SOLAS FRC question

Can a SOLAS designated FRC be used for anything else? I know the SOLAS says the FRC must have a designated Launching system, but can the FRC be used for any use or is it designated for a Rescue Craft? I can’t find this in the Manual or computer.

I don’t know if it’s legal. But on the supply boats in fuchon they use them for crew change and groceries when the boats are tied to the pillings.

It’s important that a FRC is used regularly to ensure that everything is in working order, plus crew must be familiar with different duties during launching, operation and recovery, I’ve seen on some boats it being the same people who always drive the FRC but it is important other crew are familiar as what happens if the regular driver is the one needing rescued.

Using an FRC for crew change and groceries can easily be considered some kind of practice/training, using the FRC for anything is good practice.


I don’t believe it. Crew change with an FRC? Much easier to do it at a quay. FRCs shall just rescue people in the water, if you can get it in the water. IMO has it doubts.

While I have no idea about the legalities, I get why you’d want to. FRCs are incredibly capable, well handling craft, and lots of fun to drive. There’s literally nothing out there of comparable size that I’d rather use for getting around on a properly nasty day. I very nearly bought an old shaft drive Harding for a runabout some years ago, but decided against it because of the horrendous fuel economy.

My opinion is that you don’t know what you talk about.

Most ports charge a lot of money for a port call, it can save a lot of money to crew change via FRC instead of going alongside in port to do it, there will also be the added fuel costs of getting the boat in and out of port when the FRC would burn hardly any fuel.

1 Like


Technical data:

OverallLength: 6.70 meters
LengthHull: 5.90 meters
BreadthExtreme: 2.50 meters
BreadthHull: 1.90 meters
Draught: 0.40 meters
Weight Empty: 1800 kg
DavitLoad: 2700 kg
Fuel tank capacity:
Max Speed From-To: 33-35 knots

Engine & Propullsion:

Engine standard:
Engine alternative:
Propulsion standard: Waterjet
Propulsion alternative:



Safe launching and recovery with Single Point Davit:

My idea since many years is that FRCs should only be shore based. FRBs are useless on ships at sea. And IMO agrees since then. FRBs on ships at sea are not a means of rescue. That’s why we stopped onboard training with FRBs and inform PSCs that according SOLAS training is not required. Many PSCs are quite surprised.

For ships on long term charter it is apparently often a charterers requirement that they want hire a boat with a proper FRC, if the boat doesn’t have a proper FRC they often won’t be hired.

There is a big difference between the MOB-boat carried by most ships and the FRCs carried on some Offshore Support Vessels and on Ro/Pax ferries etc.:

Vessel classed as ERRVs frequently also carry a Daughter Craft:

I tend to agree.

Unfortunately my bosses don’t.

Problem is, using a FRC as crew transportation. Is an accident waiting to happen.
I say this after first hand experience of an accident involving an FRC during a crew change.
Fortunately only minor injuries.

Followed by other vessel having an accident during a drill which did lead to serious injury and investigation.
Knee jerk response.
No more drills, or at least no more drills with crew in boats.
Now just my opinion. We are much more at risk of an accident in an emergency than we were previously when we regularly used the FRC.
Due to lack of hands on practice.

The FRC are for MOB also double as shepherd boats for rafts.

Some of our davits have a limited no of launches or deployments. Due to OEM spec and brake wear.
On board maintenance by ship’s personnel limited due to local regulations about lifting equipment.
Which cuts down on realistic drills.

Only a couple more years before I retire. Hopefully I don’t have to deploy one in anger between now and then.

My opinion, if you have an incident during a drill the result of human error, you need more drills.

My boss opinion. We have had some minor incidents and one serious incident. We don’t want any more incidents. No more putting people in boats for drills.
To some extent his opinion is bourn out by the no of seamen killed in boat drills world wide.

Him being the boss. his opinion counts more than mine.

I do accept his opinion, the money saved by changing crew with FRC is a tiny fraction of the costs involved of an incident.

I still never got the reason to launch while underway. It’s not that well-trained crews are incapable, but I don’t see the reasoning except may during unrep - without an alternative.

Deployed many while underway both in response to an emergency and as drill.
Mostly for drills.
The important bit is not to be making way.
Although Navies ect do deploy while making way,

Launching a boat from a ship with way on is routine. For example that’s how the Suez Canal line boats are handled.

That crew in the video had almost no chance at that speed without a sea painter. The use of a sea painter is absolutely SOP for launching or recovering boats with way on. In many situations keeping way on is required to maintain heading control so the ship can create a lee and to make it easier to control the boat.


On a single point davit keeping the boat’s bow up and pointed in the right direction until release is crucial or you are screwed.

In post # 8 you can see how it is done.
In post # 12 how NOT to do it.

1 Like

making a little way (1 knot) makes it easier to launch/recover, as long as the painter is attached.
If practiced it is no issue to launch or recover at 5 knots.

Over all: if the FRC is also the MOB boat you are requried to practice and launch every month under SOLAS.

If the FRC is also the MOB boat you are not allowed to use it of anything else but MOB / rescue duty. If your FRC is away and somebody falls overboard you have a big problem.

1 Like