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

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

The lights prescribed in these Rules shall have an intensity as specified in Section 8 of Annex I to these Regulations so as to be visible at the following minimum ranges:

(a) In vessels of 50 meters or more in length:

  • a masthead light, 6 miles;
  • a sidelight, 3 miles;
  • a towing light, 3 miles;
  • a white red, green or yellow all-around light, 3 miles.

(b) In vessels of 12 meters or more in length but less than 50 meters in length:

  • a masthead light, 5 miles; except that where the length of the vessel is less than 20 meters, 3 miles;
  • a sidelight, 2 miles;
  • a sternlight, 2 miles;
  • a towing light, 2 miles;
  • a white, red, green or yellow all-round light, 2 miles.

(c) In vessels of less than 12 meters in length:

  • a masthead light, 2 miles;
  • a sidelight, 1 miles; a towing light, 2 miles;
  • a white red, green or yellow all-around light, 2 miles.

(d) In inconspicuous, partly submerged vessels or objects being towed;

  • a white all-round light; 3 miles.


Part D - Sound and Light Signals

Part E - Exemptions