Deep into the ocean and sea waters, there are very few options available in case of an accident.
The possibility of another ship coming to help out is pretty less, and this makes it necessary for the ships to carry all sorts of safety appliances, to counter any situation they might face on their way.
The most important of these safety appliances are life jackets. In almost all accidents taking place in the water, the ships sink, and life jackets are the vests that keep the passengers on the surface of the water.
These life jackets are capable of keeping a human afloat for over 24 hours, and this is enough time for rescuers to arrive.
Since life jackets have such importance, the ships have to follow some rules in order to set sail. Because lifejackets are the single most important safety equipment on a ship.
So here are the life jacket norms that ships have to follow.
BASIC REQUIREMENTS OF LIFE JACKETS: There are basic requirements for life jackets that must be fulfilled if they are deemed to be used on a ship.
- An inflatable jacket must have two different compartments built-in so that if one compartment loses buoyancy, the other half fulfills the requirements of a vest.
- Inflatable jackets must be able to inflate automatically as soon as they are immersed in water.
- Jackets must be equipped with a device that allows the user to pump up with a single hand movement.
- Inflatable jackets must not lose more than 5% buoyancy during 24 hours of immersion in water.
- All jackets must have a light intensity of more than 0.75 Candella.
- All jackets must have a light source capable of providing the above-mentioned light intensity for at least 8 hours.
- Lights must flash at a rate of at least 50 flashes per minute and not more than 70 flashes per minute. There should be a manual switch provided for actuation.
- The color of light should be white.
- There should be a mechanism built into the jackets, such that the user can pump up with a single hand movement
REQUIREMENT OF JACKETS ONBOARD: There are different types of ships operating in the ocean. These include passenger ships, ferries, cargo vessels, etc. There are requirements for the minimum number of life jackets that must be available on the ship.
- For passenger ships going into the water for less than 24 hours, there should be life jackets available for children, amounting to at least 2.5% of the total number of passengers on board.
- For passenger ships going into the water for over 24 hours, there must be life jackets available for all the children.
- Life jackets deemed suitable for children must be provided on the ship, amounting to 10% of the total number of passengers on board, or equal to the number of children on board, whichever is more.
- There should be at least one life jacket provided for each crew member, which should be placed in the engine room and the accommodation areas.
- If the life jackets available are not suitable for the passengers weighing up to 140 kgs and chest circumference of 1750mm, there should be other equipment available for the passenger, in order to ensure their safety.
- In cargo ships and vessels, there should be at least one life jacket for every member of the crew.
- Often officers on cargo ships bring their families on their voyages, and hence there must be life jackets for all the passengers.
- Life jackets for these passengers must be placed in the accommodation area and the common areas.
- In case there are children onboard the ship, there should be at least one life jacket for each one of them, and must have a mark clearly indicating that they are suitable for children.
- There should be extra life jackets available on the ship, to cover for the damaged ones.
QUALITY STANDARDS AND PLACEMENTS OF LIFE JACKETS: Given that life, jackets are the most critical safety equipment that can ensure the safety of a passenger, there can never be leniency in the quality standards.
- Life jackets must not support combustion in any manner, and must not melt for at least 2 minutes if surrounded by fire.
- All jackets must be built in such a way that they can be put on within a minute, without any prior training or practice of the same.
- There should be only a single possibility of putting them on so that there is no chance of incorrectly putting them on.
- Allow the user to jump from 4.5 meters into the water, and must not get damaged.
- All jackets must not lose more than 5% of buoyancy when kept in water for 24 hours.
- Must have a whistle, secured with a cord, such that there is no chance of the whistle going lose.
- Life jackets must be capable of bringing an unconscious person inside the water to the surface of it, such that the mouth of the user is above the water surface in no more than 5 seconds.
- Should not hinder the swimming ability of a user.
- On a passenger ship, life jackets must be placed in the accommodation compartments and the common area. There should be a clear indication of where the jackets are, and the compartments must not be locked.
- The jackets suitable for children must have clear indications of the same.
- Life jackets should not hinder the entrance of the user into the lifeboat.