What is SOLAS?

Things you need to know about cruise ship safety before you leave port

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SOLAS and the IMO

The Safety of Life at Seas, or SOLAS, Convention in its successive forms is generally regarded as the most important of all international treaties concerning the safety of merchant ships. The first version was adopted in 1914, in response to the Titanic disaster, the second in 1929, the third in 1948, and the fourth in 1960. The 1974 convention established the tacit acceptance procedure meaning that revisions start a specified date unless enough objections are received before that date.

SOLAS establishes procedures for the construction, design, and operation of ships regarding their safety. Flag states are responsible for ensuring their ships meet SOLAS requirements. The SOLAS standards are outlined in 12 chapter agreements regarding crafts of various sizes and types.

The Convention has been updated and amended on numerous occasions. The Convention in force today is sometimes referred to as SOLAS, 1974, as amended. More about SOLAS and the International Maritime Organization (IMO).


2012 Amendments related to Muster Drill Requirements

The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea ("SOLAS"), Chapter III, Regulations 8 and 19, require musters and emergency instructions to be provided for passengers.


CLIA Policies

In addition to the legal requirements, CLIA oceangoing members have adopted a policy that musters and emergency instructions are to include the following common elements:

When and how to don a lifejacket

• Description of emergency signals and appropriate responses in the event of an emergency

• Location of lifejackets

• Where to muster when the emergency signal is sounded

• Method of accounting for passenger attendance at musters both for training and in the event of an actual emergency

• How information will be provided in an emergency

• What to expect if the Master orders an evacuation of the ship

• What additional safety information is available

• Instructions on whether passengers should return to cabins prior to mustering, including specifics regarding medications, clothing, and lifejackets

• Description of key safety systems and features

• Emergency routing systems and recognizing emergency exits

• Who to seek out for additional information


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Related Links:

Weather Updates
Travel Warnings
Safety Overview
Cruise Ship Fires
Sunken Passenger Ships
Sudden Lists/Rogue Waves
Unclassified Incidents
Incidents 2012
Incidents 2013
Incidents 2014
Incidents 2015

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