USCG Navigation Rules and Regulations Handbook

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Previous Edition: USCG Navigation Rules International - Inland COMDTINST M16672.2D

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USCG Navigation Rules and Regulations Handbook

Corrected through LNM 48-15 NTM 50-15 Dec 12, 2015 

Containing: 

─ International and Inland Rules of the Road and their respective Annexes
─ Bridge-to-Bridge Radiotelephone regulations
─ Vessel Traffic Management Regulations
─ Other pertinent regulations for waterway users

INTRODUCTION
International Rules
The International Rules in this book were formalized in the Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1972, and became effective on July 15, 1977. The Rules (commonly called 72 COLREGS) are part of the Convention, and vessels flying the flags of states ratifying the treaty are bound to the Rules. The United States has ratified this treaty and all United States flag vessels must adhere to these Rules where applicable. President Gerald R. Ford proclaimed 72 COLREGS and the Congress adopted them as the International Navigational Rules Act of 1977. The 72 COLREGS were developed by the Inter-Governmental Maritime.

Inland Regulations
The Inland Rules in this book replace the old Inland Rules, Western Rivers Rules, Great Lakes Rules, their respective pilot rules and interpretive rules, and parts of the Motorboat Act of 1940. Many of the old navigation rules were originally enacted in the 1800’s. Occasionally, provisions were added to cope with the increasing complexities of water transportation. Eventually, the navigation rules for United States inland waterways became such a confusing patchwork of requirements that in the 1960’s several attempts were made to revise and simplify them. These attempts were not successful.

Following the signing of the Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1972, a new effort was made to unify and update the various inland navigation rules. This effort culminated in the enactment of the Inland Navigational Rules Act of 1980. This legislation sets out Rules 1 through 38 - the main body of the Rules. The five Annexes were published as regulations. It is important to note that with the exception of Annex V to the Inland Rules, the International and Inland Rules and Annexes are very similar in both content and format.

The effective date for the Inland Navigation Rules was December 24, 1981, except for the Great Lakes where the effective date was March 1, 1983.

On May 17, 2010 the US Coast Guard published a Final Rule which placed the Inland Navigational Rules into the Code of Federal Regulations. This move was in accordance with the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2004, which repealed the Inland Navigation Rules as they appeared in United States Code.

This Handbook supersedes Commandant Instruction M16672.2D, Navigation Rules: International Inland. It maintains the same format and provides additional and updated content. Not all U.S. Navigation Regulations found in Title 33 of the Code of Federal Regulations are contained in this handbook.

Consultative Organization (IMCO) which in May 1982 was renamed the International Maritime Organization (IMO). In November 1981, IMO’s Assembly adopted 55 amendments to the 72 COLREGS which became effective on June 16, 1983. The IMO also adopted 9 more amendments which became effective on June 29, 1989. A single amendment became effective March 19, 1991. In 1993 8 amendments were adopted by the IMO which entered into force in 1995. The IMO adopted 9 amendments which entered into force November 29, 2003. Lastly, a single amendment was adopted which updated the Distress signals and entered into force on December 1, 2009. The International Rules in this book contain these amendments. These Rules are applicable on waters outside of established navigational lines of demarcation. The lines are called COLREGS Demarcation Lines and delineate those waters upon which mariners shall comply with the Inland and

