Primary Lifesaving Appliances

The Coast Guard does not test materials or systems for approval but rather specifies the required test methods and minimum performance criteria for approval. Product testing must be performed by a Coast Guard Accepted or Recognized Independent Laboratory.

Please send the Submittal Package and other related information to TypeApproval@uscg.mil.  Please see What to submit when corresponding with ENG-4 regarding equipment approvals/renewal.  For files sizes above 10MB and less than 8GB you may submit correspondence via the ARL Secure Access File Exchange (SAFE) at https://safe.arl.army.mil/

Once the equipment has been approved by this office, it will receive Coast Guard Type Approval and a Certificate of Approval (COA). The COA will be issued for 5 years and will remain valid during that time period if the product meets the testing of the Quality Control Program.

For a complete listing of USCG Type Approved Equipment, please visit the Coast Guard Marine Information Exchange (CGMIX).

Launching Appliances

APPROVAL GUIDANCE & INFORMATION : THIS ITEM IS NO LONGER APPROVED. Equipment approved under this Approval Category is for replacement in kind only. Manufacturers can submit new winch designs under Approval Category 160.115.
APPROVAL GUIDANCE & INFORMATION : THIS ITEM IS NO LONGER APPROVED. Equipment approved under this Approval Category is for replacement in kind only. Manufacturers can submit new davit designs under Approval Category 160.132

APPROVAL GUIDANCE & INFORMATION: The Coast Guard technical requirements for lifesaving winches can be found in 46 CFR 160.115, which references the IMO requirements in Chapter VI of the IMO LSA Code and the associated recommendations on testing (Resolution MSC.81(70)).

Before action is taken on any new or modified winch design, the Coast Guard will perform a pre-approval review to evaluate the design for compliance with all US and international requirements. Alternatively, plans may also be submitted to an accepted Independent Laboratory for pre-approval review, at the option and expense of the manufacturer.  A list of accepted Independent Laboratories for each approval series is available at the Coast Guard Marine Information Exchange (CGMIX) website.

SUBMITTAL PACKAGE: To request pre-approval review from the Coast Guard, please submit the following to the address listed below:
  • A cover letter requesting Coast Guard Type Approval of the equipment;
  • A list of drawings, specifications, manuals, and any other documentation submitted, with each document identified by number, title, revision number, and issue date;
  • A complete bill of materials setting forth the physical properties of the materials used;
  • Stress calculations for all load carrying parts;
  • The operation, maintenance, and training manual(s) required by SOLAS III/35-36;
  • A description of the quality control procedures applicable to the production of the winch; and
  • The address of any manufacturing location where the winch will be produced; and
  • The name of the Independent Laboratory selected for witnessing production testing.

To request pre-approval review from an Independent Laboratory, follow the Independent Laboratory's procedures for design review on behalf of the Coast Guard. Once the Independent Laboratory has completed preliminary design review, you must provide a copy of their assessment to this office to reserve a USCG approval number prior to scheduling prototype testing.  

Once the plans are determined to be satisfactory, the manufacturer will be authorized to build a prototype and conduct the required prototype testing and inspections under the supervision of a Coast Guard Marine Inspector.  If pre-approval review was conducted by an Independent Laboratory, forward a copy of their assessment to the cognizant Officer in Charge, Marine Inspection (OCMI) to schedule prototype testing. 

Following satisfactory prototype testing, submit the test reports (signed by a USCG Marine Inspector and/or Independent Laboratory surveyor, as required) and three sets of as built drawings to this office for review and issuance of Certificate of Approval. For prototype test reports, it is strongly recommended that manufacturers use the standardized format of MSC Circular 980.

If pre-approval plan review was conducted by an Independent Laboratory, please submit the following to the address listed below, in order to complete the application and receive a Certificate of Approval:

  • A cover letter requesting Coast Guard Type Approval of the equipment;
  • The address of any manufacturing location where the winch will be produced.
  • The general arrangement and top level assembly drawings, bearing the approval stamp of the Independent Laboratory;
  • The completed test report forms, signed by a USCG Inspector and/or Independent Laboratory surveyor, as applicable;
  • The Operation, Training and Maintenance Manual(s) required by SOLAS III/35-36; and
  • The final Approval Certificate from the Independent Laboratory.

