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The Navigation Rules are much like the rules of the road on the highway. They establish a consistent way to navigate safely and avoid collisions when two boats are crossing paths, are on course to meet head-on, or when one boat wishes to overtake another.

Commandant Inst. M16672.2D, NAVIGATION RULES, International-Inland

Electronic versions:

Navigation Rules book by section (International and Inland).  (.pdf only)
  • Part A and Part B (.pdf, 132 KB) (pg i-25) - Section / Subpart I
    • General
    • Conduct of Vessels in Any Condition of Visibility - Rules 1-10
  • Part B (.pdf, 28 KB) (pg 26-37) - Section / Subpart II-III
    • Conduct of Vessels in Sight of One Another - Rules 11-18
    • Conduct of Vessels in Restricted Visibility - Rule 19
  • Part C (.pdf, 359 KB) (pg 38-113) Lights and Shapes - Rules 20-31
  • Part D & E (.pdf, 62 KB) (pg 114-131) Sound and Light Signals / Exemptions - Rules 32-38
  • Annexes I-V (.pdf, 105 KB) (pg 132-173)
    • Positioning and Technical Details of Lights and Shapes
    • Additional Signals for Fishing Vessels Fishing in Close Proximity
    • Technical Details of Sound Appliances
    • Distress Signals
    • Pilot Rules
  • Miscellaneous (.pdf, 127 KB) (pg 174-215)
    • Interpretive Rules
    • COLREGS Demarcation Lines
    • Penalties Provisions
    • Alternative Compliance - International / Inland
    • Waters Specified by the Secretary
    • Vessel Bridge-to-Bridge Radiotelephone Regulations
    • Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) call signs, designated frequencies, and monitoring areas.
Rule Typographical Error Inserts:
  • Page 2. International: Rule 1(c). Insert the word "or" after "...convoy,..." and Footnote 1 to Part A, Rule 1. Change "Part 707" to "Part 706" and change "(32CFR707)" to "(32CFR706)." (.pdf, 8.15 KB) 
  • Page 3International and Inland: Footnote 1 to Part A, Rule 1. Change "Part 707" to "Part 706" and change "(32CFR707)" to "(32CFR706)." (.pdf, 8.97 KB)
  • Page 6. International: Rule 3(a) amended as follows: "..including nondisplacement craft, WIG craft and seaplanes.." (.pdf, 26 KB)
  • Page 8. International: Rule 3(m) is added as follows: "The term "Wing-In-Ground (WIG) craft" means a multimodal craft which, in its main operational mode, flies in close proximity to the surface by utilizing surface-effect action." (.pdf, 24 KB)
  • Page 18. International: Rule 8(a) is amended as follows: "...collision shall be taken in accordance with the Rules of this Part and shall, if the circumstances..." (.pdf, 24 KB)
  • Page 34. International: Rule 18(f) is added as follows:
    "(f)
            (i) A WIG craft shall, when taking off, landing and in flight near the surface, keep well clear of all other vessels and avoid impeding their navigation;
            (ii) a WIG craft operating on the water surface shall comply with the Rules of this Part as a power-driven vessel." (.pdf, 25 KB)
  • Page 48. International: Rule 23(c) is added as follows, and the old Rule 23(c) is renumbered 23(d): "(c) A WIG craft only when taking off, landing and in flight near the surface shall, in addition to the lights prescribed in paragraph (a) of this Rule, exhibit a high intensity all-round flashing red light." (.pdf, 29 KB)
  • Page 58. International: Rule 24(d). Change "Rule 23(a)(i)" to "Rule 23(a)(ii)." (.pdf, 119 KB) 
  • Page 112 . International: Rule 31 is amended as follows: "for a seaplane or a WIG craft to exhibit lights" (.pdf, 12 KB)
  • Page 114 . International: Rule 33(a) is amended as follows: "provided with a whistle, a vessel of 20 meters or more in length shall be provided with a bell in addition to a whistle, and a vessel of 100" (.pdf, 22 KB)
  • Page 122 . International: Rule 35(i) is added as follows and the old Rule 35)i) and (j) are renumbered as 35(j) and (k) respectively: "(i) A vessel of 12 meters or more but less than 20 meters in length shall not be obliged to give the bell signals prescribed in paragraphs (g) and (h) of this Rule. However, if she does not, she shall make some other efficient sound signal at intervals of not more than 2 minutes." (.pdf, 22 KB)
  • Page 137. Inland: Annex I, 84.05(d). Second sentence, change "...exhibit on..." to "...exhibit one..." (.pdf, 8.99 KB) 
  • Page 145. Inland  Annex I, 84.17 NOTE to paragraph (c).  Change "...1.28 meters appart..." to "...1.28 meters apart..." (.pdf, 12.9 KB) 
  • Page 148 . International: Annex I Section 13(a) and (b) are amended as follows:
    13(a) - The words "with a length to breadth ratio of less than 3.0" were removed.
    13(b) "(b) On high-speed craft of 50 meters or more in length, the vertical separation between foremast and mainmast light of 4.5 meters required by paragraph 29a)(ii) of this annex may be modified provided that such distance shall not be less than the value determined by the following formula:

    y = (a+17Y)C +2
              1000

    where: 

    • y is the height of the mainmast light above the foremast light in meters;
    • a is the height of the foremast light above the water surface in service condition in meters;
    • Y is the trim in service condition in degrees;
    • C is the horizontal separation of masthead lights in meters.

    * Refer to the International Code of Safety for High-Speed Craft, 1994 and the International Code of Safety for High-Speed Craft, 2000" (.pdf, 32 KB)

  • Page 150. International: Annex II, Section 2(a) and (b) change "...may exhibit..." to "...shall exhibit..." (.pdf, 11.3 KB) 
  • Page 152-155 . International: Annex III Section I(a) and (c) are amended as follows:
    (a) "...which lie within the range 180-700Hz (+/-1%) for a vessel of 20 meters or more in length, or 180-2100Hz (+/-1%) for a vessel of less than 20 meters in length and which..."
    (c) "...range of frequencies 180-700Hz (+/-1%) for a vessel of 20 meters or more in length, or 180-2100Hz (+/-1%) for..." and

    Length of vessel in meters

    1/3rd-octave band level at 1 meter in dB referred to 2X10-5N/m2 Audibility range in nautical miles
    200 or more
    75 but less than 200
    20 but less than 75
    143
    138
    130
    2
    1.5
    1
    Less than 20 120*1
    115*2
    111*3
    0.5

    *1 When the measured frequencies lie within the range 180-450Hz
    *2 When the measured frequencies lie within the range 450-800Hz
    *3 When the measured frequencies lie within the range 800-2100Hz
    (.pdf, 57 KB)
  • Page 160 . International: Annex III Section 2(b) the words "and shall be not less than 200 mm for vessels of 12 meters or more but of less than 20 meters in length" were removed. (.pdf, 26 KB)
  • Page 207. Waters Specified by the Secretary. 33CFR89.27(b)(1) change "...Dupont Fixed Badge..." to "...Dupont Fixed Bridge..." and 33CFR89.27(b)(11) change "Christl" to "Christi". (.pdf, 13.4 KB) 

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