Subchapter M Regulations: What's New

October 29, 2019

Navigating New Lighting Regulations

By: Caitlin Dunckel, Market Manager - Maritime

I recently attended the Subchapter M Conference in Baltimore where the main theme was “Regulation vs. Reality." Many questions were raised regarding new Subchapter M rules and regulations, including those impacting illumination. Many tug operators remain unclear of the best practice to take when complying with the new rules. From a lighting perspective, those rules as specified by the Code of Federal Regulations are as follows:

§143.410   Shipboard lighting.

(a) Sufficient lighting suitable for the marine environment must be provided within crew working and living areas.

(b) Emergency lighting must be provided for all internal crew working and living areas. Emergency lighting sources must provide for sufficient illumination under emergency conditions to facilitate egress from each space and must be either:

(1) Automatic, battery-operated with a duration of no less than 2 hours; or

(2) Non-electric, phosphorescent adhesive lighting strips that are installed along escape routes and sufficiently visible to enable egress with no power.

(c) Each towing vessel must be equipped with at least two portable, battery-powered lights. One must be located in the pilothouse and the other at the access to the engine room.

The majority of lighting discussion amongst tug operators surrounded the new Subchapter M requirement that a 120-minute emergency backup battery must be installed for emergency lighting. This is something that owners and operators are finding difficult to source, as 90 minutes has historically been the standard offering

I was happy to be able to discuss Phoenix as a viable option to satisfy this new requirement. Phoenix designed a 120-minute, Subchapter M compliant, emergency backup battery with our newest light - the Wayfinder!

For any shipyard, architect or operator looking for a viable option, the Wayfinder is a durable and attractive LED that is perfect for your ship’s working and living areas. Because we know that the fixtures you choose need to be more than just Subchapter M compliant, this fixture is also built to withstand all of the harsh conditions your ship encounters at sea.

Please click here to learn all the details about the Wayfinder™. And if you have additional questions regarding any of the vessel lighting requirements, please feel free to contact me at