46 CFR 160.135-11 - Fabrication of prototype lifeboats for approval.
(a) If the manufacturer is notified that the information submitted in accordance with § 160.135-9 of this subpart is satisfactory to the Commandant, the manufacturer may proceed with fabrication of the prototype lifeboat as set forth in this section.
(b) Unless the Commandant directs otherwise, an independent laboratory must perform or witness, as appropriate, inspections, tests, and oversight required by this section. Prototype inspections and tests of a lifeboat must be carried out in accordance with the procedures for independent laboratory inspection in 46 CFR part 159, subpart 159.007 and in this section, unless the Commandant authorizes alternative tests and inspections. The Commandant may prescribe additional prototype tests and inspections necessary to maintain quality control and to monitor compliance with the requirements of this subpart.
(c) Fabrication of a lifeboat must proceed in the following sequence:
(1) The manufacturer must arrange for an independent laboratory (or Coast Guard inspector if required under paragraph (b) of this section) to inspect, test, and oversee the lifeboat during its fabrication and prepare an inspection and test report meeting the requirements of 46 CFR 159.005-11.
(2) The independent laboratory must make such inspections as are necessary to determine that the prototype is constructed by the methods and with the materials specified in the plans reviewed under § 160.135-9 of this subpart. By conducting at least one inspection during its construction, the independent laboratory must determine the prototype lifeboat conforms with those plans by inspecting -
(i) Fiber Reinforced Plastic (FRP) Construction.
(A) FRP components of each prototype lifeboat outer hull and any FRP inner hull or liner components that are bonded or bolted to the outer hull must have a layup made of unpigmented clear resins so that details of construction are visible for inspection. Test panels representative of each prototype layup must be tested in accordance with MIL-P-17549D(SH) (incorporated by reference, see § 160.135-5 of this subpart). If an accepted MIL-R-21607E(SH) (incorporated by reference, see § 160.135-5 of this subpart) Grade B resin is used for the prototype lifeboat, additives for fire retardancy must not be used so that the laminate is translucent for inspection purposes. Any prototype test lifeboat with Grade B resins will not be marked in accordance with § 160.135-17 of this subpart for use as a production lifeboat regardless of the outcome of the performance tests. Whichever accepted resin the manufacturer decides to use for the prototype lifeboat, the same resin must be used in the production lifeboats.
(B) The hull, canopy, and major structural laminates of each prototype FRP lifeboat must be tested for resin content, ultimate flexural strength, and tensile strength. The test samples must be cut out from the prototype lifeboat, or be laid up at the same time, using the same procedures and by the same operators as the laminate used in the lifeboat. The number of samples used for each test, and the conditions and test methods used, must be as per the applicable test specified in this paragraph. The resin content must be determined as per ASTM D 2584 or ISO 1172 (incorporated by reference, see § 160.135-5 of this subpart). The flexural ultimate strength must be determined by ASTM D 790 method I (test condition “A”, flatwise, dry) or the corresponding ISO 14125 test method (incorporated by reference, see § 160.135-5 of this subpart). The tensile strength, lengthwise, must be determined as per ASTM D 638 or ISO 527 (incorporated by reference, see § 160.135-5 of this subpart).
(C) Each major FRP component, such as the hull, canopy, and inner liner(s), of each prototype FRP lifeboat must be examined and weighed after it is completed but before it is assembled. If the lifeboat is constructed by the spray lay-up technique, the hull and canopy thicknesses must be measured using ultrasonic or equivalent techniques;
(ii) Steel construction. Steel sheet and plate used for the hull, floors, and other structural components of a prototype steel lifeboat must meet the bend tests requirement specified under ASTM A 653 (incorporated by reference, see § 160.135-5 of this subpart) after galvanizing or other anti-corrosion treatment has been applied. This may be demonstrated through a supplier's certification papers or through witnessing actual tests;
(iii) Coated cloth for partially enclosed lifeboats. Cloth material used in the construction of each prototype lifeboat must be confirmed to have met the requirements specified under § 160.135-7(b)(28) of this subpart. This may be demonstrated through a supplier's certification papers or through witnessing actual tests;
(iv) Welding. Structural components of each prototype lifeboat joined by welding must be welded by the welding procedures and materials as per the plans reviewed under § 160.135-9 of this subpart and by welders appropriately qualified;
(v) Buoyancy foam. Each major subassembly of a prototype lifeboat, such as the hull with liner and canopy with liner, must be weighed after the buoyancy foam is installed and before it is further assembled;
(vi) Installation of the propulsion system;
(vii) Installation of the steering system; and
(viii) Installation of the water spray fire-protection and air support system(s), if fitted.