rescue boat on each side.



Modified by Andy Lindy at 4:12 PM 7/7/2004