Rules of The Road
Purpose and Scope
Agenda
This section of instruction will cover the Rules
of the Road, as published in the Navigation
Rules (COMDTINST M16672.2D)
References
COMDTINST M16672.2D
Referred to by mariners
as the
“Rules of the Road”
Navigation Rules
Purpose and Scope
AGENDA:
Purpose and Scope
Principles of Maritime Law
Rule #1 Applicability
Rule #2 Rule of Good Seamanship
Rule #3 General Definitions
Applicable reading: USCG pp. 1-11.
Purpose of Scope of the Rules
of the Road
Sources:
1972 COLREGS (International Rules)
• Regulations for the Prevention of Collisions at Sea
• Amended in 1983, 1989, 1991 by the IMO
1980 Navigation Rules Act (Inland Rules)
• Applies exclusively to US inland waters
NOTE: Navigation Rules have the force of law.
Rule 1(a): Applicability
Nav Rules apply based upon a vessel’s location.
COLREGS Line of Demarcation
• “These rules shall
apply to all vessels
upon the high seas
and in all waters
connected therewith
navigable by
seagoing vessels.”
Rule 2: Responsibility
“Nothing in these Rules shall exonerate any vessel, or the
owner, master or crew thereof, from the consequences of
any neglect to comply with these Rules or of the neglect of
any precaution which may be required by the ordinary
practice of seaman.”
General Prudential Rule: the mariner is responsible not
only for complying with the Rules but also for avoiding a
collision.
• Special Situations
• In extremis situations
Special Situations
(not covered by the Rules)
What is Good Seamanship?
A. Turn around and go the other way.
B. Speed up and pass vessel B on her starboard side.
C. Overtake Vessel B on her port side after signaling.
D. Slow down and stay behind Vessel B.
Rule 3: General Definitions
Vessel
Power driven vessel
Sailing vessel
Underway
Making way
Not making way
Special Conditions
Vessel engaged in fishing
Not under command
Restricted in ability to maneuver
Constrained by draft (int’l rules only)
Rule 3: Definitions
Vessel
Vessel: includes every description of water craft
used or capable of being used as a means on
transportation on water.
• Includes:
– Power-driven vessels
– Sailboats
– Seaplanes
– Non-displacement craft
– WIG
• “Power driven vessel”
Rule 3: Definitions
Vessel engaged in fishing
Vessel engaged in fishing means any vessel fishing
with nets, lines, trawls or other fishing apparatus
which restrict maneuverability.
• Does NOT include:
– Vessel engaged in trolling.
Rule 3: Definitions
Vessel not under command
Vessel not under command means a vessel which
through some exceptional circumstances is unable to
maneuver to comply with the Rules.
• Examples:
– Propulsion casualty
– Steering casualty
Rule 3: Definitions
Vessel restricted in ability to maneuver
Vessel restricted in ability to maneuver means a
vessel which from the nature of her work is unable to
keep out of the way of another vessel.
• Examples:
– Laying navaids
– Dredging/Surveying
– UNREP
– Flight Ops
– Mineclearance Ops
Rule 3: Definitions
Vessel constrained by draft
Vessel constrained by draft means a power driven
vessel which, because of her draft in relation to the
available depth is severely restricted in her ability to
deviate from her present course.
Rule 3: Definitions
Underway, Not-underway
Rule 3: Definitions
Restricted Visibility
Rule 3: Definitions
Restricted Visibility
Fog
Falling snow
Heavy Rainstorms
Sand storms
Similar circumstances
Rule 3: Definitions
WIG
Wing-in-ground (WIG) craft: a vessel capable of
operating completely above the surface of the water on
a dynamic air cushion created by aerodynamic lift due
to the ground effect between the vessel and the water’s
surface. WIG craft are capable of operating at speeds
in excess of 100 knots.
