When we climb aboard any kind of boat or ship, we don’t often think of the lifeboat hanging off the side. While we hope never to use it, it is essential that it functions as intended and gets everyone to shore should the need arise.

A sea anchor is a vital component to a rescue boat, reducing the likelihood of it drifting away or spinning around, and keeps it steady in the wind. International guidelines for the performance and safety of sea anchors have just been updated to bring them in line with the International Maritime Organization’s International Life-Saving Appliance Code.

Robin Townsend, Chair of the ISO technical subcommittee that developed the standard, said ISO 17339:2018, Ships and marine technology – Life saving and fire protection – Sea anchors for survival craft and rescue boats, specifies the requirements, including details such as minimum required drag and resistance to weather.

“This standard is designed to provide manufacturers with what is required to ensure the anchors not only work effectively, but withstand the conditions in which they are stored,” he said. “It also features test methods such as for strength, towing and corrosion.”

ISO 17339 was developed by ISO technical committee ISO/TC 8, Ships and marine technology, subcommittee SC 1, Maritime safety, whose secretariat is held by ANSI, ISO’s member for the USA. It can be purchased from your national ISO member or through the ISO Store.