Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, .. These Rules shall apply to all vessels upon the high seas and in all waters connected. The International Rules in this book were formalized in the Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, , and became. These are in effect, the nautical alternative to the highway code. As a user of the Waterway you will interact with other craft and will have to react accordingly.
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THE RULES OF THE ROAD sea or asked at the oral examinations for the certificate of competency. The rules, explanations and model answers are. (a) These rules shall apply to all vessels upon the high seas and in all waters . ( iii) the effect on radar detection of the sea state, weather and other sources of. Abbreviated Guide To Navigation Rules Of the Road. Based on the Navigation Rules International – Inland (Commandant Instruction MD, ).
If a small vessel gets close under the bows of a vessel of m ft or more, it is likely to run it down and not even notice. Many harbourmasters with a mixed jurisdiction of commercial and leisure users, are worried that a pilot or master will, sooner or later, try to take drastic action to avoid hitting careless small boats, which will cause a major shipping catastrophe.
Given the limited manoeuvrability of large vessels, their equally limited view from the bridge and the time it takes for them to stop, this is open to debate. Certainly, professional seamen are often given anxious moments by smaller craft and that anxiety ultimately brings pressure to bear on the freedom of the water for us all.
So, again, small craft should stay well clear, which is what this rule is emphasising. All small craft are banned from this zone. When you think about it, 0.
However vessels of less than 20m 66ft in length, sailing vessels and vessels engaged in fishing may use the inshore traffic zone. Several exist in north European waters, primarily to introduce motorway-style traffic control, for areas heavily populated by commercial shipping. The first is found in paragraph a , which confirms that vessels using a TSS are not absolved of their responsibilities under the other Rules. If there is another vessel crossing the TSS and it is on a steady bearing with the attendant risk of collision associated with this, then you still have to do something.
Just because you are in a TSS does not give you any rights, whatsoever. There are some, who think that because they are in a TSS and have another vessel on their own Starboard side, they do not have to give way.
This is a totally false understanding of the regulations, as they are still obliged to give way, even if it means leaving the TSS for a short period of time. The second important point is found in paragraph j , which clearly states that all craft under 20 metres or 66 feet in length must not impede power driven vessels following a traffic lane.
In practice, given the relative manoeuvrability of small craft, there is no reason why they should do so. A vessel forced to make a course correction for a small vessel might in turn, come into conflict with another vessel in the same lane. The third important point is paragraph d. Vessels of less than 20m in length, sailing vessels and vessels engaged in fishing are able to make coastal passages along inshore traffic zones and should encounter a TSS, only when crossing one.
The rule for crossing a TSS paragraph c is very simple: The aim is to provide an aspect, which is at right angles to the ships you are likely to encounter, not to achieve a track over the ground, which is 90 degrees to the charted lane. Simply following the track to a waypoint on an electronic navigator could in fact bring about an infringement of the rules, especially if on a slow vessel when there is a strong cross-tide.
When approaching a TSS and indeed, when navigating in any area likely to be populated by other ships, it is safest to take a highly jaundiced view of whether other vessels will take any notice of you at all. Some of them even manage to hit large stationary objects, on a regular basis. For instance, it might be assumed that ferries, when crossing the Dover Strait TSS, will do so at anything up to degrees off the required course, pinching up against the tide to stay within published timetables, which is only understandable.
So far, we have looked at general rules laying down common-sense collision-avoidance practices. Now we move on to specific conventions on which way to steer, if conflict with other vessels is likely. Rule 12 applies only between two sailing vessels, although an appreciation of the principles outlined, enables you to understand better the close-quarters manoeuvring antics of yachts and dinghies, especially when they are racing one another.
Remember that the crew of a dinghy or yacht may well have their view obscured by the sails; and that although their method of propulsion is quieter than your own, they will not necessarily hear you either. The answer is simple. Are you always going to be an OOW on a large power-driven vessel?
Remember, that there are quite a few large cruise ships operating around the world that have sails and are therefore sailing ships in the truest sense of the word. Fortunately, the directions which apply to power-driven vessels are much easier, both to understand and to remember. This rule is unusual in that it firmly puts the onus on one vessel to take all necessary action, in order that a collision might be avoided.
When approaching another vessel from astern, you are deemed to be responsible for keeping clear of it, if your approach is within the degrees arc of her sternlight. If any doubt exists as to whether you are actually overtaking another vessel, you must assume that you are, and take appropriate action.
This is important, as it is obviously not possible to gauge this overtaking sector accurately during daylight hours. Always assume the worst and give plenty of sea room, allowing for sudden course or speed changes from the other vessel that can occur without any warning.