APPROVAL GUIDANCE & INFORMATION: The Coast Guard technical requirements for lifesaving davits be found in 46 CFR 160.132, which references the IMO requirements in Chapter VI of the IMO LSA Code and the associated recommendations on testing (Resolution MSC.81(70)).

Before action is taken on any new or modified davit design, the Coast Guard will perform a pre-approval review to evaluate the design for compliance with all US and international requirements. Alternatively, plans may also be submitted to an accepted Independent Laboratory for pre-approval review, at the option and expense of the manufacturer.  A list of accepted Independent Laboratories for each approval series is available at the Coast Guard Marine Information Exchange (CGMIX) website.  (This link will take you to another USCG website.)

SUBMITTAL PACKAGE: To request pre-approval review from the Coast Guard, please submit the following to the address listed below:
  • A cover letter requesting Coast Guard Type Approval of the equipment;
  • A list of drawings, specifications, manuals, and any other documentation submitted, with each document identified by number, title, revision number, and issue date;
  • A complete bill of materials setting forth the physical properties of the materials used;
  • Stress calculations for all load carrying parts;
  • The operation, maintenance, and training manual(s) required by SOLAS III/35-36;
  • A description of the quality control procedures applicable to the production of the davit;
  • The address of any manufacturing location where the davit will be produced; and
  • The name of the Independent Laboratory selected for witnessing production testing.

To request pre-approval review from an Independent Laboratory, follow the Independent Laboratory's procedures for design review on behalf of the Coast Guard. Once the Independent Laboratory has completed preliminary design review, you must provide a copy of their assessment to this office to reserve a USCG approval number prior to scheduling prototype testing.  

Once the plans are determined to be satisfactory, the manufacturer will be authorized to build a prototype and conduct the required prototype testing and inspections under the supervision of a Coast Guard Marine Inspector.  If pre-approval review was conducted by an Independent Laboratory, forward a copy of their assessment to the cognizant Officer in Charge, Marine Inspection (OCMI) to schedule prototype testing. 

Following satisfactory prototype testing, submit the test reports (signed by a USCG Marine Inspector and/or Independent Laboratory surveyor, as required) and three sets of as built drawings to this office for review and issuance of Certificate of Approval. For prototype test reports, it is strongly recommended that manufacturers use the standardized format of MSC Circular 980.

If pre-approval plan review was conducted by an Independent Laboratory, please submit the following to the address listed below, in order to complete the application and receive a Certificate of Approval:

  • A cover letter requesting Coast Guard Type Approval of the equipment;
  • The address of any manufacturing location where the davit will be produced.
  • The general arrangement and top level assembly drawings, bearing the approval stamp of the Independent Laboratory;
  • The completed test report forms, signed by a USCG Inspector and/or Independent Laboratory surveyor, as applicable;
  • The Operation, Training and Maintenance Manual(s) required by SOLAS III/35-36; and
  • The final Approval Certificate from the Independent Laboratory.

Survival Craft

APPROVAL GUIDANCE & INFORMATION:  The Coast Guard no longer approves life floats or rigid buoyant apparatus, in accordance with Section 609 of the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-281). For more information, see our letter dated July 1, 2015.

 

APPROVAL GUIDANCE & INFORMATION:  Follow the requirements of the LSA Code and USCG Checklist for RIGID LIFERAFTS located in the below link.  Non-SOLAS (Domestic) Liferafts must meet the same general requirements except they may have a capacity of less than 6 persons.

 

SUBMITTAL PACKAGE:  Submittal should be in accordance with 46 CFR 159.005.  Preapproval review is required.  An independent laboratory must be used for approval testing and production oversight.  You must submit the information required by 159.005-5 in the Preapproval Review Package.  However, a sample is not required.

  • A cover letter requesting Coast Guard Type Approval of the equipment.
  • A test report from the Accepted Independent Laboratory showing compliance of the product or equipment with the applicable standard.
  • Evidence that an acceptable follow-up factory inspection program with the Accepted Independent Laboratory is in place.
  • Required drawings/plans of the equipment. 

