Lifeboatmans (Qualifications & Certificates) Rules,1963

(Department of Transport)

New Delhi, the 25th January 1963 

G.S.R. 194 – In exercise of the powers conferred by clause (h) of sub-section (2) of section 288 and section 344 of the Merchant shipping Act, 1958 (44 of 1958) and supersession of all previous rules and orders on the subject, the Central Government hereby makes the following rules, the same having been previously published as required by sub-section (1) of section 288 of the said Act, namely: -- 

1.     Short titile and Commencement. —(1) These rules may be called the Lifeboatmen’s (Qualifications and Certificates) Rules, 1963.  

(2) They shall come into force at once.

 2.     Definitions. — In these rules –

(a)  ‘Appendix’ means an Appendix to these rules;

(b) ‘Life Saving Appliances Rules’ means the rules for the time being in force prescribing the Life Saving Appliances to be carried by Indian ships going to sea;

(c)  ‘Principal Officer’ means the Principal Officer of the Mercantile Marine Department of the district concerned. 

3.     Lifeboatmen to be certificated. – Any person who has passed the examination t held in accordance with these rules shall be granted a certificate of efficiency as a lifeboatman.  

4.     Time and place of examination. – (1) The   examination shall be conducted by a Nautical Surveyor, a Principal Officer, or any Pilot or other person who possesses a certificate of competency as Master of a foreign-going ship and who is specially authorised in the behalf by the Principal Officer at the port of Bombay, Calcutta, Madras, Vizagapatnam or Cochin. 

(2) The data on which, and the time and place at which, the examination shall be help shall be published on the notice board in the office of the Mercantile Marine Department concerned. 

5.     Eligibility. – No person shall be eligible to appear for the examination unless he –  

(a)  is not less than 18 years of ago;

(b) is free from any physical or mental disability which would render him unfit for discharging the duties of a lifeboatman; and

(c)  has had service at sea for not less than six months. 

6.     Application for examination. – Every candidate for the examination shall apply in the form set out in Appendix ‘A’to the officer in charge, Mercantile Marine Department, at the port at which he desires to be examined. Every such application shall be accompanied by the Continuous Discharge Certificate of the candidate or other document evidencing his sea service 

7.     Application by shipowner, etc. – (1) where the owner, agent or master of a ship or a shipping company desires that the members of the crew of a ship should be examined, the owner, agent or master or the company shall fill in the application forms on behalf of the members of the crew and shall be responsible for the correctness of the statements made in the applications. 

(2) Where the members of the crew of a ship are to be examined, not less than 10 members of the crew or such other number as the Principal Officer or the Surveyor in charge of the Mercantile Marine Department may decide, shall be examined. 

(3) The boat and other equipment required for the conduct of the examination shall be provided by the owner, agent or master of the ship or the shipping company concerned, and the operation of swinging out and the lowering of the boat shall be under the supervision of the ship’s officer or other person appointed by  the  owner, agent or master of the company. 

8.     Obligation to wear Lifejackets. – Every candidate for the examination shall, during the course of the examination, wear a lifejacket. 

9.     Nature of examination. – (1) The examination shall be aimed at testing the knowledge of candidates in the theory and practice of launching and handling of lifeboats and in their operation and shall consist of three parts, namely –  

(a)  the equipment to be carried in lifeboats;

(b) the operation of swinging out and lowering of boats;

(c)  the handling of the boat afloat. 

(2) The order of the examination and the probable questions that may be asked thereat are set out in Appendix ‘B’

(3) During the examination, the operation of swinging the boat out from the chocked and griped position shall be repeated several times, the respective positions of the candidates under examination being varied each time. 

(4) Each candidate shall also be required to act as one of the lowerers. 

10. Nature of boats used for examination. – The boat used for the purpose of the examination shall be a lifeboat as specified in the Life Saving Appliances Rules and shall be fully equipped and fitted with mast, sails and compass as required by those rules; the boat shall be under davits fitted with wires or cordage falls. 

11. Minimum marks for success in the examination. – (1) Each of the three parts of the examination shall carry 5 marks and any candidate who obtains a minimum of three marks in each part and a minimum of ten marks in the aggregate shall be declared successful. 

(2) The marks obtained by each successful candidate shall be entered in the mark sheet in the form set out in Appendix ‘C’and the mark sheet and the application of the candidate with part ‘B’ thereof duly completed together with the documents in original received with the application shall be forwarded to the Principal Officer. 

(3) The Principal Officer shall then cause part ‘C’ of the application to be filled in and forward it to the Director General of Shipping. 

