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Aids to Memory in Four Verses

(1.) Two Steam Ships meeting.


When both side-lights you see ahead
Port your helm and show your RED.
(2.) Two Steam Ships passing.
GREEN to GREEN or, RED to RED
Perfect safety go ahead!
(3.) Two Steam Ships crossing.
Note. This is the position of greatest danger; there is nothing for it but good look-out,
caution and judgment.
If to your starboard RED appear,
It is your duty to keep clear;
To act as judgment says is proper;
To Port or Starboard Back or Stop her!
But when upon your Port is seen
A Steamer's Starboard Light of GREEN,
There's not so much for you to do,
For GREEN to Port keeps clear of you.
(4.) All Ships must keep a good look-out, and Steam Ships must stop and go astern, if
necessary.
Both in safety and in doubt
Always keep a good look-out;
In danger, with no room to turn,
Ease her, Stop her, Go astern.
Thomas Gray, Rule of the Road at Sea, 1867
COLREG PART B (STEERING AND SAILING
4. Application
The rules apply in any condition of visibility.
5. Look-out
Every vessel shall maintain a proper look-out by sight and hearing by all
available means appropriate to avoid the risk of collision.
6. Safe speed
Every vessel shall proceed at a safe speed so that she can take proper and
effective action to avoid collision.
7. Risk of collision
Vessels must use all available means to determine the risk of a collision,
including the use of radar or equivalent system such as ARPA, AIS.
If the distance of any vessel is reducing and the compass bearing is not changing
much.

8. Action to avoid collision


Actions taken to avoid collision should be:

positive

obvious

made in good time

9. Narrow channels

A vessel proceeding along a narrow channel must keep to starboard.

Small vessels or sailing vessels must not impede (larger) vessels which
can navigate only within a narrow channel.

Ships must not cross a channel if to do so would impede another vessel


which can navigate only within that channel.

10. Traffic Separation Schemes


Ships must cross traffic lanes steering a course "as nearly as practicable" at right
angles to the direction of traffic. This reduces confusion and enables that vessel
to cross the lane as quickly as possible.
Vessel entering a traffic separation scheme should do it at an angle as small as
practicable.
A traffic separation scheme does not relieve any vessel from complying with
other rules.
13. Overtaking
"Overtaking" means approaching another vessel at more than 22.5 degrees
abaft[10] her beam.
14. Head-on situations
When two power-driven vessels are meeting head-on both must alter course to
starboard so that they pass on the port side of the other. "Head-on" means seeing
the other vessel ahead or nearly ahead.
15. Crossing situations
When two power-driven vessels are crossing, the vessel which has the other on
the starboard side must give way and avoid crossing ahead of her.
16. The give-way vessel
The give-way vessel must take early and substantial action to keep well clear.[6]
17. The stand-on vessel
The stand-on vessel shall maintain her course and speed, but she may take action
to avoid collision if it becomes clear that the give-way vessel is not taking
appropriate action, or when so close that collision can no longer be avoided by
the actions of the give-way vessel alone. In a crossing situation, the stand-on
vessel should avoid turning to port even if the give-way vessel is not taking
appropriate action. These options for the stand-on vessel do not relieve the giveway vessel of her obligations under the rules.

18. Responsibilities between vessels


Except in narrow channels, traffic separation schemes, and when overtaking

Any vessel other than a vessel not under command or a vessel restricted
in her ability to manoeuvre shall, if possible, not impede the safe passage
of a vessel constrained by her draft, exhibiting the signals in Rule 28.

A vessel constrained by her draft shall navigate with particular caution


having full regard to her special condition.[6]

PART C LIGHTS AND SHAPES


20. Application
Rules concerning lights apply from sunset to sunrise, in conditions of restricted
visibility, and in all other circumstances when it is deemed necessary. Rules
concerning shapes apply during the day.[6]
21. Definitions
"Masthead light" means a white light on the centreline of the vessel showing
from right ahead to 22.5 degrees abaft the beam on either side of the vessel.
"Sidelights" means a green light on the starboard side and a red light on the port
side each showing from right ahead to 22.5 degrees abaft the beam on its
respective side. If the vessel is less than 20 metres (66 ft) long, the sidelights
may be combined in one fixture carried on the centreline of the vessel.
"Sternlight" means a white light placed as nearly as practicable at the stern
showing 67.5 degrees from right aft on each side of the vessel.
"Towing light" means a yellow light having the same characteristics as a
"sternlight" defined above.
27. Lights for vessels not under command or restricted in their ability to manoeuvre
Vessels not under command or restricted in their ability to manoeuvre
(a) A vessel not under command shall exhibit:
1. two all-round red lights in a vertical line where they can best be seen;
2. two balls or similar shapes in a vertical line where they can best be seen;
3. when making way through the water, in addition to the lights prescribed in
this paragraph, sidelights and a sternlight.
(b) A vessel restricted in her ability to manoeuvre, except a vessel engaged in
mine-clearance operations, shall exhibit:
1. three all-round lights in a vertical line where they can best be seen. The
highest and lowest of these lights shall be red and the middle light shall
be white;
2. three shapes in a vertical line where they can best be seen. The highest
and lowest of these shapes shall be balls and the middle one a diamond;
3. when making way through the water, a masthead light or lights,
sidelights and a sternlight, in addition to the lights prescribed in subparagraph (i);

4. when at anchor, in addition to the lights or shapes prescribed in subparagraphs (i) and (ii), the light, lights or shape prescribed in Rule 30.
(c) A power-driven vessel engaged in a towing operation such as severely
restricts the towing vessel and her tow in their ability to deviate from their
course shall, in addition to the lights or shapes prescribed in Rule 24(a), exhibit
the lights or shapes prescribed in sub-paragraphs (b)(i) and (ii) of this Rule.
(d) A vessel engaged in dredging or underwater operations, when restricted in
her ability to manoeuvre, shall exhibit the lights and shapes prescribed in subparagraphs (b)(i), (ii) and (iii) of this Rule and shall in addition, when an
obstruction exists, exhibit:
1. two all-round red lights or two balls in a vertical line to indicate the side
on which the obstruction exists;
2. two all-round green lights or two diamonds in a vertical line to indicate
the side on which another vessel may pass;
3. when at anchor, the lights or shapes prescribed in this paragraph instead
of the lights or shape prescribed in Rule 30.
(e) Whenever the size of a vessel engaged in diving operations makes it
impracticable to exhibit all lights and shapes prescribed in paragraph (d) of this
Rule, the following shall be exhibited:
1. three all-round lights in a vertical line where they can best be seen. The
highest and lowest of these lights shall be red and the middle light shall
be white;
2. a rigid replica of the International Code flag "A" not less than 1 metre
(3.3 ft) in height. Measures shall be taken to ensure its all-round
visibility.
(f) A vessel engaged in mine clearance operations shall in addition to the lights
prescribed for a power-driven vessel in Rule 23 or to the lights or shape
prescribed for a vessel at anchor in Rule 30 as appropriate, exhibit three allround green lights or three balls. 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 1,000
metres (0.62 mi) of the mine clearance vessel.
(g) Vessels of less than 12 metres (39.4 ft) in length, except those engaged in
diving operations, shall not be required to exhibit the lights and shapes
prescribed in this Rule.
(h) The signals prescribed in this Rule are not signals of vessels in distress and
requiring assistance. Such signals are contained in Annex IV to these
Regulations.
28. Lights for vessels constrained by their draught
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 allround red lights in a vertical line, or a cylinder.