Reflective tape. DOT C2 instead of SOLAS?

Is it ok to use DOT C2 tape instead of SOLAS grade to renew the sun damaged strips on a life float?
SOLAS is supposed to be the most reflective (90%), but the DOT stuff is advertised as being useful on boats.

No, not if your “life float” is a lifesaving appliance in use on a vessel required to comply with SOLAS. It’s possible that there is overlap in tape meeting both the SOLAS requirements and the DOT requirements, but unless the tape you choose to use on your lifesaving appliances specifically meets the SOLAS requirement you will not be compliant.

The SOLAS Convention is a set of regulations, requirements, and standards that flag state signatories adopt. In the US the the requirements for retroreflective tape on life saving appliances is codified in 46 CFR 164.018. It has to be made to be used on continuously exposed surfaces, and the whole intention is for it to be used on marine lifesaving appliances. Use the right stuff!

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If you look at the tape it actually has solas written in the reflective part. That way they can charge 4 times as much as simular tape.


You can use the DOT tape, but you’ll replace it with SOLAS tape, when the CG does their inspection.

The DOT tape exceeds the requirements listed in Table 164.018-9 for Reflective Intensity. Should be okay :+1:. Thanks for the CFR reference.

Only if it’s stamped with the SOLAS logo on it.

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Still no. If you read all of the referenced CFR you’ll note 164.018-11 Approval Tests. It’s not just about reflective qualities. If your tape wasn’t also submitted to the USCG for approval then it is not approved and is therefore not okay.


For those with interest, here’s a link to the referenced CFR:
eCFR :: 46 CFR Part 164 Subpart 164.018 -- Retroreflective Material for Lifesaving Equipment .

We’ve put a bunch of this stuff (from a variety of sources) on our kayaks as well as the usual life rings, etc. - after a few years, its obvious that while it all looks similar when new, some of it doesn’t last in the seawater & sunshine environment!