Waypoint Amsterdam Sailing School

The Collisions Regulations for yachties

International Regulations for Avoiding Collisions at Sea or IRPCS. The rules are specified in great detail in the regulations and the serious student is encouraged to seek the definitive document. Certain individuals are legally required to carry or possess a copy of the rules, such as the owners and/or operators of certain vessels. These legal requirements vary by jurisdiction. Consult the appropriate maritime authorities for each jurisdiction. Any individual subject to such requirements should obtain a complete, official copy from a government or official source. However, the rules are summarized below.

Part A - General

(a) 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 seamen, or by the special circumstances of the case.

This Rule place the responsibility not only on the Master and the Officer of the Watch of the vessel and her crew but also on the owner and possibly the owner’s agent for the consequences of any neglect in complying with the rules. For example, it is the responsibilty of the master to ensure that a person with the right competency is in charge of the navigation watch. It is also the responsibility of the agent or the owner to make sure that the vessel is competently manned in compliance with the MCA safe manning rules.

This Rule also talks about the “ordinary practice of seamen”, which might be read as the nautical common sense.

(b) In construing and complying with these Rules due regard shall be had to all dangers of navigation and collision and to any special circumstances, including the limitations of the vessels involved, which may make a departure from these Rules necessary to avoid immediate danger.

If you are obliged by the circumstances, you must take whatever action is appropriate to avoid a collision.



Part B - Steering and Sailing Rules

Section I - Conduct of Vessels in any Condition of Visibility

Section II - Conduct of Vessels in Sight of One Another

Section III - Conduct of Vessels in Restricted Visibility

Part C - Lights and Shapes

Part D - Sound and Light Signals

Part E - Exemptions