Revised Unified Interpretation of SOLAS Regulation III/31.1.4

22 February 2017 |  C17011

The Maritime Safety Committee, at its 97th session, with a view to providing more specific guidance on arrangements for remotely located survival craft, approved the below unified interpretation of SOLAS regulation III/31.1.4.

Ship Owners / Managers / Operators  |  Surveyors

Liferafts required by SOLAS regulation III/31.1.4 should be regarded as “remotely located survival craft” with regard to SOLAS regulation III/

The area where these remotely located survival craft are stowed should be provided with:

  1. a minimum number of two lifejackets and two immersion suits;
  2. adequate means of illumination complying with SOLAS regulation III/16.7, either fixed or portable, which should be capable of illuminating the liferaft stowage position, as well as the area of water into which the liferaft should be launched; portable lights, when used, should have brackets to permit their positioning on both sides of the vessel;
  3. an embarkation ladder or other means of embarkation enabling descent to the water in a controlled manner* as per SOLAS regulation III/11.7; and
  4. self-contained battery-powered lamps (i.e. luminaires) may be accepted as means of illumination for complying with SOLAS regulation III/16.7. Such lamps should be capable of being recharged from the ship’s main and emergency source of electrical power, and should be stowed close to the liferaft and embarkation ladder they are intended to serve, under charge. When disconnected from the ship’s power, the lamp should give a minimum duration of three hours of undiminished performance. The lamps should comply with the requirements of section 1.2.3 of the LSA Code. The lamps (i.e. luminaires) should meet the requirements of Ingress Protection rating IP 55. The batteries for the subject lamps should comply with IACS Unified Requirement (UR) E18 requirements irrespective of whether the expiry date is marked by the manufacturer or not.

With regard to the distance between the embarkation station and stowage location of the liferaft as required by SOLAS regulation III/31.1.4 (remotely located survival craft), the embarkation station should be so arranged that the requirements of regulation III/13.1.3 can be satisfied.

Exceptionally, the embarkation station and stowage position of the liferaft (remotely located survival craft) may be located on different decks provided that the liferaft can be launched from the stowage deck using the attached painter to relocate it to the embarkation ladder positioned on the other deck (traversing a stairway between different decks with the liferaft carried by crew members is not acceptable).

Notwithstanding the above, where the exceptional cases exist, the following provisions should be applied:

  1. the lifejackets and the immersion suits required may be stowed at the embarkation station;
  2. adequate means of illumination should also illuminate the liferaft stowage position, embarkation station and area of water where the liferaft is to be embarked;
  3. the embarkation ladder or other means of embarkation may be stowed at the embarkation station; and
  4. notwithstanding the requirements in paragraph of the LSA Code, the painter should be long enough to reach the relevant embarkation station.

Act now

Ship owners / Managers / Operators are invited to use the revised unified interpretation as guidance when applying SOLAS regulation III/31.1.4 to the liferafts to be installed on board their ships, constructed on or after 21 November 2014.


* Controlled manner: a knotted rope is not acceptable for this purpose.

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