What is SOLAS?

The word SOLAS is an abbreviation of “Safety Of Life At Sea”, which is an international maritime treaty upheld by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).  Also known as SOLAS Convention or International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), which establishes the least safety measures in the construction, equipment and operation of merchant ships.

The first version of the SOLAS Convention was adopted in 1914, in response to the Titanic disaster and is currently in the fifth version.  The 1974 adoption, dated 1 November 1974, has been updated and amended on numerous occasions, it currently comprises of 13 chapters and each chapter has its own set of regulations.  When developing our products for the marine industry, we took SOLAS regulations into consideration.

How to comply with SOLAS Regulations for Navigational Bridge Visibility

There are a series of SOLAS Regulations covering navigational bridge visibility, something we specialise in.  So we’ve removed the need to trawl endless documents online and explained below, how they affect your vessel and how we can help you become compliant.

The Regulations…

SOLAS Chapter V/15 Regulation B 6.5.1
Bridge Design, Equipment Arrangement and Procedures (BDEAP)

What it states:
“Windows shall meet the following requirements:  Sunscreens of roller type with minimum colour distortion, heavy duty blade type wipers, fresh water window washing and efficient de-icing and de-misting system or other means should be installed to help maintaining a clear view through windows. A catwalk or other means should be provided if required to help maintenance of window wipers and manual cleaning of bridge front windows.”

What it means:
Sunscreens are an accepted means of improving visibility on the bridge; they have to be fully retractable.

The solution:
Our solar screens come in cassetted and non-cassetted formats with both manual and motorised operations. Our solar screens come in four choices of solar film colour, offering minimal colour distortion whilst helping to eliminate solar glare and improve overall visibility.

The regulation also mentions the importance of window wipers for maintaining clear visibility during extreme weather conditions at sea, such as rain, wind, snow and sea spray. We are the UK & Irish Approved Distributor of marine wipers for Scanwipers A/S.

SOLAS Chapter V Regulation 22
Navigational Bridge Visibility

What it states:
“Windows shall meet the following requirements:  9.3 Polarized and tinted windows shall not be fitted”

What it means:
Polarised or tinted window films are not allowed to be installed on bridge windows, this also relates to other windows that are deemed ‘navigational’.  Any vessel with tinted or polarised windows on the bridge are in violation of the SOLAS regulations and are breaking maritime safety laws, they should be removed immediately.  Permanent tinted film on bridge windows hinders visibility during poor weather conditions and at night. A product used to assist with solar glare or heat must be retractable, to comply.

The solution:
We offer a range of adhesive window films including solar, safety, anti fog and polarised, however they are only permitted for non-navigational windows such as cabins and crew and passenger areas.

SOLAS V/15 Regulation B 6.5.2
Bridge Design, Equipment Arrangement and Procedures (BDEAP)

What it states:
“Windows shall meet the following requirements:  Clear view screens, if provided, should not be installed in windows in front of the manual steering position and radars, and not more than one to each side of the centre line, available for conning.”

What it means:
The bridge of the vessel should not house a clear view screen directly in front of the steering or radar equipment.

The solution:
We offer a range of Clearview wiper systems that offer continuous visibility during extreme weather conditions.  Typically a vessel would have 2-4 Clearview screens installed on the bridge.