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Foreword

lntroduction 3

Rule5 Look Out! 5


Rule6 Watch your Speed! 7
Rule7 Watch that Ship! 9
Rule8 Do Somethingand do it EarlY! tl
Rutet0 Traffic SeparationLanesare not Rightsof Way! t3
Rule 13 LeaveAmple Room! t5
Rulel4 ShipAhead! t7
Rule /5 Watch Vesselsto Starboard! t9
Rule 16 Keep Everybody Happyl 2l
Rule17 ls SheAltering? 23
Rutel9 RestrictedVisibility ChangesEverything! 75

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il FOREWORD
t by Captain R B Middleton FNI President The Nautical Institute.

il The confidentialmarine accidentreports which we publisheach month in our journal SEAWAYS


have indicatedthat marinersare frequentlyconfronted with hazardoussituationsrelatingto the
il COLREGS.

il To investigatethe problemsThe NauticalInstituteinitiatedin 2002 an internationalsurvey


amongstseagoingofficersto enquire if they thought there was a problem, what the causes
il could be and to suggestsolutions.

|' The results were alarming with nearly 50oloof the respondents stating that in their view the
problemswere causedby ignoranceand wilful disregardof the rules.
I
However respondentsalsodrew attention to other factors like distractionsdue to GMDSSfalse
I alarms,VHF chafter,VTS reporting,and paperwork.

I When it came to solutionsrespondentshighlightedboth the need to improve the educationand


trainingof watchkeepingofficersand better supervisionby senior officerson board.
I
Undoubtedly we all have to work to improve standardsof bridge watchkeeping and this
l thoughtfulguide produced by the North of EnglandP&l Club is an excellenrplaceto start.

t Oflicers can work through a pageat a time discussingthe elementswith colleaguesand relating
the contents to the full form of the rules.
I
For experienced officers there is an opportunity to work through the text r, " ,"fru.h". "nd to
I use the booklet as a trainingaid when coachingjunior officersand cadetson watch.

t It is our duty as nautical professionalsto ensure that we are responsible at all times for the safe

t navigationof our shipsand this booklet providesa valuabletext to re-establishgood practice.

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il€ !
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CONVENTIONON THE INTERNATIONAL REGUIATIONS
FOR
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PREVENTING
COLLTSTONSAT SEA,t972 (COLREGS) I
This guide is basedon the COLREGSposter seriesproduced by the North of EnglandP&l I
Association'sRiskManagementDepartment between 2001 and 2004.
I
The aim of these posters is not to provide an all encompassingguide to the Rulesbut to dispel
some frequent misunderstandings and misinterpretationsof the most widely used Rulesand T
to provide a graphicillustrationof the correct stepsto decipher and to apply the Regulations.
I
While it is vital to know the contents of the Regulations,simply being able to recite them
verbatim is no substitutefor knowing how to apply them. A coherent full working knowledge I
of the text and its applicationis vital-
I
The UK Marine Accident InvestigationBranchhasstressedthe importanceof Rule2 and their
concern that this vital Ruleis so often overlooked. I
Rule2 - Responsibiliry I
(o) Nothing in these Rulessho/l exonerdteony vessel,or the owner,mosteror crew thereof,from the I
consequences of ony neglectto comply with these Ru/esor of neglectof ony precoutionwhich
moy be requiredby the ordinoryproctice of seoman,or by the speciolcircumstoncesof the case. I
(b) ln construingond complyingwith theseRulesdue regord shollbe had to oll dongersof novigation I
ond collisionond to ony specialcircumstances,includingthe limitationsofthe vesselsinvolved,
which moy moke o deporturefrom theseRu/esnecessoryto ovoidimmediatedonger. I
This fundamentalfeature of the COLREGShighlightsthe fact that you, the manners,are I
responsiblefor your own actionsand you haveto comply with the Ruleswhile ensuringthat
you take all precautionsof the ordinary practiceof seafarers- there is no substitutefor the I
applicationof common senseon the seas.
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il During the NauticalInstitute's
"lmproving
the applicationof the COLREGS"survey,it was
"uncertainty",
noted by the late Captain FranEoisBaillodFNl, that reported incidentsrelated to
il "violations"
and
"disregard
for the COLREGS".While many cited
"ignorance","poor
knowledge
"lack
of the COLREGS",or of training" as reasonsfor the poor and ineffectiveapplicationof
I the Regulations.

