(MIAMI) — Marine safety equipment manufacturer and servicing provider Viking Life-Saving Equipment recently participated in an event at the annual Passenger Vessel Association and U.S. Coast Guard Industry Day in Miami.
The company had been invited to the event by John Groundwater, executive director of the Passenger Vessel Association (PVA), to provide hands-on support for the upcoming life float replacement task faced by coastal operators in response to new USCG regulations slated to come into force on Feb. 26, 2016.
Under the new regulations, commercial vessels sailing in coastal waters must swap out the life floats and rigid buoyant apparatus traditionally used to keep evacuees afloat, but which allow partial immersion in water. Instead, such vessels must ensure evacuation systems in the form of inflatable buoyancy apparatus (IBA) or other types of approved life rafts that ensure no part of an individual is immersed in water. The change applies for vessels operating beyond 3 nautical miles off the baseline of the U.S. territorial sea or the coastline of the Great Lakes, and to everything from passenger ferries going between the mainland to islands, to boat cruises, commercial fishing boats and offshore supply vessels.
Safety equipment expert Charles Gonzalez from Viking’s Miami servicing station was on hand at the event to demonstrate how to set up the company’s 25-person IBA, a self-inflating raft that complies with the new requirements. The demonstration was well received by the coastal operators gathered at the event and a number of orders were placed for Viking IBAs on the spot.
“Viking is a PVA member, so supporting the association and our fellow members is something we’re always eager to do,” said Vern Harrison, Great Lakes and North East sales manager, Viking Americas. “Vessel operators need to get their new equipment and training in place on time, so it was great to be able to answer some of the questions about deploying this type of equipment, including stability and servicing aspects, and to explain how Viking’s products and solutions can address these challenges.”
Viking offers both IBA life rafts and coastal life rafts, all of which comply with the impending USCG regulations. The IBA life rafts accommodate from four to 150 people, and the company also provides a wide range of matching cradles, racks and ramps.
Viking has set up a toll-free support number, 1-855-240-3473, for coastal vessel operators to call.