46 CFR 160.135-13 - Approval inspections and tests for prototype lifeboats.
(a) After the Commandant notifies the manufacturer that the prototype lifeboat is in compliance with the requirements of § 160.135-11 of this subpart, the manufacturer may proceed with the prototype approval inspections and tests required under this section. The prototype lifeboat, the construction of which was witnessed under § 160.135-11 of this subpart, must be used for the tests in this section.
(b) Except as provided in paragraph (f) of this section, the Coast Guard must conduct the approval inspections and witness the approval tests required under this section.
(c) Manufacturer requirements. To proceed with approval inspections and tests required by this section, the manufacturer must -
(1) Notify the Commandant and cognizant Officer in Charge, Marine Inspection (OCMI) of where the approval inspections and tests required under this section will take place, and such notification must be in sufficient time to allow making travel arrangements;
(2) Arrange a testing schedule that allows for a Coast Guard inspector to travel to the site where the testing is to be performed;
(3) Admit the Coast Guard inspector to any place where work or testing is performed on lifeboats or their component parts and materials for the purpose of -
(i) Conducting inspections as 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 and the inspection report under § 160.135-11 of this subpart;
(ii) Assuring that the quality assurance program of the manufacturer is satisfactory;
(iii) Witnessing tests; and
(iv) Taking samples of parts or materials for additional inspections or test; and
(4) Make available to the Coast Guard inspector the affidavits or invoices from the suppliers of all essential materials used in the production of lifeboats, together with records identifying the lot or serial numbers of the lifeboats in which such materials were used.
(1) Prototype lifeboat readiness. All tests must be conducted on a completely outfitted lifeboat, including fixed equipment such as compass, searchlight, and navigating lights. Loose equipment may be substituted by weights.
(2) Fiber Reinforced Plastic (FRP) prototype lifeboat lay-up. For the prototype of each design of an FRP lifeboat, the lay-up must be made of unpigmented resins and clear gel coat.
(3) Fuel tank. Each non-portable fuel tank must be tested by a static head above the tank top of 3 m (10 ft) of water without showing any leaks or signs of permanent distortion.
(4) IMO Revised recommendation on testing. Each prototype lifeboat of each design must pass each of the tests for davit-launched or free-fall lifeboats, as applicable, described in the IMO Revised recommendation on testing, part 1, paragraphs 6.1 through 6.17 (incorporated by reference, see § 160.135-5 of this subpart). Tests must be conducted in accordance with these paragraphs of IMO Revised recommendation on testing, Part 1, with the following modifications:
(i) Fire retardancy/release mechanism and engine tests (Paragraphs 1/6.2, 6.9, 6.10, 6.14). The tests in the following IMO Revised recommendation on testing paragraphs may be accomplished independent of the lifeboat, and may be considered completed and need not be repeated if the tests have been previously shown to meet the necessary requirements -
(A) Paragraph 6.2;
(B) Paragraphs 6.9.3 through 6.9.6;
(C) Paragraph 6.10.2 through 6.10.6; and
(D) Paragraphs 6.14.6 through 6.14.8.
(ii) Lifeboat overload test (Paragraph 1/6.3). For a davit launched lifeboat, the overload test must be conducted with the lifeboat suspended from the lifting hooks. During this test, the canopy of a free-fall lifeboat must not deform so as to harm any potential occupants.
(iii) Impact test (Paragraph 1/6.4). The rigid vertical surface must not be displaced or deformed as a result of the test.
(iv) Lifeboat seating space test (Paragraph 1/6.7). The average mass of persons used to test the lifeboat seating space must be determined by weighing as a group or individually. Each person must wear an inherently buoyant SOLAS lifejacket with at least 150 N of buoyancy or a Coast Guard-approved lifejacket approved under approval series 160.155. For other than a totally enclosed lifeboat, the operator(s) must demonstrate that the lifeboat can be operated while wearing a Coast Guard approved, insulated-buoyant immersion suit approved under approval series 160.171. The Commandant will give consideration to requests to test at, and designate lifeboats for, a heavier occupant weight than that stated in the IMO LSA Code, Chapter IV (incorporated by reference, § 160.135-5 of this subpart).
(v) Flooded stability test (Paragraph 1/6.8). Any materials used to raise the test weights representing the lifeboat occupants above the seat pan must be at least as dense as fresh water.
(vi) Lifeboat operational test, Operation of engine (Paragraph 1/6.10.1). For the 4-hour lifeboat maneuvering period, the lifeboat must not (except for a short period to measure towing force and to demonstrate towing fixture durability) be secured, and must be run through its full range of speeds and full range of all controls throughout the period.
(vii) Survival recovery test (Paragraph 1/6.10.8). The recovery demonstration must show that no more than two crewmembers are required to recover a helpless person of ninety-fifth percentile by weight described in ASTM F 1166 (incorporated by reference, see § 160.135-5 of this subpart) while the crewmembers and helpless person are each wearing a lifejacket.
(viii) Flooded capsizing test (Paragraph 1/6.14.3-.5). For any lifeboat also approved as a rescue lifeboat, the lifeboat must return to an upright position and, without undue delay, the crew must be able to use the lifeboat again as a lifeboat.
(ix) Fire test (Paragraph 1/6.16.4). The locations where temperatures are measured along with the rationale for the proposed locations must be provided to the Commandant for approval prior to the testing.
(x) Water spray tests (Paragraph 1/6.16.9). The delivery rate of water, or the sprayed water film thickness over the lifeboat, must be at least equivalent to that used to achieve passing results for the fire test. Full coverage must be obtained without the need to rock the lifeboat or induce wetting by wiping or applying any agent.
(xi) Measuring and evaluating acceleration forces (Paragraph 1/6.17.5). For free-fall lifeboats, the selection, placement, and mounting of the accelerometers along with the rationale for the proposed selection, placement, and mounting must be provided to the Commandant for approval prior to the testing.
(xii) Evaluation acceleration forces with the dynamic response model (Paragraph 1/6.17.9). For free-fall lifeboats only, sections 6.17.9 thru 6.17.12 must be used along with the displacement limits for lifeboats in Table 2 under “Evaluation with the dynamic response model”.
(5) Visual inspection. Each lifeboat must be visually inspected to confirm -
(i) Compliance with this subpart;
(ii) Conformance with plans reviewed under § 160.135-9 of this subpart; and
(iii) Ease of operation and maintenance.
(e) Test waiver. The Commandant may waive certain tests for a lifeboat identical in construction to smaller and larger lifeboats that have successfully completed the tests. Tests associated with lifeboat components that have already been approved by the Commandant are not required to be repeated.
(f) At the request of the manufacturer and discretion of the Commandant, an independent laboratory may perform approval inspections and witness approval tests required by this section so long as the inspections and tests are performed and witnessed in accordance with the procedures agreed upon between the independent laboratory and Commandant under 46 CFR part 159, subpart 159.010.
(g) After completion of approval inspections and tests required by this section, the manufacturer must comply with the requirements of 46 CFR 159.005-9(a)(5) by preparing and submitting to the Commandant for review -
(1) The prototype approval test report containing the same information recommended by IMO MSC Circ. 980 (incorporated by reference, see § 160.135-5 of this subpart). The report must include a signed statement by the Coast Guard inspector (or independent laboratory as permitted by paragraph (f) of this section) who witnessed the testing, indicating that the report accurately describes the testing and its results; and
(2) The final plans of the lifeboat as built. The plans must include, in triplicate -
(i) The instructions for training and maintenance described in §§ 160.135-19 and 160.135-21 of this subpart; and
(ii) The final version of the plans required under § 160.135-9 of this subpart.