Introduction to SOLAS V - 2002


Chapter V, Safety of Navigation: Substantial revisions to this annex to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS V) came into force on 1 July 2002. The new Regulations are implemented under UK legislation by the Merchant Shipping (Safety of Navigation) Regulations, 2002.
The Regulations replaced the 1974 Chapter V, which came into force in 1980 (referred to as SOLAS V/74)


Purpose: This publication has been prepared to help ship-owners, masters, crews and industry to understand and comply with the SOLAS Regulations and offers practical guidance on how they should be implemented.

It is important that all parties fully understand the requirements of Chapter V and the associated documents and recognise their own specific responsibilities under each Regulation.


Layout: For each Regulation the full IMO text is given. This is followed by explanatory Guidance Notes for the Regulation. The Guidance Notes also refer to ANNEXES and other relevant documents.
The text of the IMO Regulations forms an integral part of the Merchant Shipping (Safety of Navigation) Regulations 2002. The Guidance Notes following each Regulation and contained in Annexes and other documents do not have any statutory force.


Guidance Notes: These state to whom each Regulation applies. Certain Regulations are addressed to Contracting Governments, being IMO Member States which have ratified the Convention. They also refer to Administrations, which are the bodies of those Member States responsible for enforcing the Regulations. The UK Administration is the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA). Other Regulations are primarily addressed to the Company and other industrial bodies. These, in the main, cover procedures, structure and layout of the bridge and navigational equipment. Other Regulations address the responsibilities of the ship's master and crew.
NOTE: The term Company in the Regulations should be interpreted as the SOLAS IX (ISM) definition: "Company" means the owner of the ship or any other organization or person such as the manager, or the bareboat charterer, who has assumed the responsibility for operation of the ship and who on assuming such responsibility has agreed to take over all the duties and responsibilities imposed by the International Safety Management Code.


Application: The SOLAS Regulations apply to all ships on all voyages, unless provided otherwise. Regulation 1 provides for certain exceptions. Reflecting this the UK's MS (Safety of Navigation) Regulations 2002 apply to all UK ships wherever they may be and to all other ships while they are in UK waters. A "UK ship" in this context includes not only a ship registered in the UK but also one that is not registered anywhere, but is British owned. The UK Regulations similarly provide for exceptions (see Regulation 4).


Consequential changes: The UK Regulations, on coming into force, repealed some provisions in the Merchant Shipping Act 1995 and revoked a number of Statutory Instruments. They also made some consequential amendments. These repeals, revocations and amendments are listed in Schedules 1 and 2 to the UK Regulations.


Supplementary provisions and penalties: Attention is drawn to the supplementary provisions which are contained in Schedule 3 to the UK Regulations and the criminal penalties which are attached to non-compliance with the regulations which are contained in Schedule 4.


Subsequent changes to SOLAS V - Amendments or additions to the IMO Regulations are implemented from time to time through IMO Resolutions. In accordance with Regulation 5(4) of the MS (Safety of Navigation) Regulations, 2002, any changes to SOLAS Chapter V implemented through IMO Resolutions will be given effect in UK legislation by changes to this MCA document ("Safety of Navigation, Implementing SOLAS Chapter V, 2002".) Any such changes will be given effect by the promulgation of a Merchant Shipping Notice. (The changes up to January 2007 are promulgated in MSN 1812)
The changes made to date since 2002 have been incorporated in this edition of the document. An indication of which section of any Regulation that has been changed and the associated IMO Resolution is noted in the relevant Guidance Note. Any future changes will be promulgated through an MSN, and the Web version on the MCA Website will be amended at the same time. Replacement pages to this document will also be printed.


Admiralty Publications: Guidance Notes refer to Admiralty Charts and Publications which are obtainable from Admiralty chart agents or the UK Hydrographic Office, Admiralty Way, Taunton, Somerset TA1 2DN. (


Superseded M Notices: Guidance Notes contained in this publication supersede the following Merchant Shipping Notices:
MGN 24, MGN 28, MGN 54, MGN 57, MGN 72, MGN 109, MGN 133, MGN 153, MGN 166, M.760, M.1104, M.1638, M.1641, MSN 1688, MSN 1716.

This publication also supersedes "Merchant Shipping Navigational Equipment - Instructions to Surveyors."

11. Web Links: Addresses of relevant web sites are provided throughout the document and are listed below:

Maritime and Coastguard Agency -

International Maritime Organization (IMO) -

International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouses (IALA) -

Trinity House -

Northern Lighthouse Board -

Commissioners of Irish Lights -

World Meterological Organization -

IHO Global ENC Catalogue -

Voluntary Observing Ship Scheme -

The Met Office -

UK Hydrographic Office -

North Atlantic Ice Patrol -

International Maritime Pilots Association -

The Stationery Office (TSO) -

HMSO (for texts of UK legislation) -

United Nations Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) -




Maritime and Coastguard Agency                Tel: +44(0)2803 329100
Spring Place                                                Fax: +44(0)2803 329204
105 Commerial Road
SO15 1EG

June 2007

© Crown Copyright.