APPROVAL GUIDANCE & INFORMATION: See LSA Code and IMO Recommendation on Testing.  Production testing is similar to the testing conducted for inflatable liferafts.

US/EC MUTUAL RECOGNITION AGREEMENT (MRA):  This product can be approved under the US/EC Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) on marine equipment.

SUBMITTAL PACKAGE:  Please submit the follow information in the Submittal Package:

  1. A cover letter requesting Coast Guard Type Approval of the equipment.
  2. A test report from the Accepted Independent Laboratory showing compliance of the equipment with the applicable LSA Code and the IMO Recommendation on Testing.
  3. Evidence that an acceptable follow-up factory inspection program with the Accepted Independent Laboratory is in place.
  4. Instruction manual(s).
  5. Drawings and plans of the equipment in the stowed position and in the deployed position.
Click here to expand contentClick here to collapse content  160.051 INFLATABLE LIFERAFT FOR DOMESTIC SERVICE
APPROVAL GUIDANCE & INFORMATION:  Follow the requirements of 46 CFR 160.051.  The Coast Guard does not test materials or systems for approval but rather specifies the required test methods and minimum performance criteria for approval.  Product testing must be performed by a Coast Guard Accepted Independent Laboratory
APPROVAL GUIDANCE & INFORMATION:  Follow the requirements of 46 CFR 160.151.

SUBMITTAL PACKAGE:  Please submit the follow information in the Submittal Package:

  • A cover letter requesting Coast Guard preapproval of the equipment.
  • Cognizant OCMI notification of where the approval tests will take place.
  • A test report from the Accepted Independent Laboratory showing compliance of the product or equipment with the applicable standard.
  • Evidence that an acceptable follow-up factory inspection program with the Accepted Independent Laboratory is in place.
  • Required drawings/plans of the equipment.
APPROVAL GUIDANCE & INFORMATION:  The Coast Guard no longer approves life floats or rigid buoyant apparatus, in accordance with Section 609 of the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-281). For more information, see our letter dated July 1, 2015.
APPROVAL GUIDANCE & INFORMATION:  This item is no longer approved.
APPROVAL GUIDANCE & INFORMATION:  Approval under 46 CFR 160.035 is only for lifeboats installed on domestic commercial vessels that are for replacement in kind.  Lifeboats approved under this category cannot be placed onboard a commercial vessel engaged in foreign voyages or for new lifeboat installations.
APPROVAL GUIDANCE & INFORMATION:  This item is no longer approved.

APPROVAL GUIDANCE & INFORMATION:  Evacuation equipment approved under 160.075 are for vessels with freeboards to the embarkation deck of 3 meters or less that are engaged in domestic voyages.  The systems approved under this category are similar in many respects to the SOLAS-compliant systems. However, because they are optional, the USCG does not require multiple compartmentation in the inflatable chambers, and they are not required to be subjected to the heavy weather sea trial and most severe structural tests which apply to the SOLAS systems.  Currently approvals are based upon the following test program:

  1. Cold inflation test per resolution A.689(17) paragraph 5.17.5
  2. Hot inflation test per resolution A.689(17) paragraph 5.17.6
  3. Three overpressure test per resolution A.689(17) paragraph 5.17.7
  4. A deployment test from the maximum allowable freeboard to demonstrate the satisfactory operation of the system and that it can be deployed by one person
  5. Timed evacuation test to demonstrate that the slide does not adversely affect compliance with the 30 minute evacuation time requirement

SUBMITTAL PACKAGE:  Please submit the following information in the Submittal Package:

  1. A cover letter requesting Coast Guard Type Approval of the equipment.
  2. A test report from the Accepted Independent Laboratory showing that the evacuation slide complies with the above tests.
  3. Evidence that an acceptable follow-up factory inspection program with the Accepted Independent Laboratory is in place.
  4. Instruction manual(s).
  5. Drawings and plans of the equipment in the stowed position and in the deployed position.
APPROVAL GUIDANCE & INFORMATION:  Follow the requirements of the LSA Code and USCG Checklist for RIGID LIFERAFTS located in the below link.  The Coast Guard does not test materials or systems for approval but rather specifies the required test methods and minimum performance criteria for approval.  Product testing must be performed on by a Coast Guard Accepted Independent Laboratory.
 
