Any partially-enclosed open deck area that is covered with an overhanging deck in excess of 10 meters is considered an enclosed space requiring fire protection appropriate for the fire load and use. Similar areas covered for less than 10 meters are considered type 5 areas, as described in SOLAS II-2/Regulation 9, provided that all of the high-risk features, such as galley ranges, beneath the overhang are separated from the surrounding areas.

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Additionally, the trend of providing further amenities on open decks has also driven the installation of awnings and other similar coverings. These types of arrangements are covered by MSC.1/Circ.1274, “Guidelines for Evaluation of Fire Risk of External Areas on Passenger Ships,” which details a variety of factors that should be considered when evaluating the fire risk and impact of a fire in all external areas.

Awnings and similar coverings have to be of approved low flame-spread material and should not be capable of producing excessive quantities of smoke and toxic products or not give rise to toxic hazards at high temperatures.

These areas should not risk passengers and crew during an emergency. Mitigation measures should be applied depending on the results of the fire risk assessment detailed in MSC.1/Circ.1274. This assessment should be made available to MSC during new construction or modification plan review and subsequent Certificate of Compliance examinations if using awnings and similar coverings on open deck areas.