Rule 4: Application
Defines the application of rules 5-10
These rules apply in ANY visibility
Rule 5: Look-out
Application (Rule 4) - Any condition of
visibility
Look-out (Rule 5)
Maintain Proper Lookout
Use all available means
•
•
•
•
Binoculars/Radar
Bearing circle/Alidade
Must use sight and hearing
Night vision devices
Also required at anchor
Rule 6: Safe Speed
Determinants of Safe Speed
State of visibility
Traffic density
Stopping distance and turning ability
Presence of background lighting
State of winds, sea, and current
Draft of vessel in relation to charted depth
Effectiveness of Radar
Rule 7: Risk of Collision
Risk of Collision (Rule 7)
Use all available means to determine
Early use of RADAR
Don’t make assumptions
Risk of collision exists when vessels have:
CBDR: Constant Bearing, Decreasing Range
Very High Bearing Drift
Bearing drift is the most important determinant
of risk of collision
Rule 8: Action to Avoid Collision
Obedience must be timely and substantial.
Two variables can be altered to avoid collision:
course and speed.
Change course to avoid “close-quarters” situations
Slacken speed or take all way off to avoid collision
Escape Clause:
“if the circumstances of the case admit”
You are not required to put yourself in a worse
condition to avoid collision (e.g.. run aground)
Rule 9: Narrow Channels
Narrow Channels (Rule 9)
Stay on the “right” side of the channel
Sailing vessels and vessels < 20 meters shall
not impede vessels restricted to the channel.
Fishing vessels shall not impede
Crossing vessels shall not impede
Rule 10: Traffic Separation Schemes
Traffic Separation Schemes (Rule 10)
Use small angle of approach to enter/depart
Cross the scheme at right angles
You can fish in the lanes as long as you do not
impede passage of the other vessels
Rule 10: Traffic Separation Schemes
1. PROCEED
2.
3. CROSS
4.
ENTER
AVOID
IN
AT
@APPROPRIATE
ANCHORING
RIGHT
SMALLANGLES
ANGLE
LANE
Rule 11:
Conduct of Vessels
in Sight of One Another
Application rule Rules 12-18
Applies to all vessels in sight of one another
Vessels in Sight of One Another
Rule 12: Sailing Vessels
Vessels in Sight of One Another
Rule 13: Overtaking
Rule 13 requires the overtaking vessel to keep out of the
way of the vessel being passed.
*a vessel 22.5 abaft the beam is overtaking – all
others are crossing situations
Vessels in Sight of One Another
Rule 14: Meeting (Head-on) Situation
Two vessels who are on reciprocal (or near reciprocal)
courses and are at risk of collision
Rule 14 requires both power vessels to maneuver to
starboard.
•Because of the nature of the situation, there is no giveway vessel. Both are
responsible to maneuver
Vessels in Sight of One Another
Rule 15: Crossing Situation
Rule 15 requires the vessel that has the other on its
starboard side to keep clear.
Rule 15 (cont)
Crossing Situation
Stand-on
Give-way
Rule 16: Give-way Vessel
Take early and substantial action to stay
out of the way of the stand-on vessel
Rule 17: Stand-on Vessel
Maintain course and speed
Take action if the give-way is not taking
substantial action to avoid collision
If risk of collision exists and if circumstance
admit it, avoid altering course to port.
Stay out of the way of:
Rule 18: Responsibilities
Between Vessels
Vessel being Overtaken
Vessel Not under command
Restricted in ability to maneuver
Vessel Constrained by draft
Vessel engaged in Fishing
Sailing vessels
Power driven vessels
Seaplanes
WIG
Rule 19: Conduct of Vessels in
Restricted Visibility
For vessels not in sight of one another
Observe a safe speed and have engines ready for
immediate maneuvering.
Avoid altering course to port when another may
exist forward of beam (except in overtaking
situation)
Avoid altering course towards a vessel abeam or
abaft the beam.
For fog signals heard forward of the beam=>
reduce speed to minimum steerageway and
navigate cautiously.