US/EC MUTUAL RECOGNITION AGREEMENT (MRA):  This product can be approved under the US/EC Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) on marine equipment.  For information on the MRA please see the below link.
 
LINKS

US/EC Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA)
/Portals/9/DCO Documents/5p/5PS/Design and Engineering Standards/Life Saving and Fire Safety/Docs/Rigid_Liferaft_Checklist.pdf?ver=2017-10-20-144036-833
APPROVAL GUIDANCE & INFORMATION:  The requirements for USCG approved Lifeboats are contained in 46 CFR 160.135. Lifeboats approved under 46 CFR 160.135 can be placed onboard a commercial vessel engaged in both domestic and foreign voyages. Please see the Lifeboat CHECKLIST for information on the approval requirements and process.

LINKS:
REQUIRED EQUIPMENT
FIRE-RETARDANT RESINS GUIDE
APPROVED LIFEBOAT ENGINES

SUBMITTAL PACKAGE:  Please submit the follow information in the Submittal Package:
  • A cover letter requesting Coast Guard Type Approval of the equipment.
  • Information as required by the above Lifeboat Checklist.

Rescue Boats

APPROVAL CATEGORY:  160.156

APPROVAL GUIDANCE & INFORMATION:  The requirements for USCG approved SOLAS rescue boats and fast rescue boats* are contained in 46 CFR 160.156. USCG approved SOLAS rescue boats and fast rescue boats under approval series 160.156 are primarily evaluated to the standards of the International Maritime Organization's (IMO) Resolution MSC.48(66), amended, entitled "International Life-Saving Appliance (LSA) Code", as referenced by the Safety at Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS), Chapter III. Prototype test procedures are found in IMO Resolution MSC.81(70), amended, entitled "Revised Recommendation on Testing of Life-Saving Appliances". These IMO Resolutions, along with their amendments through 2010, are incorporated by reference in 46 CFR 160.156-7, and are published by the IMO in a handbook entitled, "Life-Saving Appliances, 2010 Edition", available for purchase from IMO publication distributors world-wide. 

The Coast Guard also maintains standards for domestic (non-SOLAS) rescue boats under 46 CFR 160.056, which are allowed to be carried under certain conditions on vessels with lakes, bays, & sounds, or rivers routes. Please see 46 CFR Part 199, Subpart E.

*SOLAS fast rescue boats are only required on Roll-On/Roll-Off (Ro-Ro) ferries, carrying passengers and their vehicles on international routes. A USCG approved SOLAS fast rescue boat may be installed as a conventional SOLAS rescue boat on vessels other than Ro-Ro passenger ferries when not installed with a fast rescue boat launching appliance.


LINKS: 
Fire Retardant Resin
Required Equipment
Accepted Engine List
Rescue Boat Checklist

SUBMITTAL PACKAGE:  Please submit the follow information in the Submittal Package:

 

 

 

 

 

  • A cover letter requesting Coast Guard Type Approval of the equipment.
  • Information as required by 46 CFR 160.156-9.

 

 

 

Releasing Mechanisms (Hooks)

APPROVAL GUIDANCE & INFORMATION: The requirements for release mechanisms* for SOLAS lifeboats and rescue boats are contained in Title 46 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Subpart 160.133. USCG approved release mechanisms under approval series 160.133 are primarily evaluated to the standards of the International Maritime Organization's (IMO) Resolution MSC.48(66), amended, entitled "International Life-Saving Appliance (LSA) Code", as referenced by the Safety at Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS), Chapter III. See the LSA Code Chapter IV/4.4.7.6 and 46 CFR 160.133-7 for the specific design and performance criteria.

