Some lifejacket and lifejacket stowage requirements are found in International Maritime Organization (IMO) standards that have been incorporated by reference (IBR). This means all applicable parts of the IMO resolutions have the full force of regulation.
Work vests are considered safety equipment not lifesaving equipment and are not authorized, or an appropriate substitution for a lifejacket(s). Work vests must be stowed in locations separately from lifejackets. The stowage location(s) for work vest and the stowage location(s) for approved lifejackets need to be such as not to be easily confused.
The total number of lifejackets should never be lower than the total persons allowed to be carried by the COI plus the number of additional lifejackets required at the watch stations. If the COI allows persons in addition to the crew to be carried, there must also be enough Coast Guard approved lifejackets of a suitable size for the additional persons.
Lifejacket lights that have a non-replaceable power source must be replaced on or before the expiration date of the power source. If the light has a replaceable power source, the power source must be replaced on or before its expiration date.
Lifejacket must be fitted with approved retro-reflective material in accordance with IMO Resolution A.658 (16). Each lifejacket is required to have at least 400 cm2 (62 square inches) of retro-reflective material. If the lifejacket is reversible, an additional 400 cm2 of properly fitted retro-reflective material would be required on the reversible side.
Other than on a vessel operating solely within a limited geographic area (LGA), all vessels with berthing must also carry additional approved lifejacket(s) at each watch station for every watch stander. The term “watch station” used in this section is not defined however; the intent is to have a lifejacket readily accessible at all times for persons standing watch(s) so they will be able to get a lifejacket quickly when needed. The bridge is one example of a watch station. Additional lifejacket(s) would need to be readily available for watch stander(s) on the bridge as well as other manned watch stations. Watch station determinations, and the need for additional lifejackets at those workstations, are at the discretion of the OCMI/TPO based upon the vessel arrangement and the operational area.
Whistle do not have an approval series; however, MSM Vol. II contains guidance on acceptable whistles.
Items to check:
- Sufficient number of lifejackets.
- All lifejackets Coast Guard approved.
- Lifejackets properly stowed and readily accessible.
- If using inflatable lifejackets, all are a similar design and mode of operation.
- Lifejackets properly marked with the vessel name and retro-reflective material.
- Lifejackets fitted with an approved and serviceable lifejacket light.
- Lifejackets fitted with a serviceable whistle.
- Lifejacket in sound (serviceable) material condition – free of defects and/or unauthorized repairs.
46 CFR 141.230 Readiness
46 CFR 141.235 Inspection, testing, and maintenance
46 CFR 141.340 Lifejackets
46 CFR 164.018 Retroreflective Material for Lifesaving Equipment
46 CFR 161.012 or 161.112 Personal Flotation Device Lights. Approval series 161.012 lights can only be used on domestic routes.
Commandant (CG-ENG-4) Lifesaving and Fire Safety Division
Marine Safety Manual Volume II
IMO Resolution A.658 (16) Use and Fitting of Retroreflective material on lifesaving appliances
IMO Resolution A.760 (18) Symbols related to life-saving appliances and arrangements
NVIC 02-63 Guide for Inspection and Repair of lifesaving Equipment
NVIC 01-94 Marking of Life Preservers and PFDs
NVIC 03-10 New SOLAS Requirements for Lifejackets and Immersion Suits Effective 1 JULY 2010