SOLAS Ch V - Regulations
1. Application
2. Definitions
3. Exemptions & Equivalents
4. Navigation Warnings
5. Meteorological Services & Warnings
6. Ice Patrol Services
7. Search & Rescue Services
8. Life-Saving Signals
9. Hydrographic Services
10. Ship's Routeing
11. Ship Reporting Systems
12. Vessel Traffic Services
13. Aids to Navigation
14. Ships' Manning
15. Bridge Design
16. Maintenance of Equipment
17. Electromagnetic Compatibility
18. Navigational Systems & Voyage Data Recorder
19. Shipborne Navigation Systems
20. Voyage Data Recorders
21. International Code of Signals
22. Navigation Bridge Visibility
23. Pilot Transfer Arrangements
24. Use of Heading/Track Control Systems
25. Electrical Power
26. Steering Gear
27. Charts & Nautical Publications
28. Records of Navigational Activities & Daily Reporting
29. Distress Signals
30. Operational Limitations
31. Danger Messages
32. Information Required in Danger Messages:
33. Distress Situations
34. Safe Navigation
34-1 Master's Discretion
35. Misuse of Distress Signals
Regulation Appendix
A1. Categories of Waters & Classes of Ships
A2. Table of Requirements for Ships
A3. Nautical Charts & Publications
A4. WMO Maritime Services
A5. Routeing Systems
A6. Safe Manning
A7. Equipment Manuals
A8. Performance Standards & Type Approval
A9. Performance Standards for Navigational Equipment
A10. Voyage Data Recorders
A11. Navigation Equipment - New Ships
A12. Navigation Equipment - Existing Ships
A13. Magnetic Compass
A14. Electronic Charts
A15. Radar Reflectors
A16. Radar Equipment
A17. Automatic Identification Systems
A18. Steering Gear, Heading & Track Control Systems
A19. High Speed Craft Code
A20. Inspection & Survey of Navigational Equipment
A21. Pilot Transfer Arrangements
A22. Recording of Navigational Events
A23. Passenger Ship Operational Limitations
A24. Voyage Planning
A25. Guidelines for Voyage Planning
Regulation 23 - Pilot Transfer Arrangements


  • Requirements for pilot boarding arrangements.
  • Responsibilities for ship's personnel in rigging pilot transfer equipment.
  • Requirements for associated equipment
  • Requirements for clear access and lighting.
Regulation 23


1.1 Ships engaged on voyages in the course of which pilots are likely to be employed shall be provided with pilot transfer arrangements.
1.2 Equipment and arrangements for pilot transfer which are installed on or after 1 January 1994 shall comply with the requirements of this regulation, and due regard shall be paid to the standards adopted by the Organization*.
1.3 Equipments and arrangements for pilot transfer which are provided on ships before 1 January 1994 shall at least comply with the requirements of regulation 17 of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974 in force prior to that date, and due regard shall be paid to the standards adopted by the Organization prior to that date.
1.4 Equipment and arrangements which are replaced after 1 January 1994 shall, in so far as is reasonable and practicable, comply with the requirements of this regulation.

*Refer to the Recommendation on pilot transfer arrangements, adopted by the Organization by
resolution A.889(21) A.889(21), MSC/Circ.568/Rev.1: Required Boarding Arrangement for Pilots.




2.1 All arrangements used for pilot transfer shall efficiently fulfil their purpose of enabling pilots to embark and disembark safely. The appliances shall be kept clean, properly maintained and stowed and shall be regularly inspected to ensure that they are safe to use. They shall be used solely for the embarkation and disembarkation of personnel.
2.2 The rigging of the pilot transfer arrangements and the embarkation of a pilot shall be supervised by a responsible officer having means of communication with the navigation bridge who shall also arrange for the escort of the pilot by a safe route to and from the navigation bridge. Personnel engaged in rigging and operating any mechanical equipment shall be instructed in the safe procedures to be adopted and the equipment shall be tested prior to use.

Transfer arrangements

3.1 Arrangements shall be provided to enable the pilot to embark and disembark safely on either side of the ship.
3.2 In all ships where the distance from sea level to the point of access to, or egress from, the ship exceeds 9 m, and when it is intended to embark and disembark pilots by means of the accommodation ladder, or by means of mechanical pilot hoists or other equally safe and convenient means in conjunction with a pilot ladder, the ship shall carry such equipment on each side, unless the equipment is capable of being transferred for use on either side.
3.3 Safe and convenient access to, and egress from, the ship shall be provided by either:
3.3.1 a pilot ladder requiring a climb of not less than 1.5 m and not more than 9 m above the surface of the water so positioned and secured that: it is clear of any possible discharges from the ship; it is within the parallel body length of the ship and, as far as is practicable, within the mid-ship half length of the ship; each step rests firmly against the ship's side; where constructional features, such as rubbing bands, would prevent the implementation of this provision, special arrangements shall, to the satisfaction of the Administration, be made to ensure that persons are able to embark and disembark safely; the single length of pilot ladder is capable of reaching the water from the point of access to, or egress from, the ship and due allowance is made for all conditions of loading and trim of the ship, and for an adverse list of 15°; the securing strong point, shackles and securing ropes shall be at least as strong as the side ropes;
3.2 an accommodation ladder in conjunction with the pilot ladder, or other equally safe and convenient means, whenever the distance from the surface of the water to the point of access to the ship is more than 9 m. The accommodation ladder shall be sited leading aft. When in use, the lower end of the accommodation ladder shall rest firmly against the ship's side within the parallel body length of the ship and, as far as is practicable, within the mid-ship half length and clear of all discharges; or
3.3 a mechanical pilot hoist so located that it is within the parallel body length of the ship and, as far as is practicable, within the mid-ship half length of the ship and clear of all discharges.



