Life-saving appliances


The safety of passengers and crew on ships is of paramount importance while ships are conducting their commercial activities. Therefore, ships must carry appropriate life-saving appliances, including lifeboats, lifebuoys, life-jackets, liferafts and many others to be used by passengers and crew in case of emergency to protect their lives at sea.

The carriage of life-saving appliances are made mandatory as per the SOLAS Convention. The International Life-Saving Appliance (LSA) Code provides more specific technical requirements for the manufacturing, testing, maintenance and record keeping of life-saving appliances. The number, capacity and type of life-saving appliances differ from ship to ship depending on its size, shipping activity and voyage, and the LSA Code stipulates minimum requirements to comply in order to make a ship safe for its passengers and crew.

International requirements contained in the IMO instruments for the life-saving appliances cover personal life-saving appliances such as lifebuoys, lifejackets, immersion suits, anti-exposure suits and thermal protective aids; visual aids, such as parachute flares, hand flares and buoyant smoke signals; survival craft, such as liferafts and lifeboats; rescue boats; launching and embarkation appliances and marine evacuation systems line throwing appliances; and general alarm and public address systems.

For the current work on LSA matters, see the SSE Sub-Committee's meeting summaries


The following publications are available from IMO:

SOLAS Consolidated Edition, 2020 edition

International Life-Saving Appliance (LSA) Code, 2017 edition

Model Course: 1.19 - Proficiency in Personal Survival Techniques, 2019 edition

Model Course: 1.23- Proficiency in Survival Craft and Rescue Boats (other than Fast Rescue Boats), 2000 edition

Model Course:1.24.- Proficiency in Fast Rescue Boats, 2000 edition

Model Course: 3.06- Survey of Life-Saving Appliances and Arrangements, 2004 Edition

Click to learn more about how to obtain IMO publications.