Securing Vehicles & Cargo on Ferries Guide

During poor weather conditions on ferries, vehicles and cargo endure extreme levels of movement. To avoid cargo slipping off the trailer, all cargo must be secured to the bed of the trailer. The most important thing is to make sure that the transported goods are correctly positioned and secured as per the operator you are travelling with.

Securing Cargo Checklist

  • The load within the HGV trailer should be secured to the bed of the trailer
  • All HGV, trucks and trailers should be fitted with sufficient anchor points
  • Canopies should be closed before sailing
  • Spansets and tension rods should be checked by the driver before leaving the trailer
  • Unaccompanied trailers should use a separate trestle and the trestle point for support and not use the landing legs which cannot stand the pressure of the load and trailer under sea conditions
Gross Vehicle MassMin no. lashing rings on each side
3.5t ≤ GVM ≤ 20t2
20t < GVM ≤ 30t3
30t < GVM ≤ 40t4

Acceptable Lashing Points

acceptable lashing points diagram

Trestle Pointtrestle pointThe landing legs cannot stand the pressure of the load and weight of the trailer under sea conditions. Therefore a trestle is used to sit the trailer onto so that landing legs do not touch the deck of the ship. The trestle point is a steel sheet welded across the chassis of the trailer etc.
Lashing Pointslashing pointsTo prevent a vehicle from moving whilst at sea the trailer is lashed down using chains. All unaccompanied units must have 8 lashing rings to prevent the vehicle moving.

acceptable lashing points

Operator Rules

Rules can vary between operators, although they are all generally in aid of the same thing and comply with international regulations on the safety of maritime transport, there are specific ways some operators like you to lash your vehicle or requirements for securing points, such as:

DFDS Seaways

Lashing Points on Rosslare ⇄ Dunkerque Route

P&O Ferries

Please refer to the rules governing securing of cargo at sea as issued by the UK Maritime & Coastguard Agency under regulation number MGN 418 (M) in accordance with the International Maritime Organisation’s resolution A.581 (14). The rules state that a standard freight unit must be equipped with FOUR approved lashings brackets on each side to ensure loading and lashing in a manner safe for sea transport. In addition SDV tractor units must have approved lashing/towing eye at the front of the vehicle, otherwise shipment may be refused.

Stena Line

When on board a Stena Line ferry, they require you to adhere to the recommendations set out in the Code of Safe Practice for Cargo Stowage and Securing (CSS Code). This requires that every truck (including semi-trailers without tractor units) be equipped with at least four approved ferry/securing brackets on each side of the vehicle. This ensures that loading and securing to the deck is done in a safe and appropriate manner for carriage at sea.


Semi-trailers should be equipped with certified rings for sea transport or factory holes for fastening the hooks of the fastening belts. If not, the operator is forced to attach loads for the semi-trailer frame structure, which may in extreme cases cause damage to the structure of the semi-trailer.

Unity Line

The load must be distributed evenly throughout the entire semi-trailer, which should be equipped with fastening hooks, with the rest being taken care of by the crew. The maximum height of the semi-trailer is 4.2m.

TT Line

Only vehicles with anchorages are permitted. This rule applies not only to vehicles transporting dangerous goods. Securing loads regardless of the weather is recommended to ensure optimal safety of the ferry.

Caledonian MacBrayne

Guidance for Road Hauliers | Lashing Point Arrangements

Irish Ferries

A freight unit must be equipped with approved lashing brackets (according to the requirements in IMO “Code of Safe Practice for Cargo Stowage and Securing”) and BS EN 29367-1:1994, ISO 9367-1:1989. This means that every freight unit must be equipped with at least six (6) approved lashings brackets on each side to ensure loading and lashing in a manner safe for sea transport. More info

Not sure about freight ferry lashing and trestle point requirements? Speak to our customer service team on live chat, email us or call 01772 282 592.