If you are approaching towards the forward extremes of the degrees arc, especially on the starboard side, note that a subsequent alteration of course by the vessel being overtaken does not relieve you of the responsibility to stay well clear. Whilst Rule 13 does not place specific responsibilities on the vessel being overtaken, other parts of the Regulations are still in force.
If you are on a large slow moving power-driven vessel and a yacht or windsurfer is going faster than you, then they are the overtaking vessel and should keep clear of you, irrespective of what Rule 18 says about power-driven vessels keeping clear of sailing vessels.
This is an example of when Rule 2 would apply with regards to the ordinary practice of seamen or by the special circumstances of the case and you would therefore, keep clear of them. This should be not so much a rule as an instinct: Remembering Rule 8, this course change must be made without delay and must be positive enough, that the other vessel can see and recognise your actions. Subtle corrections will not be noticed and could cause confusion. An important factor to note, is the wording of paragraph b.
This emphasises paragraph a and indicates that this rule applies not only when you are exactly head on to each other, but also when you are nearly head on. Experience will dictate when a head on situation no longer exists but has become a crossing situation or vice versa.
A good rule of thumb however, would be that a head on situation exists if you have a relative aspect of within approximately 5 degrees of the other vessel.
This would be when the masthead lights are nearly in line and only one of the sidelights would be visible. Additionally, there is an element of doubt so the watchkeeper would obey Paragraph C and assume that the situation exists and act accordingly.
When two power-driven vessels are crossing so as to involve risk of collision, the vessel which has the other on her own starboard side shall keep out of the way and shall, if the circumstances of the case admit, avoid crossing ahead of the other vessel. This enables a good watch to be kept in the sector represented by the arc of the starboard navigation light.
The precise definitions of these terms follow in the next two rules, but the general idea is portrayed by the names.
Although the lights will not actually be seen in daylight, it is relatively easy to remember Rule 15 in this way. The requirement to avoid crossing ahead, only applies in a crossing situations where there is a risk of collision. It does not apply to any action you may take at long distance, before a risk of collision can be deemed to exist.
Every vessel which is directed to keep out of the way of another vessel shall, so far as possible, take early and substantial action to keep well clear. In any potential collision situation, however remote the possibility of an actual accident, the remedial action required must be a partnership between the vessels involved. However, remember there are other situations in which you are directed to keep out of the way of another vessel, of which more anon.
This raises the question of what substantial action, or a bold alteration of course actually is, when taking action to avoid a collision. There are many interpretations, but these in turn depend upon varying factors such as: However, a good rule of thumb is to make an alteration of course to starboard, so as you are aiming for a point astern of the other vessel. This has the added advantage of clearly showing to the other vessel, that you have altered course by displaying a very different aspect to her and at night, she would see a change in your sidelights from green to red.
Remember, that whatever action you take, it MUST be readily apparent to the other vessel observing either visually, or by radar alone. The result of the action you take, must be that you pass the other vessel at a safe distance.
So what is a safe distance? This will depend on varying factors such as: Finally, you should remember that it is much easier being the Give Way vessel than the Stand On vessel. This is because you know or should know what you are going to do and when. Unfortunately, rather too many seamen have interpreted this rule to mean that they have absolute right of way, if approaching a vessel within the arc of its starboard navigation light. This also connects with Rule 2, which charges the vessel, owner, master and crew with taking every precaution necessary to stay safe.
No hard and fast guidelines can be given, but the same turn-to-starboard principle is best adhered to, if a course change is necessary. Remember, as far as the circumstances of the case admit, you should avoid an alteration to port for a vessel on your own port side, however tempting it might be to do so, as the result could be not only very embarrassing, but also potentially catastrophic.
However, when you are so close that action by the give way vessel alone will not result in an avoidance of the collision i. If you ever find yourself in this situation, the circumstances of the case must be taken into account and this Rule is NOT saying that in this situation you should go to Port.
The whole concept of maintaining course and speed applies only if a definite risk of collision occurs; and even then, only if no other factors apply.
Taking the most controversial situation of one vessel approaching another vessel: In other words, as soon as the OOW is not happy with what the other vessel is doing, he will himself start to do something about it.
In circumstances, however, where risk of collision exists, she shall comply with the Rules of this part. However, applying Rule 2 again, taking into account the special circumstances of the case, it would be the practice of good seamanship to keep clear of a vessel CBD, due to her special condition and limited manoeuvring room. Rule 2, the practice of good seamanship etc. A power driven vessel shall have her engines ready for immediate manoeuvre.
