46 CFR 160.035-11 - Inspection and testing of lifeboats.

§ 160.035-11 Inspection and testing of lifeboats.
(a) General. Coast Guard marine inspectors shall be admitted to any place in the builder's factory where work is done on these lifeboats or component materials or parts. Lifeboats shall be inspected during the course of construction to determine that the arrangements and materials entering into the construction are in accordance with approved plans, and to insure that the workmanship is of good quality. Samples of materials entering into construction may be taken by the marine inspectors for such tests as may be deemed necessary at any time there is any question as to suitability or adequacy of any material or arrangement.
(b) Preapproval tests. Before approval is granted to any design of lifeboat, the following tests shall be made by a marine inspector:
(1) Strength test. The light lifeboat shall be suspended by shackles at the bow and stern, or by means of the releasing gear, and the length, beam, and depth shall be measured. Weights shall then be added to equal the weight of the equipment, food, water, etc., and persons for which the boat is to be approved, and the length, beam, and depth measured. Additional weight shall then be added so that the suspended load is 25 percent greater than the weight of the fully equipped and loaded lifeboat and the measurements repeated. All weights shall then be removed and the measurements rechecked. There shall be no appreciable set as a result of this test.
(2) Flooding test. Lifeboats shall be flooded while open to the sea to determine the amount of buoyancy necessary to float the complete boat including releasing gear but with no equipment, provision lockers, water tanks, or fuel tanks aboard. If provision lockers, water tanks, and fuel tanks cannot be removed, they should be flooded or filled to the final waterline. Lifeboats fitted with watertight stowage compartments to accommodate individual drinking water containers shall have these individual containers aboard and placed in the stowage compartments which shall be sealed watertight during the flooding test. Ballast of equivalent weight and density should be substituted for the motor, shaft, propeller, radio battery, searchlight, etc., if they are to be installed.
(i) Boats with independent buoyancy tanks or buoyancy units. The estimated amount of buoyancy to just float the boat in this condition should be fitted symmetrically aboard the lifeboat, and then the boat flooded. If the tops of the gunwales at their lowest point do not clear the surface of the water, the buoyancy shall be increased as necessary. An additional volume of buoyancy, or buoyancy units, equal to at least one-tenth the cubic capacity of the lifeboat shall be provided.
(ii) Boats with built-in buoyancy compartments. When flood testing lifeboats with built-in buoyancy compartments weights shall be placed in the bottom of the lifeboat to counteract the buoyancy provided for the persons to be carried. The amount of weight required per person carried shall be as follows:
Materials Weight per person (pounds)
Iron or steel 72
Lead 69
Concrete 110
Other impervious material may be used if more convenient. The weight per person required is determined from the formula
W = 63d ÷ d − 63
where d is the density of material in pounds per cubic foot (Sandbags should not be used for this purpose inasmuch as their weight under water is not readily predictable.) If the lifeboat weighted as above does not float with the gunwale at the lowest point just clear of the surface of the water, unit air tanks should be slipped beneath the thwarts until the gunwales do clear the surface of the water. The additional air tankage required shall be incorporated in the design of the lifeboat.
(3) Seating capacity test. The lifeboat shall be fully loaded with equipment, and in this condition the number of persons for which the lifeboat is to be approved shall be seated, in accordance with the seating plan required in § 160.035-14(a). All persons shall wear an approved life preserver and it shall be demonstrated by actual test that there is sufficient room to row the boat without interference.
(4) Freeboard test. Freeboards shall be measured to the low point of the sheer with the lifeboat in light condition with neither equipment nor persons aboard, and in the loaded condition with full equipment and persons aboard.
(5) Stability test. Upon the conclusion of the seating test, all persons on one side of the centerline shall disembark. The remaining people should sit upright and not move from their original positions. (Not less than one-half in total number of persons should remain in the lifeboat.) Freeboard to the low point of sheer shall then be measured. This freeboard should, in general, be not less than 10 percent of the depth of the lifeboat.
(c) Motor-propelled lifeboats must pass the tests as required for an oar-propelled lifeboat in § 160.035-3. In addition, speed tests over a measured course and fuel consumption tests on a time basis shall be made to determine that the fully loaded motor-propelled lifeboats can maintain a speed of 6 knots for all classes of motor-propelled lifeboats, and that for each class of motor-propelled lifeboat its fuel tanks carry sufficient fuel for at least 24 hours at 6 knots. A 4-hour endurance trial shall be conducted with the fully loaded lifeboat at the RPM attained in the speed test in order to insure that there is no overheating, undue vibration, or other condition which would warrant the belief that the lifeboat could not maintain its proper speed for 24 hours. The time consumed in conducting the speed and fuel consumption tests may be counted toward the 4-hour endurance test. It shall be demonstrated that all engines installed in motor lifeboats can be started by the acceptable cranking system installed with no previous warming up period.
(d) Hand-propelled lifeboats shall be subjected to the same tests as required for an oar-propelled lifeboat. In addition, a test shall be made to assure that the lifeboat can be satisfactorily maneuvered with the hand-propelling gear. A speed of at least three knots shall be achieved in both light and load condition over a measured course of not less than 1,000 feet.
[CGFR 65-9, 30 FR 11467, Sept. 8, 1965, as amended by CGD 72-133R, 37 FR 17040, Aug. 24, 1972]
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