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Volume 696: debated on Wednesday 5 December 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether the design and operation of ships' lifeboat release mechanisms are standardised or whether there are significant variations. [HL565]

The design and operation of ships’ lifeboat release mechanisms are not standardised and there are at present over 70 different designs made by over 25 different manufacturers. The operation of the release mechanism can also vary between different designs both in operation and visual indication of the status of the hook.

To address this situation the United Kingdom is working at the International Maritime Organisation to amend the design criteria to mandate that all new on-load systems have standard functionality so that operating controls are the same. The United Kingdom has also recommended that there is a visual sign to clearly show when both hooks are either disengaged or engaged and reset with a standardised colour code.