LR: Statutory Alert

Lloyds Register
Monday, December 12, 2011

Carrying capacity of liferafts – revision to LSA Code Chapter IV (Applicabilty: Shipbuilders, owners and managers).

Amendments to Chapter IV of the International Life-Saving Appliance (LSA) Code, introduce an increased assumed mass of occupants for the approval of liferafts*.

From January 1, 2012, all inflatable and rigid liferafts should be constructed on the basis of an average person mass of occupants of 82.5kg (increased from 75kg). Lloyd’s Register’s interpretation of the impact of this change on ships is as follows:


  • All ships constructed (having their keel laid) on or after January 1, 2012, should carry liferafts approved on the basis of an average person mass of occupants of 82.5kg. The safe working load (SWL) of any davits used for launching these liferafts should be adequate for their fully laden weight.
  • All ships constructed before January 1, 2012, may continue to use liferafts approved on the basis of an average person mass of occupants of 75kg. It is acceptable for “75kg liferafts” on these vessels to be exchanged at service intervals with “82.5kg liferafts” and vice versa at a subsequent service. It is also acceptable for these vessels to have both 75kg and 82.5kg liferafts on board at the same time.
  • On passenger ships constructed before January 1, 2012, Circular MSC.1/Circ.1347 permits the determination of the required SWL of a liferaft launching appliance to continue to be based on an assumed occupant mass of 75kg, even though the liferaft has been tested to a higher weight standard. The installation and periodic “lowering test" should also continue to be based on an assumed occupant mass of 75kg.
  • On cargo ships constructed before January 1, 2012, any liferaft launching appliance should be based on the occupant number and mass stated on the liferafts it will handle (i.e. 75kg or 82.5kg, as applicable). If the SWL of the launching appliance will be exceeded through the liferaft having been approved to a higher weight standard then it will be necessary for the davit to be reapproved, modified or replaced to achieve the required SWL, or the flag administration should be contacted for guidance.

Classification societies will conduct inspections to verify that this requirement is complied with, as part of Cargo Ship Safety Equipment and Passenger Ship Safety surveys.


*The amendments were adopted at the 87th session of the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC 87) through Resolution MSC.293(87).

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