Such special rules shall conform as closely as possible to these Rules. These additional station or signal lights, shapes or whistle signals shall, so far as possible, be such that they cannot be mistaken for any light, shape or signal authorised elsewhere under these Rules. In determining a safe speed the following factors shall be among those taken into account: a By all vessels: i the state of visibility; ii the traffic density including concentrations of fishing vessels or any other vessels; iii the manoeuvrability of the vessel with special reference to stopping distance and turning ability in the prevailing conditions; iv at night the presence of background light such as from shore lights or from back scatter of her own lights; v the state of wind, sea and current, and the proximity of navigational hazards; vi the draught in relation to the available depth of water. If there is any doubt such risk shall be deemed to exist.
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Part B- Steering and Sailing Rules Section 1 - Conduct of vessels in any condition of visibility Rules Rule 4 says the section applies in any condition of visibility.
Rule 5 requires that "every vessel shall at all times maintain a proper look-out by sight and hearing as well as by all available means appropriate in the prevailing circumstances and conditions so as to make a full appraisal of the situation and of the risk of collision. Rule 6 deals with safe speed. It requires that: "Every vessel shall at all times proceed at a safe speed The Rule describes the factors which should be taken into account in determining safe speed.
Several of these refer specifically to vessels equipped with radar. The importance of using "all available means" is further stressed in Rule 7 covering risk of collision, which warns that "assumptions shall not be made on the basis of scanty information, especially scanty radar information" Rule 8 covers action to be taken to avoid collision. In Rule 9 a vessel proceeding along the course of a narrow channel or fairway is obliged to keep "as near to the outer limit of the channel or fairway which lies on her starboard side as is safe and practicable.
A new paragraph f was added, stressing that a vessel which was required not to impede the passage of another vessel should take early action to allow sufficient sea room for the safe passage of the other vessel. Such vessel was obliged to fulfil this obligation also when taking avoiding action in accordance with the steering and sailing rules when risk of collision exists.
Rule 10 of the Collision Regulations deals with the behaviour of vessels in or near traffic separation schemes adopted by the Organization. The effectiveness of traffic separation schemes can be judged from a study made by the International Association of Institutes of Navigation IAIN in This showed that between and there were 60 collisions in the Strait of Dover; twenty years later, following the introduction of traffic separation schemes, this total was cut to only In other areas where such schemes did not exist the number of collisions rose sharply.
New traffic separation schemes are introduced regularly and existing ones are amended when necessary to respond to changed traffic conditions. To enable this to be done as quickly as possible the MSC has been authorized to adopt and amend traffic separation schemes on behalf of the Organization. Rule 10 states that ships crossing traffic lanes are required to do so "as nearly as practicable at right angles to the general direction of traffic flow. Fishing vessels "shall not impede the passage of any vessel following a traffic lane" but are not banned from fishing.
This is in line with Rule 9 which states that "a vessel engaged in fishing shall not impede the passage of any other vessel navigating within a narrow channel or fairway.
Two new paragraphs were added to Rule 10 to exempt vessels which are restricted in their ability to manoeuvre "when engaged in an operation for the safety of navigation in a traffic separation scheme" or when engaged in cable laying.
In the regulations were again amended. It was stressed that Rule 10 applies to traffic separation schemes adopted by the Organization IMO and does not relieve any vessel of her obligation under any other rule. It was also to clarify that if a vessel is obliged to cross traffic lanes it should do so as nearly as practicable at right angles to the general direction of the traffic flow.
In Regulation 10 was further amended to clarify the vessels which may use the "inshore traffic zone. 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.
Rule 39 provides definitions. The working languages are English, French and Spanish. Some content on this site is available in all official languages. The majority is presented in the working languages.
Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1972 (COLREGs)
History[ edit ] Prior to the development of a single set of international rules and practices, there existed separate practices and various conventions and informal procedures in different parts of the world, as advanced by various maritime nations. As a result, there were inconsistencies and even contradictions that gave rise to unintended collisions. Vessel navigation lights for operating in darkness as well as navigation marks also were not standardised, giving rise to dangerous confusion and ambiguity between vessels at risk of colliding. Sailing vessels are limited as to their manoeuvrability in that they cannot sail directly into the wind and cannot be readily navigated in the absence of wind.
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International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea