Human Life is given the highest priority during a voyage on water. Because several factors affect the journey, and chances of a mishap are usually high.
And in case of an accident, a very high casualty is very likely. But you need to take several safety measures for a safe journey while you’re sailing on a boat.
Usually, there are two types of safety measures taken.
- Active measures
- Passive measures
Active safety features are designed to avoid the ship from sinking. These include Ship Security Reporting System, Long Range Tracking and Identification system, Automated Safety System, etc.
Passive Safety features are designed to reduce the number of casualties after there is an accident. Most important of these are the life jackets, as they help in keeping the passengers afloat until they reach a lifeboat or a rescuer reaches them.
Hence every boat going into the water has to follow the basic requirements as prescribed, based on factors like the duration of the journey, the number of passengers on board, including children and the crew members.
The route being taken by the boat. Life jackets are the immediate course of action being employed, in case of an accident.
There are two types of life jackets:
- Inflatable: These life jackets inflate as soon as they are fully immersed in water. They do not need to be operated manually and are the preferred option on the boats because they do not require large space to be stored.
- Non-inflatable: These life jackets are fitted with buoyant materials, making them ready for use. They do not need to be inflated. They do not lose their buoyancy for a considerably longer duration than inflatable jackets.
There are specific guidelines on the number of lifeboats required on the boat before it sets sail. These guidelines are different for passenger boats and cargo ships.
- For passenger ships taking the journey less than 24 hours in duration, the number of life jackets provided for children must be equal to at least 2.5% of the total number of passengers on board.
- For passenger ships taking flights for more than 24 hours, the number of life jackets for children must be equal to or more than the number of children on board.
- Life jackets suitable for children must be provided. The amount of which must be equal to 10% of the total number of passengers on board, or equal to the number of children onboard, whichever is more. There should be a symbol of a child on the life jackets made explicitly for children.
- There should be life jackets available for the crew members, the amount of which must be equal to the number of crew members on the ship at the time of sail. These jackets must be laid in the engine room, or at any other watchtower on the ship.
- In case the life jackets on the boat are not suitable for the passengers weighing more than 140 kgs and chest circumference of 1750mm, it should be ensured that there are enough appropriate safety devices on board, to ensure their safety.
- Life jackets must be provided in each and every passenger accommodation, as well as in the common areas. A separate life jacket cabinet must be placed for every 20 passengers in accommodation. The number of life jackets must be clearly described in the cabinet.
- Life jackets must be placed in places that are easily accessible to children as well as adults. Due to special conditions in the architecture of the ship, where life jackets cannot be placed in accommodations, there should be extra life jackets placed in the common area or any other area accessible to passengers.
- All the compartments containing life jackets, or any other safety equipment must not be locked and should have clear indications on how it can be opened.
- There should be life jackets for each crew member on board.
- In case families are on board, there should be at least one life jacket for each member.
- Life jackets for crew members must be placed in the engine room, and in the accommodation area of the crew members.
- Life jackets for the families must be placed in the accommodation area, and the jacket compartment must be easily accessible.
- If there are children onboard the ship, there should be at least 1 life jackets available for each one of them. The jackets for children must have the children mark on them.
- Life jackets must be made such that they do not hinder the movement of the passenger during swimming.
- Inflatable jackets should have two different compartments so that if one compartment loses its buoyancy, the other compartment makes it usable as a vest.
- There should be life jackets in excess, to cover for the damaged ones.
- Jackets which do not lose more than 5% of buoyancy after 24 hours of immersion in water, should only be on board the ship.
- There should be separate cabinets for life jackets placed in the common areas, and the number of jackets available in each compartment must be clearly indicated.
- It should be ensured that the life jacket, in any case, does not support combustion.
- Life Jackets should be made in such a way that when an adult jumps from 4.5 meters, the jacket does not get damaged and can bring the adult back to the surface of the water within 5 seconds.
Apart from the above, there should be life jackets placed on the lifeboats and life rafts whichever are available on the ship. Life jackets must be capable of keeping the mouth of the user above the water surface.
Lifeboats and rescuers look for life jackets during their rescue operations. Therefore the life jackets must have a light intensity of 0.75 candelas.
This is your guide to the number of lifeboats that should be placed on the boat.