Prototype test procedures are found in IMO Resolution MSC.81(70), amended, entitled "Revised Recommendation on Testing of Life-Saving Appliances". These IMO Resolutions, along with their amendments through 2010, are incorporated by reference in 46 CFR 160.133-7, and are published by the IMO in a handbook entitled, "Life-Saving Appliances, 2010 Edition", available for purchase from IMO publication distributors world-wide. See MSC.81(70), Part 1/6.9 “Release mechanism test” and 46 CFR 160.133-13 for the specific testing requirements.

Whether a new or modified design, before a manufacturer constructs, or even installs, a release mechanism, the Coast Guard will perform a pre-approval review to evaluate the design for compliance with all US and international requirements. Alternatively, plans may also be submitted to an accepted Independent Laboratory for pre-approval review, at the option and expense of the manufacturer.  A list of accepted Independent Laboratories for each approval series is available at the Coast Guard Marine Information Exchange (CGMIX) website.  (This link will take you to another USCG website.)

* Release mechanisms are also informally called “release hooks” which only refer to one component of the releasing system. The entire release mechanism system typically comprises a release handle at the helmsman station, hydrostatic interlock, cabling to/from the release handle, and the release hook(s) themselves.

SUBMITTAL PACKAGE: To request pre-approval review from the Coast Guard, please submit the following to the address listed below (see 46 CFR 160.133-9 for a complete description):
  • A cover letter requesting Coast Guard Type Approval of the equipment;
  • A list of drawings, specifications, manuals, and any other documentation submitted, with each document identified by number, title, revision number, and issue date;
  • Three copies of the general arrangement and assembly drawings, as well as any other detail drawing(s) necessary to show that the release mechanism complies with the applicable requirements;
  • A complete bill of materials setting forth the physical properties of the materials used;
  • Stress calculations for all load carrying parts;
  • The operation, maintenance, and training manual(s) required by SOLAS III/35-36;
  • A description of the quality control procedures applicable to the production of the release mechanism; and
  • The address of any manufacturing location where the release mechanism will be produced; and
  • The name of the Independent Laboratory selected for witnessing production testing.

To request pre-approval review from an Independent Laboratory, follow the Independent Laboratory's procedures for design review on behalf of the Coast Guard. Once the Independent Laboratory has completed preliminary design review, you must provide a copy of their assessment to this office to reserve a USCG approval number prior to scheduling prototype testing.  

Once the plans are determined to be satisfactory, the manufacturer will be authorized to build a prototype and conduct the required prototype testing and inspections under the supervision of a Coast Guard Marine Inspector.  If pre-approval review was conducted by an Independent Laboratory, forward a copy of their assessment to the cognizant Officer in Charge, Marine Inspection (OCMI) to schedule prototype testing. 

Following satisfactory prototype testing, submit the test reports (signed by a USCG Marine Inspector and/or Independent Laboratory surveyor, as required) and three sets of as built drawings to this office for review and issuance of Certificate of Approval. For prototype test reports, it is strongly recommended that manufacturers use the standardized format of MSC Circular 980.

If pre-approval plan review was conducted by an Independent Laboratory, please submit the following to the address listed below, in order to complete the application and receive a Certificate of Approval:

  • A cover letter requesting Coast Guard Type Approval of the equipment;
  • The address of any manufacturing location where the release mechanism will be produced.
  • The general arrangement and top level assembly drawings, bearing the approval stamp of the Independent Laboratory;
  • The completed test report forms, signed by a USCG Inspector and/or Independent Laboratory surveyor, as applicable;
  • The Operation, Training and Maintenance Manual(s) required by SOLAS III/35-36; and
  • The final Approval Certificate from the Independent Laboratory.
APPROVAL GUIDANCE & INFORMATION: The requirements for davit-launched liferaft automatic release hooks are contained in Title 46 U.S. Code of Federal Regualtions (CFR), Subpart 160.170. Contrary to the name, davit-launched liferaft automatic release hooks may also be used to launch single fall lifeboats and rescue boats. See 46 CFR 199.160(d)(2).

As indicated in the matrix above, davit-launched liferaft automatic release hooks may be approved under the US/EC Mutual Recognition Agreement, but must still have a 160.170 approval number issued by the Notified Body and marked with that number. Please see NVIC 08-04 Change 1 for more details.