Rules 20: Application of
Lights and Dayshapes
LIGHTS
Sunset to Sunrise
Restricted Visibility
DAYSHAPES
Sunrise to Sunset
Rules 21-24: Lights and Dayshapes
AGENDA:
Rule #21 Definitions
Rule #22 Visibility of Lights
Rule #23 Power Driven Vessels Underway
Rule #24 Towing and Pushing
Applicable reading: USCG pp. 38-70.
Purpose of Lights and Shapes
To indicate hierarchy under the steering and sailing rules.
To aid in the determination of stand on/give way status.
To indicate to an approaching vessel information not
readily available by visual observation.
To identify the occupation of certain vessels.
To aid in the determination of angle on the bow (AOB) and
course.
Rule 22: Visibility of Lights
TYPE OF LIGHT
Masthead
Sidelight
Sternlight
Towing
All around
Special Flashing
Min Ranges
COLOR
white
red/green
white
yellow
various
yellow/blue
ARC
225
112.5
135
135
360
360
50M+
6 nm
3 nm
3 nm
3 nm
3 nm
2 nm
12-50M
5 nm
2 nm
2 nm
2 nm
2 nm
2 nm
Range Light - refers to the second masthead light placed aft and higher than
the forward masthead light (>50 m)
Flashing Light - flashes at regular intervals at 120 hz. Found on surfaced
sub’s and non-displacement craft in the non-displacement mode.
Rule 21
Definitions
225o
22.5o
22.5o
MASTHEAD LIGHT
Rule 21
Definitions (cont)
112.5o
112.5o
22.5o
22.5o
SIDELIGHTS
Rule 21
Definitions (cont)
22.5o
22.5o
135o
STERNLIGHT
Rule 21
Definitions (cont)
22.5o
22.5o
135o
TOWING LIGHT
Rule 21
Definitions (cont)
Masthead Lights
225o coverage
Side Lights
112.5o coverage
Bow Aspect
Rule 21
Definitions (cont)
112.5o
112.5o
135o
112.5o
112.5o
+ 135o
360o
Rule 21
Definitions (cont)
360o
ALL-ROUND LIGHT
Rule 21
Definitions (cont)
FLASHING LIGHT
(Color not specified, 120 fpm)
Rule 21
Definitions (cont)
SPECIAL FLASHING LIGHT
(Yellow, 50 - 70 fpm)
Rule 23: Power-Driven Vessels
Rule 24: Towing and Pushing
TOWING ASTERN
Vessel < 50 m
Vessel < 50 m
Vessel > 50 m
Vessel > 50 m
COMPOSITE UNIT
Tow < 200 m
Tow > 200 m
Tow < 200 m
Tow > 200 m
PUSHING AHEAD/ALONGSIDE
Vessel > 50 m
International, Inland
Vessel < 50 m
International, Inland
TOWING and RESTRICTED IN ABILITY TO MANEUVER
“LIGHTING THE TOW”
Rule 23 (cont)
P.D. Vessel less than 50 meters
(underway)
Stern
Port
Starboard
Bow
Rule 23 (cont)
P.D. Vessel equal or greater
to 50 meters (underway)
Bow
Starboard
PortStern
Rule 23 (cont)
P.D. Vessel less than 12 meters
(underway)
Rule 23 (cont)
P.D. Vessel less than 7 meters
(underway)
Rule 23 (cont)
Great Lakes Exception
Masthead
Sidelights
All-round white
nd
2
Masthead
Stern light
Rule 24
Towing and Pushing
Types of Towing:
Towing astern
Towing alongside
Pushing ahead
Composite Unit
Rule 24 (cont)
Towing Astern
Four combinations:
I
II
III
IV
Towing
<50m <50m >50m >50m
vessel
Tow
<200m >200m <200m >200m
Rule 24 (cont)
Towing Astern
P.D. Vessel (<50m) Towing
TOW < 200m
TOW > 200m
2 Mastheads
3 Mastheads
Vertical Line
Vertical Line
Sidelights
Stern light
Towing light
Sidelights
Stern light
Towing light
Rule 24 (cont)
Towing Astern
P.D. Vessel (>50m) Towing
TOW < 200m
TOW > 200m
2 Mastheads
2nd Masthead
3 Mastheads
2nd Masthead
Sidelights
Stern light
Towing light
Sidelights
Stern light
Towing light
Rule 24 (cont)
Towing Astern
Towing vessel < 50m, Tow < 200m
Starboard
Port
Stern
Bow
Rule 24 (cont)
Towing Astern
Towing vessel < 50m, Tow > 200m
Stern
Bow
Port
Starboard
Rule 24 (cont)
Towing Astern
Towing vessel > 50m, Tow < 200m
Stern
Starboard
Port
Bow
Rule 24 (cont)
Towing Astern
Towing vessel > 50m, Tow > 200m
Starboard
Bow
Port
Stern
Rule 24 (cont)
Pushing Ahead
Composite units:
If rigidly connected
regard as a power
driven vessel
Rule 24 (cont)
Towing Alongside or Pushing
NOT a Composite Unit
INTERNATIONAL Rules
2 Mastheads - vertical line
2nd Masthead - if > 50m
Sidelights
Stern light
Note: NO Towing Light for International Rules!
