Are you ready for SOLAS Chapter II-2?

On the 1st of July 2018, all ships must conform to the SOLAS Chapter II-2 regulation (IMO resolution MSC.338(91)) to be equipped with a minimum of 2 intrinsically safe, explosion proof firefighting two-way radios for use by the ships firefighting team.   This regulation means that each firefighter outfit on board your ship must be equipped with a two-way radio that conforms to regulation 10.10.4 “fire-fighter´s communication”.

This regulation was added to SOLAS Chapter II-2 10.10.4 on the 30th of November 2012 and took effect on all new ships built after the 1st of July 2014.  Ships built before this date have been given a grace period to conform to the new regulation by the 1st of July 2018. After this date, action can be taken against your ships readiness when inspected.  More details of this regulations can be found here on the SOLAS Chapter II-2 Regulation 10.10.4 White Paper.

Intrinsically safe radio

You might ask, what is an intrinsically safe radio? In simple terms, it is a radio that has been built from the ground up with safety for hazardous environments in mind.  Equipment that is built intrinsically safe has prevention for spark, heat, and explosion for normal use including the event of the equipment being damaged. For example, a normal mobile phone could explode if its lithium battery is damaged by being dropped, bent or overcharged whereas a device that is intrinsically safe is immune to this within the standards set by various regulating bodies.

When operating in hazardous environments with a risk of flammable fumes, dust, and smoke, it is important for all your equipment to be safe from causing a spark. When firefighting, you are forced to operate in an environment filled with all of these dangers.

ATEX intrinsically safe symbol logo required for SOLAS Chapter II-2 compliant radios

Example of ATEX Logo applied to certified equipment


When buying intrinsically safe equipment, the international standard to follow is called ATEX. Equipment approved by ATEX standards is safe to use in the hazardous zone marked by its ATEX certificate.  Be sure that when you buy ATEX approved equipment that you keep in mind which hazardous zone you need to use the equipment in and do not forget that all accessories must also be ATEX approved.

Cobham Sailor 3965 UHF Fire Fighter Radio

Sailor 3965 UHF Fire Fighter radio

Firefighter Radio

What makes a good firefighter radio? There are various features that you need to be sure that you have the right radio.  Such features include being rugged and waterproof, having large buttons that you can operate with gloves on, to work on a frequency band able to best cover your full area of operations and of course to be intrinsically safe with an ATEX rating.

At Communications Specialist we recommend the Sailor 3965 UF Fire Fighter radio. This radio covers all of the aforementioned criteria for firefighter radios and is available right now at a competitive price from our UK HQ.

Using the UHF part of the radio spectrum, the radio is best suited for operating through dense environments such as below deck on a ship with the ability to penetrate through more walls than VHF radios.

With its bright red colour, it is quick and easy to identify as your Firefighter radio among lots of other equipment you may be using and has large buttons on its face enabling you to operate it without problems when wearing gloves.

Accessories are also available for this radio such as firefighting respirator adapters, standard headsets/earpieces, carry case and single-use spare batteries (always useful to have on standby as they have a 7-year storage life and can help you out in an emergency if someone fails to maintain the standard lithium batteries).

Don’t leave it too late to comply with SOLAS Chapter II-2

Get ready in time for the 1st of July 2018 deadline to make sure you have no interruptions to your shipping operations and speak to one of our advisors right now via the instant chat or contact form.


  • Michal Budner says:

    Good day,
    What kind of IMO SIGN mariners should use for marking location of portable firefighter radios on board the vessel and updating F&S plans?
    Thank you in advance for prompt reply.

    Best regards,

    Michal Budner

    Master of mt Amonith
    IMO 9164093

    • Marcus Taylor says:

      It is a good question Michal. As of yet, there is not an official policy for marking these radios, however, we have taken the initiative to produce a sign that follows existing protocols that can be used to clearly mark the location of your Fire Fighter radios. Please contact our sales department on [email protected] for more details.

  • Max McCann says:

    Great blog post, thanks for sharing.

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