USCG approved davit-launched liferaft automatic release hooks under approval series 160.170 are primarily evaluated to the standards of the International Maritime Organization's (IMO) Resolution MSC.48(66), amended, entitled "International Life-Saving Appliance (LSA) Code", as referenced by the Safety at Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS), Chapter III. See the LSA Code Chapter VI/6.1.5 and 46 CFR 160.170-7 for the specific design and performance criteria.

Prototype test procedures are found in IMO Resolution MSC.81(70), amended, entitled "Revised Recommendation on Testing of Life-Saving Appliances". These IMO Resolutions, along with their amendments through 2010, are incorporated by reference in 46 CFR 160.170-7, and are published by the IMO in a handbook entitled, "Life-Saving Appliances, 2010 Edition", available for purchase from IMO publication distributors world-wide. See MSC.81(70), Part 1/8.2 and 46 CFR 160.170-13 for the specific testing requirements.

Whether a new or modified design, before a manufacturer constructs, or even installs, a liferaft automatic release hook, the Coast Guard will perform a pre-approval review to evaluate the design for compliance with all US and international requirements. Alternatively, plans may also be submitted to an accepted Independent Laboratory for pre-approval review, at the option and expense of the manufacturer.  A list of accepted Independent Laboratories for each approval series is available at the Coast Guard Marine Information Exchange (CGMIX) website.  (This link will take you to another USCG website.)

SUBMITTAL PACKAGE: To request pre-approval review from the Coast Guard, please see the list of required information contained in 46 CFR 160.170-9. Please submit a cover letter requesting Coast Guard Type Approval of the liferaft automatic release hook with your pre-approval application package to the address listed below.

To request pre-approval review from an Independent Laboratory, follow the Independent Laboratory's procedures for design review on behalf of the Coast Guard. Once the Independent Laboratory has completed preliminary design review, you must provide a copy of their assessment to this office to reserve a USCG approval number prior to scheduling prototype testing.  

Once the plans are determined to be satisfactory, the manufacturer will be authorized to build a prototype and conduct the required prototype testing and inspections under the supervision of a Coast Guard Marine Inspector.  If pre-approval review was conducted by an Independent Laboratory, forward a copy of their assessment to the cognizant Officer in Charge, Marine Inspection (OCMI) to schedule prototype testing. 

Following satisfactory prototype testing, submit the test reports (signed by a USCG Marine Inspector and/or Independent Laboratory surveyor, as required) and three sets of as built drawings to this office for review and issuance of Certificate of Approval. For prototype test reports, it is strongly recommended that manufacturers use the standardized format of MSC Circular 980.

If pre-approval plan review was conducted by an Independent Laboratory, please submit the following to the address listed below, in order to complete the application and receive a Certificate of Approval:

  • A cover letter requesting Coast Guard Type Approval of the equipment;
  • The address of any manufacturing location where the equipment will be produced.
  • The general arrangement and top level assembly drawings, bearing the approval stamp of the Independent Laboratory;
  • The completed test report forms, signed by a USCG Inspector and/or Independent Laboratory surveyor, as applicable;
  • The Operation, Training and Maintenance Manual(s) required by SOLAS III/35-36; and
  • The final Approval Certificate from the Independent Laboratory.

BUOYANCY MATERIAL ACCEPTANCE GUIDANCE

The Coast Guard uses the IMO requirements for acceptance of buoyancy material for SOLAS lifeboats and rescue boats.   These same materials may be used in some ring buoys, life floats, buoyant apparatus, and the like.  (For some domestic applications, materials meeting the 46 CFR 160.035 Mil specifications may also be used.)

For acceptance of any material we must have a full detailed test report, not just an approval certificate or other certification.  We cannot proceed without the complete report.  An independent laboratory, or a ship classification society does NOT need to witness the tests.

The IMO tests are in section 6.2 of the IMO Recommendation on Testing (A.689)

We encourage you to use the IMO Test Report Forms for Lifeboat Buoyant Materials – 4.3.3 LIFEBOAT BUOYANT MATERIAL, EVALUATION AND TEST REPORT