The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) is an international maritime safety treaty. The SOLAS Convention in its successive forms is generally regarded as the most important of all international treaties concerning the safety of merchant ships.
The first version of the treaty was passed in 1914 in response to the sinking of the RMS Titanic. It prescribed numbers of lifeboats and other emergency equipment along with safety procedures, including continuous radio watches.
Newer versions were adopted in 1929, 1948, 1960, and 1974.
The intention had been to keep the convention up to date by periodic amendments, but the procedure to incorporate the amendments proved to be very slow: it could take several years for the amendments to be put into action since countries had to give notice of acceptance to IMO and there was a minimum threshold of countries and tonnage.
As a result, a complete new convention was adopted in 1974 which includes all the agreements and acceptant procedures. Even the Convention was updated and amended on numerous times, the Convention in force today is sometimes referred as SOLAS, 1974.