Lifebuoy Requirements As Per Solas (LSA code)

Chapter 2 of the lsa code is focused explicitly on Personal life-saving appliances; in this article, we will see in detail the requirements that ships must respect to comply with the needs of the solas.

Lifebuoy requirements specification as per solas

What is the minimum inner diameter of a lifebuoy?

The inner diameter of a lifebuoy per Solas must be not less than 400mm.

While the outer diameter of not more than 800mm

What is a lifebuoy made of?

The Lifebuoy must be constructed of inherently buoyant material, it shall not depend upon rushes, cork shaving or granulated cork, and any other loose granulated material or any air compartment wich depend on inflation for buoyancy

How much weight should lifebuoy support for solas?

The Lifebuoy must be capable of supporting not less than 14.5Kg of iron in freshwater for a period of 24 h

Have a mass of not less than 2.4 Kg.

Other requirements are:

  • Not sustain burning or continue melting after being enveloped in a fire for a period of 2 s
  • Be constructed to withstand a drop into the water from the height at which it is stowed, in the lightest seagoing condition or 30m, without impairing either its operating capability or that of its attached components;
  • If it is intended to operate, the quick-release arrangements provided for the self-activated smoke signals and self-igniting lights have a mass of not less than 4 kg.
  • Be fitted with a grab line not less than 9.5mm in diameter and not less than four times the outside diameter of the buoy body in length.

How should the grabline of a lifebuoy be fitted?

By lsa code should be secured at four equidistant points around the circumference of the buoy to form 4 equal loops.

Lifebuoy self-igniting lights

Self-igniting lights required by regulation shall:

  • Be such that they cannot be extinguished by water.
  • Be white and capable of either burning continuously with a luminous intensity of not less than 2 cd in all directions of the upper hemisphere or flashing at a rate of not less than 50 flashes and not more than 70 flashes per minute with at least the corresponding effective luminous intensity.
  • Be provided with a source of energy for at least 2 hours.
  • Be capable of withstanding the drop test required by paragraph

What is the minimum requirement for buoys with self-activated smoke signals?

Self-activating smoke signals required by regulation shall 

  • Emit smoke of a highly visible colour at a uniform rate for at least 15 min when floating in calm water.
  • Not ignite explosively or emit any flame during the entire smoke emission time of the signal
  • Not be swamped in a seaway
  • Continue to emit smoke when fully submerged in water for a period of at least 10 s
  • Be capable of withstanding the drop test required
  • Be provided with a quick-release arrangement that will automaticity release and activate the signal and associated self-igniting light connected to a lifebuoy having a mass of not more than 4 kg.

How many lifebuoys are on a ship?

The number of lifebuoys are specify on the SOLAS, to give you an idea it shuold be :

so distributed as to be readily available on both sides of the ship and as far as practicable on all open decks extending to the ship’s side; at least one shall be placed in the vicinity of the stern; and  stowed as to be capable of being rapidly cast loose and not permanently secured in any way.

 At least one lifebuoy on each side of the ship shall be fitted with a buoyant lifeline complying with the requirements of paragraph 2.1.4 of Part B: Requirements for ships Regulation 7 * Refer to MSC/Circ.808, Recommendation on performance standards for public address systems on passenger ships, including cabling. 

Code equal in length to not less than twice the height at which it is stowed above the waterline in the lightest seagoing condition, or 30 m, whichever is the greater.

What percentage of the lifebuoys should be equipped with self-igniting lights?

Not less than one half of the total number of lifebuoys shall be provided with lifebuoy self-igniting lights complying with the requirements of paragraph 2.1.2 of the Code; not less than two of these shall also be provided with Lifebuoy self-activating smoke signals complying with the requirements of paragraph 2.1.3 of the Code and be capable of quick release from the navigation bridge; lifebuoys with lights and those with lights and smoke signals shall be equally distributed on both sides of the ship and shall not be the lifebuoys provided with lifelines in compliance with the requirements of paragraph 1.2.

1.4 Each Lifebuoy shall be marked in block capitals of the Roman alphabet

with the name and port of registry of the ship on which it is carried.

Can Lifebuoy be painted?

Usually, the only things painted are the name stamped on the Lifebuoy, other parts of the Lifebuoy should not be painted.

IF you notice that the status of a lifebuoy is not good, I recommend changing it directly.