035/15/Stat. Free-Fall Lifeboats Release Systems

The Maritime Safety Committee of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), at its ninety (90th) session has adopted resolution MSC.325 (90). The resolution sets out the amendments to the SOLAS Convention that entered into force on 1 January 2014 this new requirement have been added in SOLAS regulation III/20.11.2 for free-fall lifeboats which allows the simulated launching instead of normal free-fall launch during the annual operational test and the 5-year overhaul survey.

The simulated launching in the above amendment is consistent with the current operational testing of free-fall lifeboats: Every three months, with the ship’s full crew secured in the boat’s seats (without a hook release) and then either free-fall launched with the operating crew onboard or lowered into the water with or without operating crew onboard. Every six months, if no free-fall launch takes place during the three month operational test, a simulated launch with the hook released is to be carried out with the operating crew onboard. Simulated launching should be carried out under the supervision of a responsible officer experienced in such procedures and in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions.

It is required that each lifeboat should be operated regularly to ensure they are operational when will be necessary and that crew knows how to operate them. For testing of free-fall lifeboats, a physical launch might not always be appropriate, e.g. due to berthing position or obstacles behind the vessel. The amendment, which entered into force on 1st January 2014, permits operational testing of free-fall lifeboats to be performed either by free-fall launch, or by a simulated launch in accordance with the appendix in MSC.1/Circ.1206/Rev.1.

Please find attached below:

MSC.325 (90)



For any clarification you might need please contact us.


Thank you & Best Regards,

Eng. Dimitrios Nikolaos Spanos
Lead Maritime Auditor / Principal Surveyor
Member of IRCA, IIMS, ELINT, HELMEPA & Nautical Institute

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