If so, she shall take avoiding action in ample time, provided that when such action consists of an alteration in course, so far as possible the following shall be avoided: She shall if necessary take all her way off and in any event navigate with extreme caution until danger of collision is over. This means that you could for example, be steaming in beautifully clear visibility on one side of the ship, but have a fog bank fairly close by, on the other.
In this situation, this rule will apply. Logically, the other rules cannot apply in cases of bad visibility, as the ships are not in sight of one another. With regard to paragraph b , the use of engines as a means of collision avoidance has already been discussed, but nevertheless, they should be ready for manoeuvre, as their use may be the only course of action that the OOW has, to avoid a collision.
Paragraph c includes an assessment of safe speed that must be made, that takes into account your radar characteristics and efficiency which is a reference back to Rule 6 paragraph b and Rule 7 b and c. Paragraph d is rather efficient and very easy to follow, provided only two ships are involved.
Unfortunately, in many circumstances, a risk of collision exists with several vessels at once and manoeuvring for one of them can bring others onto a collision course. This takes real skill and can only be achieved through experience. Paragraph e is self-explanatory BUT it must be remembered that this is not always the best course of action to take. With Also, it is worth noting that Rule 13 does not apply in restricted visibility. However, again with the practice of good seamanship, an overtaking vessel would be expected to keep clear.
So, when are you overtaking in fog? You must therefore plot the other vessel on radar, in order to determine her course and speed. Having plotted the other vessel, it would be good practice to assume that you are overtaking her, if you are approaching the other vessel from aft of her beam. Although this is not laid down in the Rules, the practice of good seamanship would determine that this would be a prudent course of action to take.
This rule details specifically when navigation lights should be exhibited on any vessel. However, most commercial ships never switch their navigation lights off once they are underway, which could be argued that they are complying with paragraph c , as they deem it to be necessary to show them at all times. This could be likened to driving a car. In a vessel of less than 20 meters in length the sidelights may be combined in one lantern carried on the fore and aft centerline of the vessel.
It is recommended that you draw the arcs of visibility of lights out on a piece of paper, in order that you can determine clearly in your own mind, what is where. The lights prescribed in these Rules shall have an intensity as specified in Section 8 of Annex I to these Regulations so as to be visible at the following minimum ranges: The above rule is self-explanatory and needs little further amplification.
However, it must be asked why a minimum range has been specified for navigation lights. Apart from the most obvious reason that, if they were not, most shipping companies would probably still be issuing candles for navigation lights, the minimum ranges also help determine when a risk of collision can be deemed to exist. However, this would depend on what type of vessels are involved and their respective manoeuvring and handling characteristics.
On all power-driven vessels, the masthead light is in fact the light that is on the foremast. If the vessel is over 50m in length or under in some circumstances then the second masthead light is the one, on top of the accommodation if all aft superstructure. The second masthead light would have been on top of the accommodation that was at the aft end of the vessel.
The remainder of the Rule is self explanatory, detailing the lights that vessels of shorter lengths than 50m should display in lieu of, or in addition to the standard navigation lights, that are detailed in paragraph a.
The vessel could very well be stopped and not making way through the water, but she is still underway. Therefore, assumptions cannot be made when you see masthead lights and sidelights of another vessel that she is underway and making way.
She could be, for example, be stopped and picking up a pilot. When the length of the tow measuring from the stern of the towing vessel to the after end of the tow exceeds metres, three such lights in a vertical line;.
All possible measures shall be taken to indicate the nature of the relationship between the towing vessel and the vessel being towed as authorized by Rule 36, in particular by illuminating the towline. This is an incredibly complicated rule to read and understand, due to the continuous references to Rule 23 and also referencing back within Rule Remarkably, provided that the drawing is done correctly, then this Rule becomes simplicity itself — honestly!
For example, a vessel towing may have two or three masthead lights in a vertical line, but a vessel pushing will only ever have two. Some types of vessel mentioned within this Rule have been found to require amplification. A composite unit paragraph b is a composition of one or more units that are capable of being mechanically locked together with a tug. When they are so connected, to all intents and purposes, they become a single power driven vessel.
A dracone paragraph g i is a large a rubber bag, usually filled with oil. It therefore floats just on the surface and is extremely hard to see. This rule is self-explanatory, but again, it is helpful to draw the characteristics described in this rule in order to obtain a full understanding.
Could be a:.