CONTENTS‡
INTRODUCTION ................................................................................................................... i
LEGAL CITATIONS ............................................................................................................. iii
CONVERSION TABLE ....................................................................................................... iv
NAVIGATION RULES AND REGULATIONS
INTERNATIONAL AND INLAND NAVIGATION RULES
PART A|SUBPART A—GENERAL
Rule 1—Application ................................................................................................ 2
Rule 2—Responsibility ............................................................................................ 4
Rule 3—General Definitions ................................................................................. 6
PART B|SUBPART B—STEERING AND SAILING RULES
Section I—Conduct of Vessels in Any Condition of Visibility
Rule 4—Application .............................................................................................. 10
Rule 5—Look-out .................................................................................................. 10
Rule 6—Safe Speed ................................................................................................ 12
Rule 7—Risk of Collision ..................................................................................... 14
Rule 8—Action to Avoid Collision .................................................................... 16
Rule 9—Narrow Channels ................................................................................... 18
Rule 10—Traffic Separation Schemes .................................................................. 20
Section II—Conduct of Vessels in Sight of One Another
Rule 11—Application ............................................................................................. 22
Rule 12—Sailing Vessels ........................................................................................ 22
Rule 13—Overtaking .............................................................................................. 24
Rule 14—Head-on Situation ................................................................................. 24
Rule 15—Crossing Situation ................................................................................. 26
Rule 16—Action by Give-way Vessel ................................................................. 26
Rule 17—Action by Stand-on Vessel .................................................................. 26
Rule 18—Responsibilities Between Vessels ....................................................... 28
Section III—Conduct of Vessels in Restricted Visibility
Rule 19—Conduct of Vessels in Restricted Visibility ...................................... 30
PART C|SUBPART C—LIGHTS AND SHAPES
Rule 20—Application ............................................................................................. 32
Rule 21—Definitions .............................................................................................. 34
Rule 22—Visibility of Lights ................................................................................. 36
Rule 23—Power-driven Vessels Underway ........................................................ 38
Rule 24—Towing and Pushing ............................................................................. 46
Rule 25—Sailing Vessels Underway and Vessels Under Oars ....................... 60
Rule 26—Fishing Vessels ....................................................................................... 68
Rule 27—Vessels Not Under Command or Restricted in
Their Ability to Maneuver ................................................................... 74

PART C|SUBPART C—LIGHTS AND SHAPES, CONTINUED
Rule 28—Vessels Constrained by Their Draft / [Reserved] .......................... 86
Rule 29—Pilot Vessels ........................................................................................... 88
Rule 30—Anchored Vessels and Vessels Aground / Anchored vessels,
aground and moored barges ............................................................... 90
Rule 31—Seaplanes ................................................................................................. 96
PART D|SUBPART D—SOUND AND LIGHT SIGNALS
Rule 32—Definitions .............................................................................................. 96
Rule 33—Equipment for Sound Signals ............................................................. 96
Rule 34—Maneuvering and Warning Signals .................................................... 98
Rule 35—Sound Signals in Restricted Visibility .............................................. 102
Rule 36—Signals to Attract Attention .............................................................. 104
Rule 37—Distress Signals .................................................................................... 106
PART E|SUBPART E—EXEMPTIONS
Rule 38—Exemptions .......................................................................................... 108
ANNEXES - INTERNATIONAL AND INLAND NAVIGATION RULES
Annex I — Positioning and Technical Details of Lights and Shapes ..... 112
Annex II — Additional Signals for Fishing Vessels
Fishing in Close Proximity / [Reserved] ................................. 126
Annex III — Technical Details of Sound Signal Appliances ...................... 128
Annex IV — Distress Signals ............................................................................. 134
Annex V — [Blank] / Pilot Rules .................................................................... 137
INTERPRETATIVE RULES
Composite Units, Moored Vessels, and Unmanned Barges ................................... 138
PENALTY PROVISIONS ................................................................................................. 140
IMPLEMENTING RULES
Certificate of Alternative Compliance—International & Inland ........................... 142
Waters Upon Which Inland Rules 9(a)(ii), 14(d), 15(b) and 24(i) Apply ............. 145
COLREGS DEMARCATION LINES .......................................................................... 146
OPERATIONS OF VESSELS GENERALLY
Penalties for Negligent Operations and Interfering with Safe Operations ......... 158
Duties Related to Marine Casualty Assistance and Information ........................... 159
Post Serious Marine Casualty Alcohol Testing ......................................................... 160
Duty to Provide Assistance at Sea ............................................................................... 160
Injunctions ........................................................................................................................ 160
Vessel Reporting Requirements ................................................................................... 161
Limitation of Liability for Coast Guard Vessel Traffic Service Pilots .................. 161
VESSEL BRIDGE-TO-BRIDGE RADIOTELEPHONE REGULATIONS 162
VESSEL TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT ......................................................................... 167
Table 161.12(c) - VTS and VMRS Centers, Call Signs/MMSI,
Designated Frequencies, and Monitoring ......................................................... 187

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