Guidelines for Vessels on the Lowering or Launching of Lifeboat at the Anchorages


Master of vessel is responsible for the safety of personnel involved in drills and is to familiarise himself and the vessel’s crew with the following lifeboat related IMO guidelines and recommendations prior the actual drill:

a) MPA Shipping Circular 16 of 2008
b) MPA Shipping Circular 15 of 2008
c) MPA Shipping Circular 21 of 2007
d) MPA Shipping Circular 25 of 2006
e) MPA Shipping Circular 18 of 2006
f) MPA Shipping Circular 09 of 2005
g) MPA Shipping Circular 08 of 2005 and ;
h) any other latest circulars published at MPA Website:

Prior commencement of drill

  1. The lifeboat lowering/free fall launching/rescue boat drill is to be supervised by a competent personnel.
  2. The Master is to ensure that all safety measures and precautions are being observed in accordance with the vessel’s safety management system (SMS) and lifeboat / rescue boat instruction manuals.
  3. Safety briefing to all personnel involved shall be conducted prior to commencement of the drill.
  4. The operation must be carried out during daylight hours only.
  5. The operation shall not be carried out concurrently with any other activity such as bunkering, overside cargo operation, underwater diving, main engine immobilization etc.
  6. Master of vessel shall Inform the Marine Safety Control Centre (MSCC) via VHF CH 07 or Tel 63252488/2489; 30 mins prior to commencement, upon completion and in the event of suspension of the operation.

Conducting the drill

  1. There must be a safety boat in attendance if the lifeboat or rescue boat drill requires manoeuvring in the water as part of the drill. Manoeuvring of the lifeboat should be kept within the ship's length. The lifeboat / rescue boat is not permitted to loiter about at the anchorages. Note: The safety boat must be a suitable size harbour craft and should be able to hold and tow the lifeboat / rescue boat, if required. The ship's rescue boat or lifeboats are not permitted for use as a safety 0boat.)
  2. The launch area must be clear of traffic before the lowering commence. The safety boat if provided, must warn all approaching traffic of the operation.
  3. There shall be no person(s) in the lifeboat /rescue boat during its lowering, launching and recovery.
  4. The drill shall abort immediately in the event of emergency, inclement weather condition or any likelihood of safety being compromised.

Application Procedures

a) Free fall lifeboat launching and/or Lifeboat drills involving in-water manoeuvring  - Shipowners, masters or agents of vessels are required to obtain written approval from MPA’s Marine Environment and Safety Department (MESD) at least three (3) working days prior the intended operation. Permission for free fall lifeboat launching is only granted to be carried out at Sudong Special Purpose and Raffles Reserve anchorages and subject to space availability. Such request may be transmitted by FAX no: 63252430 or via email: with the following information:
    i. Name, IMO Number, Call sign, type and maximum height of vessel.
    ii. Proposed location and date of drill.
    iii. Harbour craft licence number of safety boat.
    iv. Name of shipyard/berth and Terminal manager's approval if drills are being carried out alongside berth.
    v. Ship specific Safe Operating Procedures (SOP) for the intended operation endorsed by Master or Vessel Managers.
    vi Any other activity intended to be carried out at location.

b) Lifeboat drills which do not require in-water manoeuvring - Shipowners, masters or agents of vessels to obtain approval by calling Marine Safety Control Centre via VHF Channel 07 or Tel: 6325 2488/2489 by providing the following information :
    i. Name, IMO Number or Call sign, type and maximum height of vessel.
    ii. Proposed location and date and time of drill.