Regulation 3 - Exemptions and Equivalents


  • Administrations have discretionary powers to grant exemptions or equivalents to the Regulations within strict safety parameters.
  • Exemptions from specified regulations may be granted to vessels without mechanical propulsion.
  • Exemptions may also be granted to individual ships under strict safety parameters.
Regulation 3
1. The Administration may grant general exemptions from the requirements of regulations 15, 17, 18, 19 (except, 20, 22, 24, 25, 26, 27 and 28 to ships without mechanical means of propulsion.
2. The Administration may grant to individual ships exemptions or equivalents of a partial or conditional nature, when any such ship is engaged on a voyage where the maximum distance of the ship from the shore, the length and nature of the voyage, the absence of general navigational hazards, and other conditions affecting safety are such as to render the full application of this chapter unreasonable or unnecessary, provided that the Administration has taken into account the effect such exemptions and equivalents may have upon the safety of all other ships.

Each Administration shall submit to the Organization, as soon as possible after 1 January in each year, a report summarising all new exemptions and equivalents granted under paragraph 2 of this regulation during the previous calendar year and giving the reasons for granting such exemptions and equivalents. The Organization shall circulate such particulars to other Contracting Governments for information.


MCA Guidance
1. Paragraph 1 allows Administrations to grant general exemptions to vessels with no means of propulsion (e.g. certain types of vessel used in the offshore industry such as jack-up rigs, storage or offloading units etc.) from the specified Regulations. The MCA will grant exemptions to such UK-flagged ships.
2. Paragraph 2 allows Administrations to grant exemptions or equivalences of a partial or conditional nature to other vessels where it can be shown that full application of the Regulations is unnecessary or unreasonable. In such cases, safety must not be compromised.
3. Paragraph 3 requires Administrations to provide IMO with annual summaries of all exemptions or equivalences so granted.

Owners of UK-registered vessels wishing to apply for an exemption or an equivalence should apply to the MCA. They will only be granted where compliance with the regulations is shown to be unreasonable and the MCA is satisfied that alternative steps are taken to achieve an equivalent level of safety.

5. Equivalences may be granted where the MCA deems that the substitution of a particular fitting, material, appliance, apparatus or operational procedure is at least as effective as that required by the regulation.
6. Exemptions and equivalences are granted for a specified period. They will not be granted indefinitely.
7. Owners seeking an exemption or equivalency for navigational equipment should contact the MCA at:
Spring Place
105 Commercial Road
SO15 1EG
Tel: +44 (0)2380 329100
Fax: +44(0)2380 329204


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