il- The CollisionRegulationswere devisedto make the navigationof shipssafer- however we


must remember they are alsothe law and all should observethem. There can be no excuses-
il, ignoranceis no defenceand if you disobeythese laws there will be consequences.
This guide is
intendedto provide a reminder of the Rulesand the processesthat should be appliedin making
il, them work.

il Huch of the guidancetext has been provided by Captain Roger Symswho has enthusiastically
embracedthe idea of providingan easyto use guide to the COLREGSin conjunctionwith the
|. originalNonh of Englandposter series.This project hasalso been able to make use of the
experiencesexpressedthrough the NauticalInstitute'ssurveyinto the COLREGS.
I
The North of Englandalso acknowledgeswith thanks, the contribution and suggestionsof
|. dte UK MarineAccident InvestigationBranchon the conceptualideasbehindthe proiect.

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Everyvessesha at al t mes ma nta n a prope. ook-out by siSht


and hea fg aswel as by all avalablemeansapproprlaten the
preval ng and condirons so asto ma<ea fu
cumstances
a p p r a s ao l t h e s r d a t i o .a n do f r h e s k o f c o s l o n .
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il "Look out" means pay attention to evefihing! - Not lust looking ahead out of the window
but all round the vessel,usingall your sensesand all appropriateequipment availableto you.
I
r THATGIVESYOU
KEEPAN EYEAND EARON EVERYTHING
INFORMATIONINCLUDING:
f- o Radar/ARPA - Be aware of the effects of clutter, of small targets and the range of the set.

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Radio transmissions - Keep an ear on what is going on in the vessel'sviciniry.
Sound Signals - Can you hear any sound signalsnear-by? Be aware of the effect of
I keepinga closedwheelhouse,and of distractingnoisesin a closedspace.
Course and Position Navigation Aids - lf you haveto alter course make sure there is
t o
safewater available.

I o Depth indicator - frequentlyand systematicallymonitor the depth of water beneath


the vessel.
I . Be aware - WS and AIS are there to help you.

I OF DISTRACTIONS!
BEWARE
r o Alarms - Do not allow alarms,such as falseGMDSStransmissions,
keepinga proper look-out.
to distractyou from

I o Lights - Do not allow lightson your vesselto impair your vision

I o Communications - VHF transmissionsand mobile phonesare not your first priority.


Do not allow them to distractyou.
I
Rule 5 applies at all times - there must alwaysbe someonelooking-out.lf weather or conditions
I causeconcern then more lookouts may be neededand should be calledwithout hesitation.

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Every vesel shall at all times proceed at a sale speed s ihd she d hke prcper ad eff€ctire &tion io avoid @llision and
be iopped within a distece appropriate to the pBailing circumsnces and conditions.
In determining a sale speed the following fado6 shall be amonA lhse taken inb &count:

(b) Additidall, by v€$eb wnh opdional ndd:


(D the ide of v:rbirity; (D rh€ chd!@rini6, erkiencr and linibhoN ortha
(iD the tarfi. demity includins con@nrarions ol lishina adar equipment;
vsek or any other v$sels: (it a/ @mftints impGed by rhe Edr ranse scale
(iii) the m-oeuvEbility of rhe v6sel with sp€cial rete.ence
to noppin8 disnce and turnjiS ability in $e peEjling (ii) the ered on Bdd dd*rion ol the *a s@,
weather -d other sourc6 ofint€rterdce;
(rv) at nieht the peence ot back.ound lishr such a rrcm (iv) rhe pNibility that small v6sek, i@ and other
shore liglts or from back scate. oI her om lights; noatine objed may nor be det€ded by 6dar at an
(vl the sb@ or wind, sd and 4reni dd the proximity of ade+:e aee:
navigaliomlhards; (v) the numbea loation dd mwement orv6sers
(O the daoght id reldion to the &ailable depd, olw:r€i ded€d by radar;
(vi) dE morc eEd 6s6mert ot the vhibiliry .h:r may
be pN ble wfien Bdar k used b deermtne the
@se ol vesk or dher objs in rhe vicini+

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il Rule 6 allows you to make your own judgement as to the most appropriate sPeed at any time

r for your vessel,taking into accountthe prevailingcircumstancesand conditions.

