Question 1. Where Can I Get A Copy Of The Navigation Rules?
A free electronic copy of the Navigation Rules –Amalgamated (printer friendly) is available.
DOD activities and federal agencies may submit electronic orders for the Handbook (i.e. on the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s (NGA) Marine Safety-Digital Nautical Publication Quarterly CD-ROM Update) via Military/Federal Standard Requisitioning and Issue Procedures (MILSTRIP/FEDSTRIP, National Stock No.
Question 2. Have There Been Any Changes To Navigation Rules?
Question 3. What “vessels” Are Required To Comply With The Navigation Rules?
In Rule 3 the word vessel includes every description of watercraft, including non-displacement craft, WIG craft, and seaplanes, used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on water.
Courts have interpreted transportation to not just include passengers, but also goods or services. The Navigation Rules address vessels, not whom/what is controlling them.
Question 4. Am I Required To Carry A Copy Of The Inland Rules?
Per 33 CFR 83.01(g), the operator of each self-propelled vessel 12 meters or more in length shall carry, on board and maintain for ready reference, a copy of the Rules.
Question 5. Which Publications Can I Carry Electronically?
The following electronic publications are acceptable:
- U.S. Coast Pilot,
- Sailing Directions,
- Coast Guard Light List,
- List of Lights,
- tide-current and river-current tables,
- Notice to Mariners,
- Local Notice to Mariners,
- Notices to Navigation, and
- Vessel Traffic Services Rules.
Paper copies of certain publications are still required, including those not specifically listed in NVIC 01-16. Some examples are:
- Inland Rules (domestic regulation),
- International Code of Signals and Volume (SOLAS requirement), and
- Volume III of the International Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue Manual (SOLAS requirement)
These publications are required in hard-copy because meeting the access and “ready reference” requirements may be challenging for many electronic devices.
Question 6. Who Has The “right Of Way” On The Water?
The Navigation Rules convey a right-of-way only in one particular circumstance: to power-driven vessels proceeding downbound with a following current in narrow channels or fairways of the Great Lakes , Western Rivers, or other waters specified by regulation (Inland Rule 9(a)(ii)). Otherwise, power-driven vessels are to keep out of the way (Rule 18) and either give-way (Rule 16) or stand-on (Rule 17) to vessels not under command or restricted in their ability to maneuver, sailing vessels or vessels engaged in fishing, and, similarly vessels should avoid impeding the safe passage of a vessel constrained by her draft (Rule 18), navigating a narrow channel (Rule 9) or traffic separation scheme (Rule 10). The Rules do not grant privileges they impose responsibilities and require precaution under all conditions and circumstances; no Rule exonerates any vessel from the consequences of neglect (Rule 2). Neglect, among other things, could be not maintaining a proper look-out (Rule 5), use of improper speed (Rule 6), not taking the appropriate actions to determine and avoid collision (Rule 7 & 8) or completely ignoring your responsibilities under the Rules.
Note, a power driven vessel means any vessel propelled by machinery; regardless of the machinery being used or not.
Question 7. Rules 24(a-d) — Lights On Power-driven Vessels– Confuse Me?
The intent of Rule 24 is to state that the towing identification lights on a power driven vessel when towing may be carried in either the location of the forward masthead light or the after masthead light if carried. Rules 24(a) and 24(c) concern the description of the towing identification lights and where they shall be carried. Rule 24 (d) refers to Rule 23(a) which concerns the requirement for the masthead light(s).
Question 8. What Is The Safe Speed Or Passing Distance For Vessels?
The Navigation Rules -appropriately so- do not define a distinct safe speed or passing distance. According to Rule 16 – Action to Give-way when crossing, meeting, or overtaking another vessel, other than, as the give-way vessel, you are to keep well clear. Similarly, the distance a vessel may be required to take action to avoid collision, will vary, however it should be in accordance with Rule 6 – Safe Speed and Rule 8 – Action to Avoid Collision. These rules which state, amongst other things, that any alteration of course or speed shall be large enough to be readily apparent to another vessel and taken early enough to allow sufficient sea room for the safe passage of the other vessel and at a safe speed so that she can take proper and effective action to avoid collision and be stopped within a distance appropriate to the prevailing circumstances and conditions.
Question 9. What Is A Special Flashing Light?
View the Arcs of Visibility page for an explanation of a special flashing light.
Question 10. Who Specifies Whether A Waterway Is A Narrow Channel And Therefore Rule 9 Is Applicable?
A waterway is deemed a narrow channel by the practical and traditional uses of that waterway (usually a court determination) or it can be specified by the Secretary in 33 CFR 89.25.
Note, Rule 9 differs between the International and Inland sections.
Rule 9 Inland Rules: (a) A power-driven vessel traveling downbound with a following current shall have the right-of-way over an upbound vessel in the Great Lakes , Western Rivers , and those waters specified by the Secretary.
Rule 9 International Rules: (f) A vessel nearing a bend or an area of a narrow channel or fairway where other vessels may be obscured by an intervening obstruction shall navigate with particular alertness and caution and shall sound the appropriate signal prescribed in Rule 34(e).
Question 11. What Are The Regulations Concerning Wake Effects, Wake Damage, And Responsibility?
Regarding one’s wake, vessels over 1600 Gross Tons (GT) are specifically required by Title 33 CFR 164.11 to set the vessel’s speed with consideration for…the damage that might be caused by the vessel’s wake. Further, there may be State or local laws which specifically address “wake” for the waters in question.
While vessels under 1600 GT are not specifically required to manage their speed in regards to wake, they are still required to operate in a prudent matter which does not endanger life, limb, or property (46 USC 2302). Nor do the Navigation Rules exonerate any vessel from the consequences of neglect (Rule 2), which, among other things, could be unsafe speeds (Rule 6), improper lookout (Rule 5), or completely ignoring your responsibilities as prescribed by the Navigation Rules.
Question 12. Two Barges Are Being Pushed Ahead By A Tugboat. Which Statement Is True Concerning Lights On The Barges?
The barges should be lighted as one vessel.
Question 13. Which Light(s) Is(are) Among Those Shown By A 200-meter Vessel At Anchor?
Any available working lights to illuminate the decks.
Question 14. At Night, Power-driven Vessels Less Than 12 Meters In Length May, Instead Of The Underway Lights For Vessels Under 50 Meters, Show Which Lights?
One all-round white light and sidelights.
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