Regulation 29 - Life-saving signals to be used by ships, aircraft or persons in distress


  • Table of international life-saving signals to be available to OOW.
  • Signals to be used when communicating with SAR units.
Regulation 29
An illustrated table describing the life-saving signals* shall be readily available to the officer of the watch of every ship to which this chapter applies. The signals shall be used by ships or persons in distress when communicating with lifesaving stations, maritime rescue units and aircraft engaged in search and rescue operations.

* Such lifesaving signals are described in the International Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue (IAMSAR) Manual Vol.III, Mobile Facilities, and illustrated in the International Code of Signals, as amended pursuant to resolution A.80(IV).

MCA Guidance
1. This Regulation applies to all vessels. The signals are to be used by any ship or person in distress, when communicating with SAR units. It is therefore important that mariners, whether engaged in commercial or leisure activities, are familiar with them.

The table of lifesaving signals is to be displayed prominently on the ship's bridge and officers are to be familiar with the signals and ensure that they are correctly used in distress situations.
Details are provided Volume III of the IAMSAR Manual. They are also contained in the MCA leaflet LIFESAVING SIGNALS for Ships Aircraft or persons in Distress.


The MCA encourages all organisations concerned with small craft to ensure that their members are made aware of the international lifesaving signals and that copies of the signals are made available to them.

Refer also to Regulation 8 - Life Saving Signals.


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