Classification Societies

Delivering real business benefits across key segments

Delivering real business benefits across key segments

What are classification societies?

Classification societies certify that the construction of a marine vessel complies with relevant standards, and they also conduct regular in-service surveys to ensure ongoing compliance. The role of classification societies has been recognised in the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, (SOLAS) and in the 1988 Protocol to the International Convention on Load Lines. While there are more than 100 different classification societies worldwide, the major ones are internationally recognised and together form the International Organisation of Classification Societies (IACS).

Why are classification societies important?

The objective of classification is to verify the structural strength, integrity and functionality of the vessel and its essential parts. It is therefore both the ship and everything on board that must be classified, such as machinery, equipment and systems. Without a classification society certificate, a vessel cannot be registered and the vessel’s owner cannot obtain marine insurance. Some ports or waterways may also demand the classification society certificate before a vessel is given permission to enter. To add to this complexity the recommended values for type tests may vary between classification societies, with test requirements also differing depending on the location of where equipment will be installed onboard the vessel.

To be able to operate in the international marine shipping industry you must comply with International Maritime Organization (IMO) legislation. While classification is optional, all classification societies’ regulatory frameworks include IMO legislation and are used as a base to prove compliance with specific flag state rules.

Why choose TÜV SÜD for classification societies?

As a UKAS accredited test laboratory (No. 0432 and No. 0141), TÜV SÜD works with the main classification societies, including ABS, BV, DNV GL, LR, NK, PRS and RINA. We offer a complete environmental simulation service to meet all of your marine type approval requirements. This includes the IACS’ requirements concerning electrical and electronic installations, and we can deliver a testing programme based on the IACS’ E10 standard (Test Specification for Type approval).

TÜV SÜD services

Acting as your partner to ensure that your products comply with classification requirements, TÜV SÜD supports you through this complexity, performing the relevant EMC and environmental simulation tests, including: 

  • Climatic - our test chambers are continuously monitored by independent computer-controlled data collection systems, and cover extremes of temperature, altitude, humidity, temperature cycling, solar heating and corrosive atmospheres.
  • Ingress protection - we assess equipment to its appropriate IP code to ensure the effectiveness of enclosures against the intrusion of solid bodies and/or liquid. Test services include IP1x to IP6x (protection against objects) and IPx1 to IPx8 (protection against liquids).
  • Vibration - our vibration shakers are controlled and monitored by state-of-the-art equipment and software to produce a range of profiles, including sinusoidal, random, sine-on-random and bump.
  • EMC testing - our testing facilities are among the most comprehensively equipped in Europe and will help you ensure the product’s electromagnetic compatibility to meet regulatory requirements, improve product performance and reduce the risk of costly non-compliance.


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