12. Issue of Certificate. – (1) The Principal Officer shall prepare in duplicate the certificate of efficiency as lifeboatman in respect of each successful candidate in the form set out in Appendix ‘D’. 

(2) Every successful candidate shall be required to sign his name in both the copies of the certificate in the presence of the authority delivering the certificate to him; one copy of the certificate shall be delivered to him on payment of a fee of Rs. 2 and the other shall be retained for record in the office of the Principal Officer. 

(3) All documents in original received with the application shall also be returned to the candidate along with the certificate. 

13. Endorsement on Continuous Discharge Certificates. - The Shipping Master when so required by a seaman holding a certificate of efficiency as lifeboatman; shall endorse the fact in the Continuous Discharge Certificate of the seaman; in every such case, the Shipping Master shall also make the necessary endorsement in the Register of Continuous Discharge Certificates maintained in his office. 

14. Duplicate copy of Certificate - If a Certificate granted under these rules is lost, defaced or mutilated, the Principal Officer may, if he is satisfied that the loss, defacement or mutilation was caused without any fault on the part of the holder of the Certificate, issue a duplicate copy of the Certificate on payment of a fee of Re. 1 : 

Provided that the defaced or mutilated certificate shall be surrendered to the Principal Officer or if the duplicate certificate is granted on the ground that the original is lost, the person the whom the duplicate certificate is granted shall surrender the original to the Principal Officer if and when it is subsequently recovered.



(See rule 6)





Issued by the Govt. of India.

             Application for examination for a Certificate of Efficiency as Lifeboatman

Port of ---------------



            Name in full.

            Particulars of Continuous Discharge Certificate or other document.

            Permanent Address.

            Date and place of birth.

            Rank or Rating.

            Dated the                       day of                   19        .

  Principal Officer,
Mercantile Marine Department,



I have examined the seaman named above for a Certificate of Efficiency as Lifeboatman and he has passed in the examination.



Dated this                    day of                     19       .


            Place where examined……………………….                     Signature of Examiner.


            The Principal Officer,

                  Mercantile Marine Department,

                           ------------- District.




            A Certificate of Efficiency No. ------------- has been issued to the abovenamed seaman this day of                19           , and the Shipping Master at the port of ---------   has been requested to endorse his Continuous Discharge Certificate accordingly.


            Dated this                     day of               19         .

Principal Officer,

Mercantile Marine Department,

---------------- District.


Forwarded to the Director General of Shipping, Bombay.



             [See rule 9 (2)]


Order for  the examination of seamen for Certificates of Efficiency as Lifeboatmen


1.      The candidates fall in standing in single line with lifejackets facing the boat. One of them asked to act as coxswain and to detail the crew to their various stations. 

The stroke oarsman takes station abreast the stern post, the bowman abreast the stem and the lowerers opposite the falls. 

2.      Whilst in this position the candidates should be called out individually and questioned as to their knowledge of the details of the boat, the disengaging gear and the equipment and management of the boat. 

3.      Candidates may be expected to answer any of the following question :-

How many oars are there in the boat?

What are the parts of an oar?

How are the oars stowed in the lifeboat?

How many boathooks are there?

How many axes and where kept?

How many plugs and where kept?

How much bread or biscuit should there be in the biscuit tank?

How much water should there be in the water breakers?

How to get water out of breaker?

What is the use of bailers and buckets?

How would you attract attention at night?

Show how to light red lights?

Have you any other means of attracting attention at night?

How long should the lamp burn?

What oil is to be carried?

Name parts of sails.

Which side of a boat do you attach sheet to and to what do you make sheet                  fast?

Where does the tack of a standing lug make fast?

Where does the tack of a dipping lug make fast

How would you distinguish parts of sail in the dark?

What is the use of a reef? Tie a reef point.

Describe difference between standing and dipping lugs.

What would you do in the event of having to lower sail in bad weather?

What is a very important thing to remember when handling a boat under sail?

Describe the use of the sea anchor.

Describe the use of an oil bag.

How would you bring a boat head to sea?

Which gripes would you let go first when about to swing a boat out?

Before lowering a boat, what is important to see to?

When a boat is lowered in the water which tackle do you let go first?

If the forward tackle is let go first, what happens if ship has headway?

How would you tell number of people a boat is certified to carry?

What are lifelines for?

What is there in the boat for providing buoyancy?

What are the buoyancy tanks made of?

How would you distinguish the steering oar from the others?

Candidates to name any points of the compass , if asked.           

