The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), as well as flag State regulations, requires that passenger ships on international voyages carry an approved lifejacket (Personal Flotation Device–PFD) for every person onboard the ship. SOLAS requires that lifejackets suitable for children must also be carried in a number equal to 10% of the number of passengers onboard, provided that the number of children's lifejackets carried must not be less than the number of children onboard. Lifejackets must also be carried for the persons on watch and must be stored on the bridge, in the engine control room and at any other manned watch station. An additional number of lifejackets equal to 5% of the persons onboard must also be carried and stored in conspicuous places on deck or at muster stations. Under certain circumstances, additional lifejackets must also be carried, and stored at muster stations or in public spaces, when it is likely that persons may not be able to return to their staterooms to retrieve the lifejacket stored there. Some flag States have similar requirements for domestic or non-international voyages.
CLIA's oceangoing operators have adopted a policy of carrying additional adult lifejackets onboard each cruise ship in excess of these legal requirements. Under this policy the number of additional adult lifejackets to be provided must not be less than the total number of persons berthed within the ship's most populated main vertical fire zone. Implementation of this policy should result in spare lifejackets being carried in excess of the number required by SOLAS.
Some smaller oceangoing cruise ships may be constructed with only one main vertical fire zone that is utilized for accommodation spaces. For these vessels, CLIA's policy is that the maximum number of excess lifejackets provided need not exceed fifty percent of the total number of persons carried by the vessel. Extra lifejackets for children in excess of legal requirements, in a number equal to 10% of the number of passengers berthed within the most populated main vertical zone, must also be carried on international voyages under this policy.
All of the additional lifejackets addressed in this policy are to be stored in public spaces, at the muster stations, on deck or in lifeboats, and in such a manner as to be readily accessible to crewmembers for distribution as may be necessary in the event of an emergency. Lifejackets carried for persons on watch are to be carried in accordance with SOLAS and other applicable flag State regulation.