Lifebuoy Requirements As Per SOLAS


There are various lifebuoy requirements as per SOLAS and LSA Code. Here in this article we have compiled all the requirements at one place. So, let’s have a look at them.


    • The inner diameter should not be less than 400 mm and the outer diameter should not be more than 800 mm.

    • Mass of the lifebuoy should not be less than 2.5 Kg.

    • Man Overboard lifebuoy’s mass should not be more than 4 Kg.

    • The diameter of the grab line should not be less than 9.5 mm. It’s length should be at least 4 times the outer diameter of the body and it should be secured at 4 equidistant points.

    • Lifebuoy should be able to support not less than 14.5 KG of Iron in Fresh Water for 24 hours.

    • It should be constructed of inherent buoyant material.

    • Should not sustain burning or continue melting after being totally enveloped in fire for 2 seconds.

    • It should be able to withstand a drop into water from height at which it is stowed above waterline in lightest sea going condition or 30 metres whichever is greater without impairing its operating capability.

    • At least one lifebuoy on each side shall be fitted with buoyant lifeline. The length of the lifeline should not be less than twice the height at which it is stowed above water in lightest sea going condition or 30 metres, whichever is greater.

    • Not less than half of total number of lifebuoys shall be provided with self igniting light.
Read: Lifebuoy Self Igniting Light Requirements


    • Not less than two of these lifebuoys shall also be fitted with self activating smoke signal.

    • At least one lifebuoy should be placed in the vicinity of stern.

    • Lifebuoys should be distributed so as to be readily available on both sides of ship covering all open decks.

    • Lifebuoys shall be stowed in such a way so that they can be rapidly cast loose and should not be permanently secured.

    • Each lifebuoy shall be marked with block capitals of roman alphabet with Name and Port of Registry of Ship.

    • Number of Lifebuoys required depends on length of the vessel as follows:

Cargo Ships


  1. Vessel’s length less than 100 metres = 8 lifebuoys.

  2. Vessel’s length greater than 100 metres = 10 lifebuoys.

  3. Length of Vessel greater than 150 metres = 12 lifebuoys.

  4. Vessel’s length greater than 200 metres = 14 lifebuoys.

Related: List Of Lifeboat Equipment

Passenger Ships


  1. Vessel’s length under 60 metres = 8 lifebuoys.

  2. Vessel’s length more than 60 metres but less than 120 metres = 12 lifebuoys.

  3. Length of vessel greater than 120 metres but less than 180 metres = 18 lifebuoys.

  4. Vessel’s length more than 180 metres but less than 240 metres = 24 lifebuoys.

  5. Vessel’s length greater than 240 metres = 30 lifebuoys.

So, these are various lifebuoy requirements as per SOLAS and LSA Code. Hope you all will find these lifebuoy requirements compiled at one place useful.


Reference: International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS)

Ankit Chauhan

Sailing on High Seas as a Merchant Naval Officer since 2011, believe in sharing the knowledge he has gained over years.

5 thoughts on “Lifebuoy Requirements As Per SOLAS

  • February 18, 2019 at 1:55 pm

    Hello, senk you for your job, this product very useful ana i use it when try to expand my cnowledje.
    I have one more question abot flashlight of lifebouy. How long and what interval it should to work?

  • August 5, 2019 at 6:21 am

    Can you give a light about the mass matter of LIFEBUOY for MOB because you said not more than 4kg but acdng to SOLAS…

    .7 if it is intended to operate the quick release arrangement provided for the self-activated smoke
    signals and self-igniting lights, have a mass of not less than 4 kg

  • August 17, 2019 at 11:35 am

    Please tell me the dia of the life line

    • November 13, 2019 at 12:01 am

      Lifeline should have a diameter of not less than 8 mm

  • November 12, 2019 at 11:53 pm

    Why the drop test height is 30 m? why not more or less?
    Why the lifebuoy should support only 14.5 kg of Iron in FW? Why not more or less than 14.5 kgs?


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