A safer approach to water rescue with new ISO guidelines

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Por Clare Naden
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Prevention is better than cure, especially when it comes to accidents at sea. Having survival craft available is a given for any law-abiding seafaring vessel, as is having survival craft that are maintained, repaired and tested by competent personnel. A new series of ISO specifications has just been published to help such personnel meet new international and legal requirements regarding lifeboats and rescue boats.

One hopes never to have the use of a lifeboat or rescue boat, yet they need to be in tip-top shape should the day ever arise. Strict regulations by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) covering lifeboat and rescue boat maintenance have recently taken effect to ensure the personnel responsible for carrying out this task is fully competent to do so.

A new series of ISO publicly available specifications (PAS) has just been published to help those involved in the testing, repair, maintenance and overhaul of lifeboats and rescue boats to comply with the new rules.

ISO/PAS 23678, Service personnel for the maintenance, thorough examination, operational testing, overhaul and repair of lifeboats (including free-fall lifeboats) and rescue boats (including fast rescue boats), launching appliances and release gear, contains detailed guidance on the requirements for certification that is mandatory under the IMO.

Free-fall lifeboat.

Robin Townsend, Chair of the ISO subcommittee that developed the four-part series, commented that ISO/PAS 23678 was developed with the input of the IMO and is recognized as supporting its requirements.

“The series provides a comprehensive basis for a robust and uniform international application of the IMO requirements,” he said. “More importantly, it will help to ensure the safety of those performing these activities, those on board the craft, as well as the lifeboats and rescue boats themselves.”

The four documents in the series cover requirements for training providers, initial training for service personnel, Level 1 technician training and Level 2 in-field competence.

The ISO/PAS 23678 series was developed by technical committee ISO/TC 8, Ships and marine technology, subcommittee SC 1, Maritime safety, whose secretariat is held by ANSI, ISO’s member for the USA. It is available from your national ISO member or through the ISO Store.

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