Access to the ship's deck

Means shall be provided to ensure safe, convenient and unobstructed passage for any person embarking on, or disembarking from, the ship between the head of the pilot ladder, or of any accommodation ladder or other appliance, and the ship's deck. Where such passage is by means of:

4.1 a gateway in the rails or bulwark, adequate handholds shall be provided;

a bulwark ladder, two handhold stanchions rigidly secures to the ship's structure at or near their bases and at higher points shall be fitted. The bulwark ladder shall be securely attached to the ship to prevent overturning.



Shipside doors

Shipside doors used for pilot transfer shall not open outwards.



Mechanical pilot hoists

6.1 The mechanical pilot hoist and its ancillary equipment shall be of a type approved by the Administration. The pilot hoist shall be designed to operate as a moving ladder to lift and lower one person on the side of the ship, or as a platform to lift and lower one or more persons on the side of the ship. It shall be of such design and construction as to ensure that the pilot can be embarked and disembarked in a safe manner, including a safe access from the hoist to the deck and vice versa. Such access shall be gained directly by a platform securely guarded by handrails.
6.2 Efficient hand gear shall be provided to lower or recover the person or persons carried, and kept ready for use in the event of power failure.
6.3 The hoist shall be securely attached to the structure of the ship. Attachment shall not be solely by means of the ship's side rails. Proper and strong attachment points shall be provided for hoists of the portable type on each side of the ship.
6.4 If belting is fitted in the way of the hoist position, such belting shall be cut back sufficiently to allow the hoist to operate against the ship's side.
6.5 A pilot ladder shall be rigged adjacent to the hoist and available for immediate use so that access to it is available from the hoist at any point of its travel. The pilot ladder shall be capable of reaching the sea level from its own point of access to the ship.
6.6 The position on the ship's side where the hoist will be lowered shall be indicated.

An adequate protected stowage position shall be provided for the portable hoist. In very cold weather, to avoid the danger of ice formation, the portable hoist shall not be rigged until its use is imminent.



Associated equipment

7.1 The following associated equipment shall be kept at hand ready for immediate use when persons are being transferred;
7.1.1 two man-ropes of not less than 28 mm in diameter properly secured to the ship, if required by the pilot;
7.1.2 a lifebuoy equipped with a self-igniting light;
7.1.3 a heaving line.
7.2 When required by paragraph 4, stanchions and bulwark ladders shall be provided.


Adequate lighting shall be provided to illuminate the transfer arrangements overside, the position on deck where a person embarks or disembarks and the controls of the mechanical pilot hoist.

MCA Guidance
1. The Regulation applies to any ship which is likely to employ a pilot (1.1). with equipment and arrangements installed on or after 1 January 1994 (1.2). It does not apply to UK ships below 150 gt on any voyage, UK ships below 500 gt not on international voyages or fishing vessels, unless they are likely to employ a pilot.
2. Replaces and revises SOLAS V/74 Regulation 17.
3. Regulation 23 replaces The Merchant Shipping (Pilot Transfer Arrangements) Regulations 1999 (SI 1999/17).
4. The Regulation, together with IMO Resolution A.889(21)Pilot Transfer Arrangements and the following Guidance Notes, supersede MSN 1716.
5. Equipment and arrangements installed before 1 January 1994 may continue to comply with the SOLAS requirements in force before that date, but if it is replaced, the new equipment and arrangements must comply with this Regulation.(1.3 & 1.4).
6. Ships' personnel should particularly note the requirements for correct maintenance and rigging and use of the equipment (2.1) and the requirement for supervision by a responsible officer and instruction of personnel (2.2). They should further ensure that the provisions for safe and convenient access (3.3) and access to the deck (4) are met.
7. When mechanical pilot hoists are used, ships' personnel should ensure that they are rigged and used strictly in accordance with the requirements of this Regulation (6).
8. Ships' personnel must also ensure that the required associated equipment (7) and lighting arrangements (8) are in place.

See also ANNEX 21- Pilot Transfer Arrangements


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