4.      Clear Away. – On the Coxswain giving the order “Clear away”, the boat’s covers and spreaders if in place are removed by the combined crew, and the bowman and stroke oarsman get into the boat. The  bowman sees that the painter is clear and ready to pass to the deck, and also sees that the forward lifeline is clear. The stroke oarsman sees the after lifeline clear, ships the plug and prepares to ship the rudder or steering oar. Both these men should see that oars and boat hooks are clear and ready for use. The lowerers see that the  falls are taut and properly belayed and clear for running.  Other members, as detailed, release the gripes (outboard gripes first) and see that the chocks and gripes are clear, and the boat ready for turning out. The crew then return to their former positions, with the exception of the bowman and stroke oarsman. 

5.      Swing out.—At this order the boat is swung out as quickly as possible and brought square to the ship’s side and the guys secured. The painter is passed forward to a suitable position and the rudder or steering oar shipped. Before the boat is lowered, the operation of swinging out from the chocked and griped position (there is no reason to deal with covers or spreaders again) should be repeated several times.  A different man should act as coxswain each time, and the positions of the other candidates should be varied. 

6.      Lower Away – At this order, the boat is lowered, the looms of the oars being used for fending off the ship’s side, care being taken that the boat is kept as near as possible on an even keel. When the boat is waterborne the remainder of the crew will take their places in the boat. The oarsmen will unhook the falls, ship outboard crutches, and toss their oars. The oarsmen either hauls in or slip the painter, and with the stroke oarsman shoves the boat away from the ship’s side with boat hook or oar. Each member of the crew should take part in the actual lowering of the boat in turn. This can be arranged by lowering in stages. 

7.      Still and Carry on. – The order “Still” is given when, through some misunderstanding or accident, or for the purpose of instruction it is necessary to suspend operations. At this order each man stops what he is doing, retaining his position and remaining silent, and if the order is given whilst the boat is being lowered the lowerers immediately take an extra turn of the falls or belay them. At the order “Carry on” ,operations are resumed.

8.      Practice Afloat. – Every candidate should be capable of decending unaided into a boat alongside the ship by means of a side ladder suspended over the ship’s side. 

When the boat is afloat, each member of the crew should be required to take turn in rowing, steering and giving orders also in assisting to set the sail, float the sea anchor and to bring the boat alongside. 

9. Order for leaving the ship’s side – The order is “Let Go the Painter”

“SHOVE off Forward”. 

NOTE.—When the boat is manned, see that the crew are sitting square on the thwarts facing aft.

“Toss Oars”.—Oars vertical, blades fore and aft. 

“Down Oars”. 

“Give Way Together”. 

10. Orders for a Lifeboat under way under Oars.—Candidates are required to take charge and act as Coxswain, giving the necessary orders for turning short round to port or starboard. 

To turn boat short round, head to port :--

“Back Water Port”.

“Give way Starboard”. 

When round far enough, give the order :--

“Give Way Together” or—

“Oars”—At this order the crew take one more stroke and come to position “Oars”, sitting erect, facing square aft, oars horizontal blades fore and aft and in line with gunwale. 

To turn boat short round, head to starboard:--

“Back Water Starboard”.

“Give Way Port”.—When round far enough, give the order—

“Give Way Together” or— 

11.  Orders when coming alongside.—when about 60 yards off, give the order Bow”. The bowman tosses and boats his oar and stands by with boathook. 

“Way Enough” . – Crew pull one more stroke after this order and then toss oars together.

             “Boat your oars”. – Lay oars inboard, blades forward, and unship crutches.

            With boat alongside, see all square, leaving  two men in boat to hook on falls.




[See rule 11 (2)] 

Issued by the Govt. of India. 

            Mark Sheet for candidates under Examination for Certificates of Efficiency as Lifeboatman at -------------- on -----------


                                                Marks deducted          

Serial      Candidate’s   Equipment      Swinging       Handl-      
No.          name            (5 marks)        out and        ing         Marks    passed or

                                                            lowering       afloat       gained       Failed

                                                            (5 marks )     (5 marks)     




Dated at           this       day                   19      .








Issued by the Govt. of India.



Name and Description of Candidate


Name in full.
Year of Birth.

Height                    ft.              in.


  Particulars of Continuous

     Discharge Certificate.

       Colour of} Eyes



                  Distinguishing Marks


            This is to certify that the above-named seaman was examined on the day of           19             , by an examiner appointed under the Lifeboatmen’s (Qualifications and Certificates) Rules, 1963 and that he proved to the satisfaction of the said examiner that he has been trained in all the operations connected with launching lifeboats and the use of oars; that he is acquainted with the practical handling of the boats themselves and that he is capable of understanding and answering the orders relative to lifeboat service.


By order of the government of India, this                   day of                 19.


Principal Officer,

Mercantile Marine Department.

-------------- District.

Signature of Seaman.

[No. 3-ML (1)/62.]


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