British Marine is currently consulting on the authorisation of non-SOLAS life-saving appliances (LSA), in order to create a new Marine Guidance Note (MGN 553) to replace Marine Information Note (MIN) 424.
In a statement, British Marine said, “The MGN provides guidance on the Maritime and Coastguard (MCA) policy with regards to the acceptable standards of non-SOLAS inflatable life-saving appliances (LSA) for use on certain registered commercial vessels.
“It also sets the requirements for appliances which should be regularly serviced at a service station, in accordance with instructions from the original manufacturer.”
Edward Tuite, technical executive at British Marine explained, “Over the past 10 years, unfortunately there have been too many injuries and deaths from use of the [LSA] gear, which has led to the IMO [International Maritime Organization] investigating and issuing guidance on the appliances, both on the use of and the servicing of the equipment.”
Tuite points out, in fact, that the aforementioned injuries and deaths often take place during testing drills on larger vessels.
He believes that the MGN should therefore “benefit all sectors, including British-flagged superyachts that require the equipment”, improving clarity on exactly which companies can service essential safety items, and reducing unauthorised servicing. This should in turn not only improve safety on board, but in easing the management of the servicing of safety equipment.
The consultation is still currently underway until Friday 10th June 2016, and final publication is expected from Autumn 2016 onwards.