The 1983 amendments to the SOLAS convention of 1974 requires:
1.AllLifeboats shall be properly constructed and have ample stability in a seaway with sufficient freeboard when fully loaded with their full complement of persons and equipment. All lifeboats shall have rigid hulls and shall be capable of maintaining positive stability when in an upright position in calm water, fully loaded as described, and holed in any one location below the waterline, assuming no loss of buoyancy material and no other damage.
2.Lifeboats should be of sufficient strength to:
(a)enable them to be safely lowered into the water when loaded with their full complement and equipment;
(b)be launched and towed when the ship is making headway at a speed of 5 knots in calm water.
3.Hulls and rigid covers shall be fire retardant or non-combustible.
4.Seating shall be provided on thwarts, benches or fixed chairs fitted as low as practicable in the lifeboat and constructed so as to be capable of supporting the number of persons each weighing 100 kg.
5.Each lifeboat shall be of sufficient strength to withstand a load without residual deflection on removal of that load:
(a)In the case of boats with metal hulls, 1.25 times the total mass of the lifeboat when loaded with its full complement of persons and equipment.
(b)In the case of other boats, twice the total mass of the lifeboat when loaded, as stated. (Mariners should note that this requirement does not apply to rescue boats.)
6.The strength of each lifeboat when fully loaded and fitted with skates or fenders where applicable, should be capable of withstanding a lateral impact against the ship’s side at an impact velocity of at least 3.5 m/s and also a drop into the water from a height of at least 3 m.
7.The vertical distance between the floor surface and the interior of the enclosure or canopy over 50 per cent of the floor area shall be:
(a)Not less than 1.3 m for a lifeboat permitted to accommodate nine persons or less.
(b)Not less than 1.7 m for a lifeboat permitted to accommodate 24 persons or more.
(c)Not less than the distance as determined by linear interpolation between 1.3 and 1.7 m for a lifeboat permitted to accommodate between nine and twenty-four persons.