APPROVAL GUIDANCE & INFORMATION:
The standards, tests, and procedures for Coast Guard approval of a SOLAS rescue boat can be found in 46 CFR 160.156. These regulations incorporate by reference the IMO requirements in Chapter V of the IMO LSA Code and the associated recommendations on testing (Resolution MSC.81(70)) Part 1/7.
SOLAS rescue boats approved under 46 CFR 160.156 serve the carriage requirements onboard a U.S. flag vessel engaged in both domestic and international routes. See also 46 CFR 160.056 for rescue boats approved by the local OCMI.
For further information on certain equipment and components for lifeboats, see the links at the bottom of this page. This includes lists for resins, foam, and engines acceptable for installation in USCG approved lifeboats/rescue boats.
The following steps apply to most new rescue boat designs:
- Manufacturer submits an application for approval;
- Pre-approval plan review by Commandant (CG-ENG-4) or an independent lab;
- Construction of the prototype under the supervision of the independent lab;
- Successful prototype testing witnessed by USCG personnel and/or independent lab staff;
- Certificate of approval issued by Commandant (CG-ENG-4).
- Annual production reports submitted by the manufacturer
APPLICATION PACKAGE: To seek approval of a new SOLAS rescue boat from the Coast Guard, please submit a request to firstname.lastname@example.org. Your request should contain the information contained below under “pre-approval plan review”. If you have any questions about what to submit, please contact us at the same email address.
PRE-APPROVAL PLAN REVIEW. Pre-approval review evaluates the design for compliance with 46 CFR 160.156-7. Commandant (C-ENG-4) staff will conduct the review, or a designated independent lab with prior agreement from this office will perform it.
NOTE: For any changes in design or performance to existing designs holding a USCG approval certificate, certificate holders should follow the procedures in 46 CFR 160.156-23. When in doubt if the change is significant to the approval, contact us at email@example.com to discuss.
To request pre-approval review from an Independent Laboratory, please first ensure the lab is authorized to conduct a review on behalf of the Coast Guard. See https://cgmix.uscg.mil/EQLabs by approval series for a list of independent labs designated to conduct pre-approval plan review, and any limitations imposed on their role. If you have questions about this process, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When engaging with an independent lab for plan review, 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 submit the information below prior to construction of the prototype/prior to scheduling prototype testing.
If pre-approval plan review was conducted by an Independent Laboratory, please submit the following to email@example.com:
- A cover letter requesting Coast Guard Type Approval of the equipment;
- The address of any manufacturing location where the rescue boat will be fabricated;
- The general arrangement and top level assembly drawings, along with a master drawing list, bearing the approval stamp of the Independent Laboratory;
- The Operation, Training and Maintenance Manual(s) required by 46 CFR 160.156-9 and 160.156-21*; and
- The design assessment or similar document from the Independent Laboratory that clearly indicates compliance with 46 CFR 160.156-7.
*You may defer submission of the Operations and Maintenance manual at this stage, but must be submitted and reviewed by us to the standards in 160.156-21 prior to issues of the certificate of approval.
PROTOTYPE CONSTRUCTION: Once we have determined the design meets the requirements of 46 CFR 160.156-7, the manufacturer should build a prototype under the supervision of the independent lab per the requirements in 46 CFR 160.156-11. At the conclusion of the prototype construction, the independent lab must submit an inspection report].
PROTOTYPE TESTING. Once the prototype test report is received and acknowledged by us, the manufacturer should schedule prototype testing with the nearest Coast Guard Marine Inspection office, unless other arrangements are made with this office prior to conducting the testing. The preferred forms for prototype test reports of rescue boats are the Revised standardized life-saving appliance evaluation and test report forms contained in IMO MSC.1/Circ.1631. A sample test form in Word format is available at the bottom of this page. A similar format may be used if it captures the same information as that required by 46 CFR 160.156-13.
CERTIFICATE OF APPROVAL: Following satisfactory prototype testing, submit the test reports signed by a USCG Marine Inspector and/or Independent Laboratory surveyor, as required, and one set of any revised drawings of the as built product to us for review. If not already submitted as part of the pre-approval plan review, the manufacturer must submit a copy of the Operations and Maintenance (O&M) manual for us to review. The O&M Manual may contain information for aligned products, e.g., winch and davit or lifeboat and release mechanism, such that they do not need to be in separate manuals.
Commandant (CG-ENG-4) will issue the Certificate of Approval. If no changes were made to the product during prototype construction, or no changes were identified as needed after testing, the manufacturer’s plans submitted during pre-approved plan review will suffice. Expect a set of drawings stamped approved are returned to the manufacturer electronically.
Product is now recognized for manufacture and sale as a USCG approved product, based on the conditions listed on the COA. See “Facts about Certificates of Approval (COAs)” on our FAQs page for more information.
ANNUAL PRODUCTION REPORT. The manufacturer must submit an annual report to Commandant (CG-ENG-4) containing the information in 46 CFR 160.156-15(b). Manufacturers may submit one annual production summary for their entire range of approved products across multiple approval series. The report may be submitted electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org.