Rule 24 (cont)
Towing Alongside or Pushing
NOT a Composite Unit
INLAND Rules
2 Mastheads - vertical line
2nd Masthead - if > 50m
Sidelights
2 Towing Lights - vertical line
Rule 24 (cont)
Towing Alongside or Pushing
NOT a Composite Unit
INLAND Rules
INTERNATIONAL
Rules
Stern
Rule 24 (cont)
Vessel Being Towed Astern
Sidelights
Sternlight
Rule 24 (cont)
Vessel Being Pushed Ahead
NOT a Composite Unit
INTERNATIONAL Rules
Sidelights - at forward end
Rule 24 (cont)
Vessel Being Pushed Ahead
NOT a Composite Unit
INLAND Rules
Sidelights
Special Flashing
Light
Rule 24 (cont)
Vessel Being Towed Alongside
INTERNATIONAL Rules
Sidelights
Sternlight
Rule 24 (cont)
Vessel Being Towed Alongside
INLAND Rules
Sidelights
Sternlight
Special Flashing
Light
Rule 24
Towing and Pushing
Length of Tow exceed 200m
Displayed on the Tug & the Tow
Rule 25
Sailing Vessels
Sailing Vessel (Underway)
Vessel < 20m
Vessel 20m
Sidelights
Stern light
Combined
Lantern
Rule 25
Sailing Vessels (cont)
Sailing Vessel (Underway)
Not w/
Combined
Lantern
Rule 25
Sailing Vessels (cont)
Mastheads
Rule 25 (cont)
Sailing Vessels
Bow
Stern
Rule 25
Sailing Vessel
Sailing Vessel proceeding under sail AND
propelled by machinery
Rule 26
Fishing Vessels
Trawling
Fishing other than trawling
Note: Vessels covered in Rule 26 show
ONLY the lights required by Rule 26
Rule 26 (cont)
Fishing Vessels
Outlying gear > 150m
Rule 26
Fishing Vessels (cont)
Underway OR
@ Anchor
All-round GREEN -overAll-round WHITE
2nd Masthead - if >50m
Sidelights & Sternlight - if making way
Rule 26
Fishing Vessels (cont)
Trawling vessel > 50m Making Way
Starboard
Bow
Port
Stern
Rule 26
Fishing Vessels (cont)
Underway OR
@ Anchor
All-round RED -overAll-round WHITE
Sidelights & Sternlight - if making way
All-round WHITE - if gear > 150m
Rule 26
Fishing Vessels (cont)
Mastheads
Rule 26
Fishing Vessels (cont)
Fishing vessel Making Way
Starboard
Bow
Port
Stern
Rule 26
Trawling Vessels
Rule 27
Rule 27 (cont)
Vessels Not Under Command
All-round RED -overAll-round RED
Sidelights & Sternlight - if making way
Rule 27
Vessels Not Under Command
Rule 27 (cont)
Mastheads
Rule 27 (cont)
Vessel Not Under Command
Making Way
Bow
Starboard
Port
Stern
Rule 27 (cont)
Vessel Not Under Command
NOT Making Way
Starboard
Bow
Port
Stern
Rule 27 (cont)
Vessels Restricted in Ability to
Maneuver (R.A.M.)
