SOLAS: Guide on life saving appliances onboard ship

A job at sea is surrounded by lots of risk and hardship. But to help limit the risks, Safety of life at sea (SOLAS) provides guidance on safe operation, technologies, training, etc.

On this article, I will like to discuss the important things seafarers need to know about life-saving appliances onboard ship.

What are the categories of life-saving appliances onboard ship?

These are categorized into four major groups:

1) self-saving appliances

This is appliances applicable to self-use such as; life jackets, immersion suit, and other personal protective equipment (PPE). During an emergency (fire out of control, ship collision, ship grounding, etc) resulting to abound ship, all crew and/or passengers are expected to muster with these pieces of equipment at the muster station after captain verbally announced to abandon the ship.

Also, see Video: 3rd officer onboard daily routine.

The life jacket should consist of working lights ( which activate on contact with water), reflectors, floatable with belt attached and whistle. While the immission suit should be capable of keeping the body warm, floatable, waterproof and light (which also activate on water contact)

2) craft appliances

These are portable floating equipment such as; lifeboat, rescue boat, and liferaft. They help the crews and passengers to evacuate the ship and maintain floating until the rescue team arrives.

The lifeboat is equipped with an engine ( with a fuel of up to 30L, tools), compass, batteries, ration miles, medical, paddle ( to propel without engine), and portable manual pump ( to pump out water from inside).

Related post: 25 Navigation exam question and answers you may like to know.

The lifeboat maybe capable to accommodate 10 and above people base on ship capacity and lifeboat designed capacity.

Also, the liferaft is a portable floating craft, which is design to accommodate upon activation. No engine attached, but equipped with ration miles, medicine, paddle, signal devices, etc. See article regarding liferaft here.

3) communication appliances

While boarding the lifeboat, the second mate, 3rd mate or chief mate most take with him a portable VHF radio with antenna. This will enable the crew to communicate with any nearby ship, boat or shore for rescue.

4) signal appliances

On each of the above crafts, there is signal equipment provided for calling the attention of any nearby ship or passing aircraft.

Lifeboat launching

There are methods of launching lifeboat:

1) Safe release: in case of launching the boat right from inside;

• You need to make fast the toggle painter on a strong point on the ship (forward and aft )

• Remove forward and aft gripes and secure tricing pendant

• Take out the harbor safety pin

• Move in the boat, after check all ship side is clear.

• Put on the drain plugs

• Pull bowsing tackle to bring it alongside the embarkation deck.

Note: only two or one people are allowed to board the boat right while on the boat deck. Other crews are to boat the boat through embarkation ladder.

2) Releasing the deadman’s brake: All of the above safety steps need to follow, the only difference is, one man has to standby to release by lifting the deadman handle. This may happen in case the inside cable is not connected or damage.

Work safe and return Safe. Hopefully, this article will be useful for someone out there.

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