The SOLAS amendments with respect to buddy lines and lifting loops on SOLAS life jackets and immersion suits are effective 1 July 2010.

The amendments do not fully define specific test criteria for buddy lines and lifting loops.  The criteria for buddy lines is captured in the US comments in the ISO document No. 569 (see USMA web site) on the last two pages (7 & 8).  It differs from the ISO criteria by what the upper limit is to agree with the UL criteria for separation of the buddy line.

A buddy line tested in accordance with ISO 12402-9:-2, must withstand a lower limit load of (400 +20/-0) N for at least 1 min without any damage.  USCG uses an upper limit load for separation of less than 1340N (300 lb) which will also preserve the ISO separation criteria of less than 1500N (337.2 lb).

The separation of the buddy line from the PFD shall not adversely affect the integrity of the PFD.  The lifting loop test load used to show compliance to the new SOLAS criteria is as noted in IMO Resolution MSC.200(80) (Annex 17, 2.5 Strength Tests).  The loading is 3200N for an adult and 2400N for a child or infant-size device.  The method of testing is not specified but has been done with a torso frame or a test form for applying the lifting loop load.  (Note that only the “test form” is specified for the shoulder lift test in 2.5.2.)

A copy of the applicable sections of the following IMO Resolutions may be found on the USMSA web site.    They are annexes in the MSC 80 report.

  • MSC.200(80)-Adoption of Amendments to the Revised Recommendation on Testing of Life-Saving Appliances:
  • MSC.201(80)-Amendments to the International Convention for Safety of Life at Sea, 1974, as Amended, Chapter III, Life-Saving Appliances and Arrangements; and
  • MSC.207(81)-Adoption of Amendments to the International Life-Saving Appliance (LSA) Code.