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e-CFR data is current as of November 27, 2020

Title 46Chapter ISubchapter KPart 117 → Subpart C


Title 46: Shipping
PART 117—LIFESAVING EQUIPMENT AND ARRANGEMENTS


Subpart C—Ring Life Buoys and Life Jackets


Contents
§117.70   Ring life buoys.
§117.71   Life jackets.
§117.72   Personal flotation devices carried in addition to life jackets.
§117.75   Life jacket lights.
§117.78   Stowage of life jackets.

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§117.70   Ring life buoys.

(a) A vessel must have one or more ring life buoys as follows:

(1) A vessel of not more than 7.9 meters (26 feet) in length must carry a minimum of one life buoy of not less than 510 millimeters (20 inches) in diameter;

(2) A vessel of more than 7.9 meters (26 feet) in length, but not more than 19.8 meters (65 feet), must carry a minimum of one life buoy of not less than 610 millimeters (24 inches) in diameter; and

(3) A vessel of more than 19.8 meters (65 feet) in length must carry a minimum of three life buoys of not less than 610 millimeters (24 inches) in diameter.

(b) Each ring life buoy on a vessel must:

(1) Be approved in accordance with §160.050 in subchapter Q of this chapter, or other standard specified by the Commandant, including, but not limited to, approval series 160.150;

(2) Be readily accessible;

(3) Be stowed in a way that it can be rapidly cast loose;

(4) Not be permanently secured in any way; and

(5) If on a vessel on an oceans or coastwise route, be orange in color.

(c) At least one ring life buoy must be fitted with a lifeline. If more than one ring life buoy is carried, at least one must not have a lifeline attached. Each lifeline on a ring life buoy must:

(1) Be buoyant;

(2) Be at least 18.3 meters (60 feet) in length;

(3) Be non-kinking;

(4) Have a diameter of at least 7.9 millimeters (5/16-inch);

(5) Have a breaking strength of at least 5 kilonewtons (1,124 pounds); and

(6) Be of a dark color if synthetic, or of a type certified to be resistant to deterioration from ultraviolet light.

(d) At least one ring buoy must be fitted with a floating waterlight, unless the vessel is limited to daytime operation, in that case no floating waterlight is required.

(1) Each floating waterlight must be approved in accordance with §161.010 in subchapter Q of this chapter, or other standard specified by the Commandant, including, but not limited to, approval series 160.110.

(2) Each ring life buoy with a floating waterlight must have a lanyard of at least 910 millimeters (3 feet) in length, but not more than 1,830 millimeters (6 feet), securing the waterlight around the body of the ring life buoy.

(3) Each floating waterlight installed after March 11, 1997, on a vessel carrying only one ring life buoy, must be attached to a lanyard with a corrosion-resistant clip. The clip must have a strength of at least 22.7 kilograms (50 pounds) and allow the waterlight to be quickly disconnected from the ring life buoy.

[CGD 85-080, 61 FR 911, Jan. 10, 1996, as amended by CGD 97-057, 62 FR 51047, Sept. 30, 1997; CGD 85-080, 62 FR 51350, Sept. 30, 1997; USCG-2014-0688, 79 FR 58283, Sept. 29, 2014; USCG-2015-0867, 80 FR 62469, Oct. 16, 2015]

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§117.71   Life jackets.

(a) An adult life jacket must be provided for each person carried on board a vessel.

(b) In addition, a number of child-size life jackets equal to at least 10% of the number of persons permitted on board must be provided, or such greater number as necessary to provide a life jacket for each person being carried that is smaller than the lower size limit of the adult life jackets provided to meet this section, except that:

(1) Child-size life jackets are not required if the vessel's Certificate of Inspection is endorsed for the carriage of adults only, or

(2) When all “extended size” life preservers (those with a lower size limit for persons of 1,195 millimeters (47 inches) in height or weighing 20.4 kilograms (45 pounds)) are carried on board, a minimum of only 5% additional child size devices need be carried.

(c) Except as allowed by paragraph (d) of this section, each life jacket must be approved in accordance with either §§160.002, 160.005, or 160.055 in subchapter Q of this chapter, or other standard specified by the Commandant, including, but not limited to, approval series 160.155 or 160.176.

(d) Cork and balsa wood life jackets previously approved in accordance with §§106.003, or 160.004 in subchapter Q of this chapter, on board an existing vessel prior to March 11, 1996, may continue to be used to meet the requirements of this section until March 11, 1999, provided the life jackets are maintained in good and serviceable condition.

(e) Each life jacket carried on board the vessel must be marked in accordance with §122.604 of this chapter.

[CGD 85-080, 61 FR 911, Jan. 10, 1996, as amended by CGD 97-057, 62 FR 51047, Sept. 30, 1997; CGD 85-080, 62 FR 51350, Sept. 30, 1997; USCG-2015-0867, 80 FR 62469, Oct. 16, 2015]

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§117.72   Personal flotation devices carried in addition to life jackets.

(a) Equipment carried under this section is not acceptable in lieu of any portion of the required number of approved life jackets and must not be substituted for the approved life jackets required to be worn during drills and emergencies.

(b) Wearable marine buoyant devices that include “ski vests,” “boating vests,” and “fishing vests,” approved in accordance with §160.064 in subchapter Q of this chapter, or other standard specified by the Commandant, may be carried as additional equipment.

(c) Buoyant work vests approved in accordance with §160.053 in subchapter Q of this chapter, or other standard specified by the Commandant, may be carried as additional equipment for use of persons working near or over the water.

(d) Commercial hybrid personal flotation devices (PFD) approved in accordance with §160.077 in subchapter Q of this chapter, or other standard specified by the Commandant, may be carried as additional equipment for use of persons working near or over the water. Each commercial hybrid PFD must be:

(1) Used, stowed, and maintained in accordance with the procedures set out in the manual required for these devices under §160.077-29 in subchapter Q of this chapter and any limitation(s) marked on them; and

(2) Of the same or smaller design and have the same method of operation as each other hybrid PFD carried on board.

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§117.75   Life jacket lights.

(a) Each life jacket carried on a vessel on an oceans, coastwise, or Great Lakes route, must have a life jacket light approved in accordance with Subpart 161.012 of this chapter. Each life jacket light must be securely attached to the front shoulder area of the life jacket.

(b) Notwithstanding the requirements of paragraph (a) of this section, life jacket lights are not required for life jackets on:

(1) Ferries; and

(2) Vessels with Certificates of Inspection endorsed only for routes that do not extend more than 20 miles from a harbor of safe refuge.

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§117.78   Stowage of life jackets.

(a) General. Unless otherwise stated in this section, life jackets must be stored in convenient places distributed throughout accommodation spaces.

(1) Each stowage container for life jackets must not be capable of being locked. If practicable, the container must be designed to allow the life jackets to float free.

(2) Each life jacket kept in a stowage container must be readily available.

(3) Each life jacket stowed overhead must be supported in a manner that allows quick release for distribution.

(4) If life jackets are stowed more than 2,130 millimeters (7 feet) above the deck, a means for quick release must be provided and must be capable of operation by a person standing on the deck.

(5) Each child size life jacket must be stowed in a location that is appropriately marked and separated from adult life jackets so the child size life jackets are not mistaken for adult life jackets.

(b) Additional personal flotation devices. The stowage locations of the personal flotation devices carried in addition to life jackets under §117.72 must be separate from the life jackets, and such as not to be easily confused with that of the life jackets.

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