All-round RED -overAll-round WHITE -overAll-round RED
Masthead light
2nd Masthead light - if >50m
Sidelights & Sternlight
If Making
Way
Rule 27 (cont)
Vessels R.A.M.
Rule 27 (cont)
Vessel R.A.M., > 50m, Making Way
Starboard
Port
Stern
Bow
Rule 27 (cont)
Special Types of R.A.M. Vessels
Rule 27 (cont)
R.A.M. Vessel Engaged in
Dredging
Required R.A.M. lights
All-round GREEN -overAll-round GREEN
All-round RED -overAll-round RED
On Safe
Side
On Obstructed
Side
Rule 27 (cont)
R.A.M. Vessel Engaged in
Dredging
Danger Side
Safe Side
Aspect?
Bow
Rule 27 (cont)
R.A.M. Vessel Engaged in
Dredging
Obstructed
Side
Safe
Side
Rule 27 (cont)
R.A.M. Vessel Engaged in
Mineclearance Ops
Required Power Driven Vessel lights
PLUS:
On Mast
Rule 27 (cont)
R.A.M. Vessel Engaged in
Mineclearance Ops
Rule 28
Vessels Constrained by Draft
All-round RED -overAll-round RED -overAll-round RED
Required Power Driven Vessel lights
Rule 28 (cont)
Vessel Constrained by Draft >50m
Starboard
Bow
Stern
Port
Rule 28
Vessels Constrained by Draft
Rule 29
Pilot Vessels
All-round WHITE -overAll-round RED
Sidelights & Sternlight - if making way
Rule 29 (cont)
Mastheads
Rule 29 (cont)
Pilot Vessel - Underway
Bow
Starboard
Stern
Port
Rule 30
Anchored Vessels
Vessel 50m
All-round WHITE
near bow
All-round WHITE
near stern & lower
Vessel < 50m
All-round WHITE
where best seen
Rule 30
Anchored Vessels (cont)
Vessel 100m
All-round WHITE - near bow
All-round WHITE - near stern & lower
Available Deck or Working lights
Rule 30 (cont)
Anchored Vessel, > 50m
Starboard
Port
Rule 30
Vessel @ Anchor
Rule 30 (cont)
Vessel Aground
Required Anchor lights
All-round RED -overAll-round RED
PLUS
Rule 30 (cont)
Aground Vessel, > 50m
Starboard
Port
Rule 30 (cont)
Vessel Aground
Rules 31-37:
Sound and Light Signals
AGENDA:
Rule #32 - Definitions
Rule #34 - Maneuvering and Warning Signals
Rule #35 - Sound Signals in Restricted Visibility
Rule #36 - Signals to Attract Attention
Rule #37 - Distress Signals
Annex I -V
Applicable reading: Nav Rules pp. 114-175
Rule 31
Lights and Shapes: Seaplanes
Where it’s impracticable for a seaplane to
exhibit lights and shapes of the rules of the
road, they shall exhibit lights and shapes as
closely similar in characteristics and
position as possible
Rule 32: Sound and Light Signals
International vs. Inland
INTERNATIONAL RULES:
Sound signals for International Rules are signals of action
Signals are sounded upon rudder order
Exchanged by a power-driven vessel and another vessel
Exchanged if vessels are “in sight” and maneuvering is req’d
INLAND RULES:
Sound signals for Inland Rules are signals of intent
Vessels do not maneuver until signals are agreed upon
Exchanged between power-driven vessels only
Exchanged if vessels are “in sight” and < ½ nm CPA
Rule 32: Sound and Light Signals
Short Blast- about one second duration
Long Blast - 4-6 second duration
Vessels < 100m in length: whistle and bell
Vessels >= 100m in length: whistle, bell, and
gong
Vessels < 12m in length: some type of sound
signaling device
Rule 34: Maneuvering and
Warning Signals - Overtaking
Rule 34: Maneuvering and Warning
