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

(a) Any action taken to avoid collision shall, if the circumstances of the case admit, be positive, made in ample time and with due regard to the observance of good

(b) Any alteration of course and/or speed to avoid collision shall, if the circumstances of the case admit be large enough to be readily apparent to another vessel observing visually or by radar;a succession of small alterations of course and/or speed shall be avoided.

(c) If there is sufficient sea room, alteration of course alone may be the most effective action to avoid a close-quarters situation provided that it is made in good time, is substantial and does not result in another close-quarters situation.

(d) Action taken to avoid collision with another vessel shall be such as to result in passing at a safe distance. The effectiveness of the action shall be carefully checked until the other vessel is finally past and clear.

(e) If necessary to avoid collision or allow more time to asses the situation, a vessel may slacken her speed or take all way off by stopping or reversing her means of propulsion.


(i) A vessel which, by any of these rules, is required not to impede the passage or safe passage of another vessel shall when required by the circumstances of the case, take early action to allow sufficient sea room for the safe passage of the other vessel.

(ii) A vessel required not to impede the passage or safe passage of another vessel is not relieved of this obligation if approaching the other vessel so as to involve risk of collision and shall, when taking action, have full regard to the action which may be required by the rules of this part.

(iii) A vessel the passage of which is not to be impeded remains fully obliged to comply with the rules of this part when the two vessels are approaching one another so as to involve risk of collision.


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