Sailing vessel, under power. Any vessel engaged in fishing must display the lights prescribed in the Rule. There is no relaxation for small fishing vessels. All vessels engaged in fishing, are required to show their sidelights and sternlight when making way through the water. These are one of the few types of vessel, for which it is possible to say with some confidence, whether they are underway and making way, or just underway.
Note that Rule 26 paragraph b gives a definition of a vessel engaged in trawling that is not found in Rule 3. Trawlers and fishing vessels, to all intents and purposes, are just Fishing Vessels under these Rules, but they show different light characteristics. Also note, that a single masthead light is only compulsory for fishing vessels engaged in trawling, when they are over 50m in length and is optional if they are under this length.
As soon as they stop trawling, they revert to being an ordinary power driven vessel and hence, must show the lights for a vessel of that length. A fishing vessel engaged in fishing is NOT permitted to display the additional masthead light, irrespective of her length. Rule 26 c. The highest and lowest of these lights shall be red and the middle light shall be white;. The highest and lowest of these shapes shall be balls and the middle one a diamond.
Measures shall be taken to ensure its all-round visibility. One of these lights or shapes shall be exhibited near the foremast head and one at each end of the fore yard. These lights or shapes indicate that it is dangerous for another vessel to approach within metres of the mineclearance vessel. Such signals are contained in Annex IV to these Regulations. A power driven vessel or a sailing vessel can be NUC.
Note that sidelights are to be shown whilst this type of vessel is still making way, but are to be switched off when stopped and no longer making way.
Note paragraph g , where vessels of less than 12m in length are not required to show the lights prescribed in the Rule, unless they are engaged in Diving Operations. A vessel Not Under Command. A vessel Restricted in her Ability to Manoeuvre. A power-driven vessel Restricted in her Ability to Manoeuvre either: RULE A vessel constrained by her draft may, in addition to the lights prescribed for power driven vessels in Rule 23, exhibit where they can best be seen three all-round red lights in a vertical line, or a cylinder.
This rule is simplicity itself, but has been found to frequently cause confusion. The lights prescribed are usually confused with a vessel aground, which shows a completely separate set of lights and shapes, of which more later, in Rule Additionally, it is always assumed that a vessel that is CBD is a large vessel.
This is not always the case and relatively small vessels may be CBD, as the rule governing the definition relates directly to the available depth and width of navigable water. Therefore a vessel less than 50 metres in length could be CBD.
A power-driven vessel, Constrained by her Draught. The easiest way to remember these lights and not confuse them with vessels engaged in fishing, is that when a Pilot comes up the ladder, you see first his white hat the white all round light followed by his red nose the red all round light. These lights are identification lights only and are thus, not informing about a priority status, but a Pilot Vessel is the only class of vessel that displays its identification lights, whilst alongside.
Usually the anchor chain is more often than not seen before the black ball on vessels at anchor. However, note particularly paragraphs e and f when length limitations apply to vessels required to show these signals. In short, a vessel less than 7m in length does not need to show anchor lights or shapes, provided it is not in or near a narrow channel or fairway and a vessel less than 12m in length is not obliged to show signals indicating that it is aground.
A vessel at anchor. This could be: Rule 30 d ii. A vessel aground. Where it is impracticable for a seaplane or a WIG craft to exhibit lights or shapes of the characteristics or in the positions prescribed in the Rules of this Part she shall exhibit lights and shapes as closely similar in characteristics and position as is possible.
A large seaplane at anchor may have white lights on the wingtips, in addition to white lights fore and aft. All whistle signals prescribed in the Rules, are specified in terms of short and prolonged blasts, so it useful to learn their respective definitions. The bell or gong or both may be replaced by other equipment having the same respective sound characteristics, provided that manual sounding of the required signals shall always be possible. The specifications for a whistle are given in Annex III, but in short, a vessel m or more in length produces a deep tone and vessels less than 75m in length produce a relatively shrill tone.
An intermediate tone is produced for vessel between these sizes. Paragraph a allows for the bell and gong to be replaced by other equipment having the same characteristics. However, it should be born in mind, that a bell and gong are still required to be carried.
Such signal may be supplemented by at least five short and rapid flashes. Such signal shall be answered with a prolonged blast by any approaching vessel that may be within hearing around the bend or behind the intervening obstruction. The signals described in paragraphs a , b , c and d are only to be given by vessels in visual sight of one another.
Paragraph e is obviously intended to apply in clear visibility. Manoeuvring signals should not be given when taking avoiding action for a vessel detected by radar and CAN NOT be seen visually, due to restricted visibility. This does not mean that just because a poor visual lookout is being kept, sounding of these signals is excused. Note also that paragraph a applies only to a power driven vessel and not to sailing vessels. Sailing vessels are not permitted to give manoeuvring signals when taking action to avoid collision.