T CAN YOU REACTEFFECTIVELY


Without exception the safest speed is a reduced speed, because:
il . lt allows you to stop or turn effectively
r r lt gives you more time to think and to act in a developing situation '
The time to react and respondeffectivelyis all important - vesselsmovingtoo
|. quickly can often fatallyimpair their own watchkeeper'srisk assessmentprocesses.

r r lf collision does occur the resulting damage is likely to be a lot less

Remember the radar or ARPA is not infallible, lt may miss some targetsaltogetheror it may
I show very large targets as weak echoes.

r Navigational aids such as GPS can be equally susPect - don't rely on one instrument for

I information,double check it againstothers.

I Constantly monitor your speed - The situationat sea is constantlychangingand what can be
deemed a safespeed in one situationcan changewith circumstances,sometimessuddenly!
t -
l.laintaining high speeds for commercial considerations should not be tolerated
il ir is no excuseor defencefor proceedingat an unsafespeed'

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r Listen as well as look! - fu with keeping a look out, you must use all the information and

r equipment availableto you to determine risk of collision.

Use the compass to check the bearings of approaching vessels - compare it with the
I radar bearing.

r lf you have operational radar you must use it.

I Are you using true or relative vectors? lf you have an Automatic Radar Plotting Aid (ARPA)

I you should use the RELATIVE VECTORS for determining risk of collision and TRUE
VECTORS to ascertain the other vessel's actual movement.

r You must be aware of the limitationsand use of the ARPA and interpret informationdisplayed

r correctly.

I tf you are not litted with an ARPA you must run a RADAR PLOT.

I ls tfte targ€t passing ahead or astern? Or is it going to collide? - Remember the primary

r informationyou need to answerthese questionsis relativeinformation.

Eton't trust ARPA to give you an accurate Closest Point of Approach (CPA). - Where
I possibletake at leasthalf a mile off each indicationto be safe.(lf it shows a CPA of half a mile

r assumeit is collision).

Don't rely on change of bearing as an indicator of clearance. - As a target approaches


I lf the changein bearingdoes not accelerate,
it's changeof bearingshouldspeed up significantly.
treat it as a danger.
I
Don't rrelax your vigilance - Keep monitoring the situation until the target is passedand
I well clear.

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:r<e tr wa/ ofi.r !L.ptn3.l


,,tr ric RLer or Lf s D2 r and sra I ire. rcrtuii.a!.:
n . e . : e a d l t b c p o . n v e m r d . n a m p e t m . a n dl r f , i
(tr€ e3a d r.ire obsefrrn.. ot;..d s:trn3nsrp :r. ft A re!!: lrri.h:rrfcilheseRues !,:qu e,lrD:::
rpaae rre lxsa3e or iae rts:ge.i:i.!h., Lai:
Ar/ ar.:ri.r of c.Lr!:3rdr.' ipeen t. ay.r.l.o !.i
sia *hci Gt., €d by tie . r.r m
sfx. I rre.i.umntrr..s oI..i,e.x.. idn: be i:r3e enoL:srl
t. b. r.rdi/:ppr.enr t. r..:her vcs: obser rg vt!: I Gieerryaiiorr..lowsufi .:ntser.onr1o :f.
. . by rtr,l:r a n c.:$ on or en: srle pEs+e.ith..nie re$:
rrdio :)ee.sh.ud beav.id.d
, i Avc$.:reqli:z ior r. nrpe,le r h ep r i ! . . :rr::
I t F e r e 5 s N f i . , ! n r e ar . o n pa*ise of .ioth:f lese s n.i r..v.d oIfiii
mtrr b. the n,.n arjer:ve r.r.n t. rr.id a c o!e qJtr.reis ob ier.i tr trpp,or.h ng thc othe ves.e r. r 1.
r tlat or p.ov de.lhri i . ia.j: r 3c.d rrr.. - abi:il a
i f y . l v e r r r . r . o l i r o i r n d r h 3 r v h e ni a i i s i . t . i
iid doe! r.i r::u: n rr.ihor..5e-qurer !rat.n
iale lu, resfid to lhe r.t or lvh.
A(on t:i.n tc rv. d.. !i.r (:h rcticr !c3:. sta be !l ire R!les ol tir Ptr1
ndr as !o esui r pa$ rg a: r nfe a s:ai.e T,e
eiie.ivenc; ol lie i.r.r !5tr r:.areiu f.1,..(od !t i I Avese ri:ptr$trg..lihch ! r.ttob: nrPed.d
$..!r,-vese rim /p itriCcerr e , n aE i u i y o " q r g erdo . o m : r " , n h t h . n L e
, !.:Ir !
I n!..$:ry ro.v...o Pzl wi.i ilr: xlo vesa s r e app or.hiia.,,:
ase$ th3slN:a.r aveselsha :;.i.nhe'sFedo'
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il Remember a positive alteration made very early on is better than a large panic
alteration at the last minute! - the closer you are to the other vesselthe more you will
I haveto do to avoid collision.

