CAP 437 6th Edition : Offshore helicopter landing areas – Guidance on standards

  • Operations notice: 78
  • Issue date:  15/01/09


This notice advises dutyholders that the 6th Edition of  CAP437 has been published and is available for downloading direct from the CAA website.

The attached table, prepared by CAA, summarises the main changes between the 5th and 6th editions, and how CAA would expect to see these changes administered (by HCA on behalf of the offshore helicopter operators) in respect to new build installations and to existing installations and vessels, including refurbishments. CAP 437 also includes for the first time new design requirements for winching areas on wind turbine platforms. The table is not intended to record every difference between the two latest editions but is intended only to highlight areas of significant change.


CAP 437 gives guidance on the criteria required by the CAA in assessing the standard of offshore helicopter landing areas for world-wide use by helicopters registered in the UK. These landing areas may be located on:

  • fixed offshore installations;
  • mobile offshore installations;
  • vessels supporting offshore mineral exploitation; or
  • other vessels.

The sixth edition has been revised to incorporate valuable experience gained from CAA funded research projects conducted with the support of the UK offshore industry into improved helideck lighting and the conclusion of projects, jointly funded with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), relating to offshore helideck environmental issues. In respect of helideck lighting, a detailed specification for stage 2 lighting systems (addressing illumination of the heliport identification 'H' marking and the Touchdown/Positioning Marking Circle) is provided in an Appendix; and a new reference to the final specification for helideck status lights systems is provided in Chapter 4. Chapter 3 provides formal notification of the new turbulence criterion and the removal of the long-standing vertical flow criterion.

The sixth edition has also been amended to include new ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) relating to offshore helidecks and shipboard heliports, which generally become applicable from November 2009.

It has also been revised to include material which is part of the fourth edition of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) Guide to Helicopter/Ship Operations, published in December 2008.

Current research has indicated that the likelihood of a helicopter tipping or sliding on a moving helideck is directly related to helideck accelerations and to the prevailing wind conditions. Dutyholders operating vessels with moving helidecks are therefore advised to note that future requirements are likely to include additional measuring and reporting criteria. There are also new and expanded requirements for the observation, dissemination, collection and retention of Meteorological Information with a recommendation for Meteorological Observer Training to be carried out. Further details of both issues can be found in Chapter 6.

This guidance is issued by the Health and Safety Executive. Following the guidance is not compulsory and you are free to take other action. But if you do follow the guidance you will normally be doing enough to comply with the law. Health and safety inspectors seek to secure compliance with the law and may refer to this guidance as illustrating good practice

Updated 2022-03-14