However, the remaining paragraphs of this rule apply to ALL vessels.
Even a small alteration of course, if it is authorised or required under these Rules, must generally be indicated by the appropriate whistle signal.
Note also, that the sound signal is the one required to be given by the Rules and not the light signal. The light is signal purely supplementary to the sound signal and logically, would be shown at night, to visually indicate which vessel had just given the whistle signal. These signals are only to be used when taking action that is authorised or required by these Rules and not for indicating alterations of course to counter the effect of tide, or to check the swing of a vessel.
Sound signals need not be given if action is taken for a vessel in sight, but at long range, before a risk of collision exists.
But if the Rules do apply, the signals must be sounded even if it is thought that they will not be heard. When practicable, this signal shall be made immediately after the signal made by the towing vessel. In a vessel meters or more in length the bell shall be sounded in the forepart of the vessel and immediately after the ringing of the bell the gong shall be sounded rapidly for about 5 seconds in the after part of the vessel. A vessel at anchor may in addition sound three blasts in succession, namely one short, one long and one short blast, to give warning of her position and of the possibility of collision to an approaching vessel.
A vessel aground may in addition sound an appropriate whistle signal. However, if she does not, shall make some other efficient sound signal at intervals of not more than 2 minutes. Fog signals must be made, when operating in or near, an area of restricted visibility and especially when approaching such an area.
However, the density of fog, which necessitates the use of fog signals, has not been defined. It is argued that there is little point in generating sound signals, when the actual visibility is equal to, or greater, than the audible range of the sound signals being used. But if the visibility is reduced, then it would be prudent to operate the sound signals in accordance with the practice of good seamanship i.
Some students have found it easier to equate the sound signals to their morse code counterparts.
Shall sound one prolonged blast followed by two short blasts, at intervals not exceeding 2 minutes. Note here, that the towing vessel does not have to be Restricted in its Ability to Manoeuvre as defined in Rule 3 g , as the above whistle signal is to be given by any vessel engaged in towing any other vessel.
Rule 12 states action to be taken when two sailing vessels are approaching one another. Rule 13covers overtaking - the overtaking vessel should keep out of the way of the vessel being overtaken. Rule 14 deals with head-on situations. Crossing situations are covered by Rule 15 and action to be taken by the give-way vessel is laid down in Rule Rule 17 deals with the action of the stand-on vessel, including the provision that the stand-on vessel may "take action to avoid collision by her manoeuvre alone as soon as it becomes apparent to her that the vessel required to keep out of the way is not taking appropriate action.
Rule 18 deals with responsibilities between vessels and includes requirements for vessels which shall keep out of the way of others. Section III - conduct of vessels in restricted visibility Rule 19 Rule 19 states every vessel should proceed at a safe speed adapted to prevailing circumstances and restricted visibility.
A vessel detecting by radar another vessel should determine if there is risk of collision and if so take avoiding action. A vessel hearing fog signal of another vessel should reduce speed to a minimum. Part C Lights and Shapes Rules Rule 20 states rules concerning lights apply from sunset to sunrise.
Rule 21 gives definitions. Rule 22 covers visibility of lights - indicating that lights should be visible at minimum ranges in nautical miles determined according to the type of vessel. Rule 23 covers lights to be carried by power-driven vessels underway.
Rule 24 covers lights for vessels towing and pushing. Rule 25 covers light requirements for sailing vessels underway and vessels under oars. Rule 26 covers light requirements for fishing vessels. Rule 27 covers light requirements for vessels not under command or restricted in their ability to manoeuvre. Rule 28 covers light requirements for vessels constrained by their draught. Rule 29 covers light requirements for pilot vessels. Rule 30 covers light requirements for vessels anchored and aground.
Rule 31 covers light requirements for seaplanes Part D - Sound and Light Signals Rules Rule 32 gives definitions of whistle, short blast, and prolonged blast. Rule 33 says vessels 12 metres or more in length should carry a whistle and a bell and vessels metres or more in length should carry in addition a gong.
Rule 34 covers manoeuvring and warning signals, using whistle or lights. Rule 35 covers sound signals to be used in restricted visibility. Rule 36 covers signals to be used to attract attention.
Rule 37 covers distress signals. Part E - Exemptions Rule 38 Rule 38 says ships which comply with the Collision Regulations and were built or already under construction when the Collision Regulations entered into force may be exempted from some requirements for light and sound signals for specified periods.