r Don't iudge a "positive" and "ample" action just by the amount of alteration - confirm
it by the changein CPA. Keep checkingthe situationuntil the risk of collisionis past and clear.
il
Make your actions obvious to other vessels - Smallalterationsof course are dangerous;
t they don't usuallysolve the problem and don't give the other vessela clear indicationof what

il you are doing.

I Use the engines - lf your abilityto alter is constrainedthen SLOW DOWN or STOP

I The other rresselmay also be obliged to take action. Always bear in mind what that action
may oe.
I
N O T I M PE D IN G?
I "not
r lf the Rulesrequire you to impede", it means you must make a very early alteration
I to make sure risk of collisiondoes not develop.
o "not
lf you are the to be impeded" vesselbe preparedfor the other vesselnot to take
I the correct action. lf a collisionis imminent you haveto act however constrainedyou are!

r Think about what you are doing - Actions taken to avoid collision should follow the
observanceof good seamanship- this is where we haveto apply professionaland sound Practical
I judgement!

il Use the Trial Manoeuyre setting on your ARPA, if available.

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E Pturt$ e rt r d! dd6 6 se srcf drccod

() h r-4 d ei€Fq 6 4d a rF ra aE dqei


(i) 1) Ar*r+iridc6e tuhqe.&&re!Ersecl ( )o6*h i,hh3 'iHi r @Fd q &e

I I o€rPdddber*P<ddrsiff!eFFr4 he

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r There is no right of way - Just becauseyou are navigatingwithin a Traffic SeparationScheme
(l-SS)does not give you right of way over other vessels.
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The other COLREGS continue to apply within a TSS.
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Remain within the lanes - but if your alteration for a crossingvessel is likely to take you
l- outsidethe schemethis does not exempt you from following the Rules.lf you are not happy

I about it SLOW DOWN or STOP

r BE WARY!
Actions of vessels navigating in the vicinity of a TSS can be UNPREDICIABLE.

t Look out for crossing vessels on the edge of the scheme. They may alter to cross at right

t anglesor they may alter parallelto the schemeto find a lesscrowded placeto cross.

I Look out for High Speed Craft (HSC) - HSC tend to presentcollisionriskswide on the

r beam. HSC do often alter course early,however you cannot assumethey will alwaysdo so.

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NoMithshnd n3 anlrhingconbned n rhe Rulesof Pad
B, Sec!oE land l. anyve$eloveGkjnE an/ other shall
Whei a v€se i: in any noubt s to wherher she is
ovetuking norhei she shal 6sume that this is the.ae
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keep out of the wa/ of ihe vss€l b€ ng ovefrai<en

A ve$e shal be deem€dto be ov€tak nEwhen comins Any subsequent al@€t on ol rhe bearing betueen the
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up wiih a mother veset frcm a d rection more thd 22.5
dqrees abaft h€rbeam, that k, in sucha pos tion wrh
tuo ves* s sha I noi m3j<ethe ove@k nE v€$e a
fio$idg vesel wiihin th€ m€an ng of ih$e Rules or
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refer€nceto ihe v$3e sh€ c avedaling, ihat at nehtshe rel eve her of the d!ry ol keeprng .leaf ol the ov€tuken
wo! d be ab € to see only the s€mlighr of thar resd bur Ye$elunti she is linaly pd and der I
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r Don't forget! lf you are not sure you are an overtaking Yessel, you must assume
that you are and keep clear.
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Don't pass close - overtakinginvariablytakes time, so make sure you havea safedistance
il between you and the other vessel. (Where possiblethis shouldbe ot least greaterthon your
hord-overturning circle.)
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Beware of interaction! - if you are forced by traffic to passcloser be very careful that
il interactiondoes not occur.

r - Avoid crossing ahead - lfyou are not on parallel courses and passingclear, cross astern

I rather than ahead.

