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17 February 2003, 10:30 am
New Liferaft Standards
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Offshore Special Regulations

ISAF are pleased to confirm the availability on the market of liferafts which comply with ISAF Offshore Special Regulations Appendix A Part 2.
Effective from the 1st January 2003, the new life raft standard was developed following the Sydney-Hobart Race of 1998 when lives were lost from liferafts.

The new liferaft standard is much more detailed and stringent than the pervious ORC specifications (Special Regulations Appendix A Part 1) which the new standard replaces.

The ISAF liferaft standard is similar to the draft standard for an offshore life raft under development by ISO, the International Organization for Standardization which ISO hopes to finalise within the next one or two years.

Alan Green, Chairman of the ISAF Special Regulations sub-committee expects that offshore rafts built to ISO 9650, when it is published in its final form, will be accepted under ISAF Offshore Special Regulations on an equal basis with the ISAF Part 2 liferaft.

Enhancements include material strength specifications, the requirement for exterior surfaces including ballast pockets and bottom to be of a highly visible colour, larger water pockets for stability and a new emergency pack. A boarding ramp is a required feature of the new raft. Another new feature is the stowage arrangements of the essential equipment, which must be openable with cold, wet hands.

Lifeguard, the UK manufacturers which form part of the Survitec Group (includes RFD,Beaufort, DSB Deutsche Schlauchboot, Eurovinil, Inflatable survival Systems,and RFD Australia, NZ, Japan and France) are currently the only company to manufacture a life raft to the new ISAF standard, though other companies are expected to follow. Both ISAF Offshore Special Regulations Appendix A Part 1 (the "ORC" liferaft) and Appendix A Part 2 (the "ISAF" liferaft) are recognised by the UK government authority MCA (the Marine and Coastguard Agency) for vessels of Class XII under the Merchant Shipping Regulations in the MCA exemptions document dated 12th September 2002.

"ORC" liferafts built before January 2003 may continue to be accepted in offshore races for the duration of their service life.

The Lifeguard ISAF Standard liferaft is distributed in the UK and Europe by Ocean Safety Ltd, for more information visit their website at the address below.
Aland Green/ISAF News Editor
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