Signals- Crossing
Rule 34: Maneuvering and Warning
Signals - Meeting
Rule 35: Sound and Light Signals in
Restricted Visibility
VESSELS UNDERWAY
Power-Driven vessel (making way)
1 PROLONG BLAST (2 min)
Power-Driven vessel (not making way) 2 PROLONG BLASTS (2 min)
Vessel Not Under Command,
Restricted in ability to maneuver,
Sailing vessels, Vessels fishing,
Vessels constrained by draft
1 PROLONG BLAST, 2 SHORT
Vessels being towed
1 PROLONG BLAST, 3 SHORT
Piloting Vessel
4 SHORT BLASTS
Rule 35: Sound and Light Signals in
Restricted Visibility
VESSELS NOT UNDERWAY
Vessel at anchor, less than 100 m
Vessel at anchor, greater than 100 m
Vessel at anchor
(warns position and threat of collision)
5 sec BELL
(every 1 min)
5 sec BELL/5 sec GONG (every 1 min)
1 SHORT, 1 PROLONGED, 1 SHORT
Vessel aground, less than 100 m SSS/BELL/SSS
(every 1 min)
Vessel aground, greater than 100 m
SSS/BELL/SSS/GONG (every 1 min)
SSS = THREE SHORT STOKES
Vessel engaged in fishing at anchor
1 PROLONG, 2 SHORT (every 2 min)
Rule 35: Sound and Light Signals in
Restricted Visibility
DANGER SIGNAL
5 or more short blasts on the whistle
• indicates failure to understand intentions or actions
OR doubt that sufficient action to avoid collision is
being taken
p. 126 in Nav Rules
Quiz
1. Identify the following vessel size, aspect, and
condition by it’s light scheme:
Vessel is:
>50 meters in length
Bow aspect
Restricted in ability to maneuver,
Making way
Quiz
2. Identify the following vessel size, aspect, and
condition by it’s light scheme:
Vessel is:
>50 meters in length
Starboard aspect(can tell this two ways)
Trawler, making way
Quiz
3. Complete the following chart for lights:
Length of
vessel
Masthead
>50m <50m, <12m
>12m
6 nm 5 nm* 2 nm
Side
3 nm 2 nm
1 nm
Stern
3 nm 2 nm
2 nm
Towing
3 nm 2 nm
2 nm
All round
3 nm 2 nm
2 nm
Special FL1
2 nm 2 nm
2 nm
Incon. partly
submerged
White 3 nm
Quiz
4. The following day shape signifies what?
A.
B.
C.
D.
A Really bad day
Vessel Not Under Command
Fishing Vessel with gear extended
Vessel Restricted in Ability to Maneuver, dredging
Quiz
5. This Sailboat is being powered by what?
A.
B.
C.
D.
Sail
Wind
Oars
Machinery
Quiz
1.
Rule 2 states that vessels may depart
from the Rules when:
A.
B.
C.
D.
it is convenient for both vessels involved
the maneuvers are entered in the deck log
it is necessary to avoid immediate danger
None of the above
Quiz
2. What is the definition of a Vessel
Restricted in her ability to maneuver?
Restricted due to the nature of her work
Quiz
3.
Under Rule 5 (lookout rule) a
lookout is required at all times
when underway.
A.
B.
TRUE
FALSE
Quiz
4. Rule 6 (Safe Speed) lists all of
the following considerations
EXCEPT:
A.
B.
C.
D.
Traffic density
Visibility
Background Lights
Economical speed of vessel
Quiz
5. According to Rule 7, a Risk of
Collision is deemed to exist in what
circumstance?
CBDR
Quiz
6. According to Rule 8, what are the
requirements for avoiding actions when
maneuvering IAW the Rules?
•Early
•Substantial
•Check results
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Marine Navigation and Naval Operations I