I Does the ship being overtaken know you are there? Always assume they do not! ,

I Remain vigilant - Remember,you remain an overtaking vessel until you are finally passed
ind clear.
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Vvnen wo poweFdriv€n vses m neeting on cou d *e the mdh€n lightsof the orher io lin€ or
reciprocal or n€rly recipro€ .o nearlyin ine aid/or bdh sidellehc2nd by day sh€
r sk of .oll sion ach shall a ter her cou6e to s6rhoard obsery6 ine @respondins $ped ofthe othervsel.
so rhat ea.h sha! pson thepofrsideottheothei
(.) When avs€ is in any doubt b to whdhersuch:
(b) Sucha s tuationshalbe deem€dto exis when a ve$el snoarionex sh she shaI sume that it do6 din and
s€es ihe oiher ahead or nearly ahead and by n ght she
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r "Nearfy recipr.ocal"does not mean exactly right ahead. lf a vesselis aheadandcomingthe
otherway on an oppositecourseandroughlywithinhalfa point(6 or 7 degrees) of eitherside
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of the bow,Rule applies.

I IF YOU ARE STILL NOT SUREASSUME A HEAD-ON STTUATIONANYWAY AND

l- ACT ACCORDINGLY!

t RULE8
UNDERSTAND
"any
r o Rule 8(a) says, action to avoid collision shall be taken in accordancewith the Rules
of this Part ..." ("this Part" beingthe Steeringond SoilingRules)

r . lt means that if you have a vessel fine to starboard, even at some distance away, altering
to port to increasethe clearancemay be construedas not being in accordancewith the
COLREGS.You shouldalwaysgo to starboardas directed by the Rule.
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- Do not wait for the other vesselto act, the closer you get before taking action
I Alter arty!
the greater the stepsyou subsequentlyhaveto take to avoid collision.

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Whentwo power-driven
vessels
arecrossing
so asto involveriskofcollision,the vesselwhichhas
the other on her own starboardsideshallkeepout ofthe way andshall,ifthe circumstances
of
the caseadmit,avoidcrosslng
aheadofthe othervessel.

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t- Give way early - lf you are the give-way vessel,take early action so the other vessel knows
your intentions.
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Avoid crossing ahead - Go to starboard,astern of the vesselif at all possible.
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t Be considerate - lf the other vessel is hampered in any way, action must be taken even earlier
to reassurethe other vessel.

I Be positive! - lf in doubt over crossingor beingovertaken,assumeyou are crossingand

r keep clear.

r Use your engines - Remember that you should always have the option of using your engines
as well as your helm.
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so far 6 Possible,take
Everyvesseiwhichis direcredto keep out ofthe way ofanother vesseLshall,
eady and substa.tialactlonto keeDwellciean

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r DO NOT HESITATE! - Alter early and adequatelyenough to show the other vessel clearly
what you are doing.
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Confirm your alteration - make sure that your action has had the desired effect by checking
il the increasein the CPA on the radar.

il KEEPEVERYBODY
i.4APPY!
r o Following Rule l6 makes life easier for all vessels.

r o lf the watchkeeper on the other vessel is happy with the situation and with your alteration
there is lesslikelihoodof he/shedoing anythingunexpected.

r o Treat other vesselsas you would like to be treated yourself. Apply some courtesy
to seamanshipand common sense.

