(a)General. Designs of ring life buoys are approved only by the Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard. Manufacturers seeking approval of a ring life buoy design shall follow the procedures of this section and subpart 159.005 of this chapter.
(b) Each application for approval of a ring life buoy must contain the information specified in § 159.005-5 of this chapter. The application and, except as provided in paragraphs (c) and (d)(2) of this section, a prototype ring life buoy must be submitted to the Commandant for preapproval review. If a similar design has already been approved, the Commandant may waive the preapproval review under §§ 159.005-5 and 159.005-7 of this chapter.
(c) If the ring life buoy is of a standard design, the application:
(1) Must include the following: A statement of any exceptions to the standard plans and specifications, including drawings, product description, construction specifications, and/or bill of materials.
(d) If the ring life buoy is of a non-standard design, the application must include the following:
(1) Plans and specifications containing the information required by § 159.005-12 of this chapter, including drawings, product description, construction specifications, and bill of materials.
(2) The information specified in § 159.005-5(a)(2) (i) through (iii) of this chapter, except that, if preapproval review has been waived, the manufacturer is not required to send a prototype ring life buoy sample to the Commandant.
(3) Performance testing results of the design performed by an independent laboratory that has a Memorandum of Understanding with the Coast Guard under § 159.010-7 of this subchapter covering the in-water testing of personal flotation devices showing equivalence to the standard design's performance in all material respects.
(4) Buoyancy and other relevant tolerances to be complied with during production.
(5) The text of any optional marking to be included on the ring life buoy in addition to the markings required by the applicable approval subpart.
(6) For any conditionally approved ring life buoy, the intended approval condition(s).
(e) The description of quality control procedures required by § 159.005-9 of this chapter may be omitted if the manufacturer's planned quality control procedures meet the requirements of those accepted by the Commandant for the independent laboratory performing production inspections and tests.
(f)Waiver of tests. A manufacturer may request that the Commandant waive any test prescribed for approval under the applicable subpart. To request a waiver, the manufacturer must submit to the Commandant and the laboratory described in § 159.010, one of the following:
(1) Satisfactory test results on a ring life buoy of sufficiently similar design as determined by the Commandant.
(2) Engineering analysis demonstrating that the test for which a waiver is requested is not appropriate for the particular design submitted for approval or that, because of its design or construction, it is not possible for the ring life buoy to fail that test.