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tolS 340"d!0 I
l02l UOIXB
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G) (i) Whe.e one of two vesselsis to keepout rhe aciionof the give-wayvessealone,she
ofthe way the other shallkeepher course shalltakesucha.tion aswill bestaid to avoid

(ii) The latter vesselmax howeyer, take adion A power-drivenvesselwhichtakesaction


to avoidcollisionby her manoeuvrealone, in a crossingsituationin accordance with
6 soond it becomesapparentto her thai subparasraph (a)(ii)of this Ruleto avoid
the vesselrequired lo keepout of the collisionwith aiother poweFdrivenvesel
way 1snot takingappropriateactionin sha1l,if the circumstances ofthe cde admit,
compliaicewith theseRlles. not alter€o!6e to port for a v$sel on her

(b) When, from any cause,the vesselrequired


to keepher courseandspeedfindsherself Thjs Ruledoes not relievethe giw-way vessel
so closethat collisioncannotbe avoidedby of her obligationto keep out of the way.

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sl THERTARETWO STAGESTO RULE
s | 7(a)(ii) At some distance ofi - when "as soon as it becomes apparent ... that the vessel
required to keep out of the way is not taking appropriateaction...",you may take your
s own action to avoid collision.

tr PROVIDED you do not alter to port for a vessel on your port side in a crossing situation.
l7(b) At close quarters - when "collisioncannot be avoidedby the give-wayvessel

s alone", you shouldtake the best action you can to avoid collision.

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,iril:lii

This rule appliesro vessehnot in sEhtofone actionconsists


ofar altemtionofcouree,so far
anotherwhennavigatinS in or nearan areaof 6 posible the foliowiryshallbe avoided:
(i) An alt€rato. ofcou6eio porifora vesel
Everyve$el shallproceed at a safespeed foNdd of rhe beam,other the for a ve$el
adaptedto the prevailing circumstancesand beinSovertaken;
conditionsof restrictedvisibility.Apower
(ii) An alteEtionof coursetowardsa ve$el
drivenvesselshallhaveher ensinesreadyfor
abeamo. abaft the beam.
immediatemanoeuvre,
(e) Exceptwhereit hasbeendeterminedthat a risk
Everyvesselshallhavedue reSardto the
ofcollisiondoesnot exist,everyve$elwhich
prevailintcircumstances andconditionsof
hea6 appa.entlyfoMard of he. beam the fot
restrictedvislbilit/when complyii8whhthe
! g . a l o f a n o , h e\re $ e l o , w h < h c a r n o r . v o aa
Rulesof Se.tionlof this Part.
close-qua.ters situationwith anothervessel
Aveselwhich detectsby radaraloneihe tolwrd of her bear. sha reducef er (peedro
presenceof anorhervesselshalldetermjneifa the minimumat whichshe<anbe kepron
close'qua.ters situationjs developingand/orrhk her course.Sheshallil nece$arytakeall he.
ot collisionexists.lfso, sheshalltakeavoiding wry ottdnd in dnyeve"r navrSare wrh enreme
actionin ampletime, providedthat whensuch cautionuntildanteroI collisionis ovei
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SCANNED By MKP
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fll Rule 19 is a different set of rules that only apply when "vessels are not in sight of
one another".
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THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A STAND-ON VESSEL IN RESTRICTED VISIBILITY.
EI Every vessel must act!

f,l Avoid altering to port (lg(dXD) - An alteration of course to port (should be avoided) for

sf a vessel forward of the beam, except for a vesselyou are overtaking.

st Avoid altering towards ( I g(dxii)) - lf a target presents a collision or close quarters risk
abeam or abaft the beam you must act but avoid altering towards it.

EI THIS DOES NOT MEAN you cannot alter towards ANY vessel that may be abeam or

8l abaft the beam. Rule lg(dxiD only applies if there is a collision or close quarters risk.

8l Use your engines - Again always remember that you should have the option of using your
enginesas well as your helm.
8l
Proceed at a safe speed - have your enginesavailablefor immediate manoeuvring.
8l
lf you don't have radar, for whatever reason, )rou must proceed with extreme caution.
8l Listen for sound signals and respond accordingly.

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SCANNED By MKP

REMEMBER!
The COLREGSare not just adviceto the mariner-
they are THE LAW.

lf you disobeythe law you will sufferthe consequences.

lgnoranceof the law is nevera defence.

@ NonrH oF ENGLAND
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SCANNED By MKP

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{30
tsBN 0-9542012-9-9

$,r2e @ ruonrnoF EN6LAND