Navigation Lights-Power Driven Vessels

It is time to start a new series of posts, a series that returns to explore COLREGS. The series of posts will start its  dive into the Navigation Light Rules with the most common set of lights seen deep sea, a power-driven vessel of  50  metres in length underway.

Note: These posts will not reproduce the Rules word perfect, so please refer to copy of the Regulations for the original wording.

Power Driven Vessel Lights

What Rule covers power driven vessels underway?

RULE 23 Power-driven Vessels Underway

It is important to note when interpreting this Rule two of the definitions in Rule 3, namely

  • That Power-driven vessel means any vessel propelled by machinery
  • Underway means that a vessel is not at anchor, or made fast to the shore, or aground

What is contained in Rule 23?

  • (a) What a power driven Vessel Underway must exhibit
  • (b) What an air cushion vessel should exhibit
  • (c) What a power driven vessel of less than 12 metres in length should exhibit

What lights must a power driven vessel underway show?Power Driven vessel end on

  • Masthead light forward
  • A second masthead light abaft of and higher than the forward one; a vessel of less than 50 meters in length shall not be obliged to exhibit such light but may do so
  • sidelights
  • A stern light

The lights of smalI power driven vessels

Of less than 12 meters in length

May insted of the masthead lights and side lights lights exhibit an all-round white light and sidelights.

Of less less than 7 meters in length whose maximum speed does not exceed 7 knots

May exhibit an all round white light instead of masthead, side and stern lights, but shall, if practicable, also exhibit sidelights.

How may the positioning of the lights of a power driven vessel less than 12 meters in length differ?

The masthead light or all-round white light may be displaced from the fore and aft centerline of the vessel if centerline fitting is not practicable, as long as the sidelights are combined in one lantern which shall be carried on the fore and aft centerline of the vessel or located as nearly as Power Driven Vessel from Asternpracticable in the same fore and aft line as the masthead light or the all-round white light.

The size requirements list simplified

  • 50m: Two masthead lights required
  • 12m: May combine masthead and stern lights in all round light
  • 7m/7knts: May replace all the lights with an all round light

The next post will look at the meanings of the key terms in Rule 23.

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COLREGS and Navigation lights

It is time for a change of tack across on the Navregs blog, to leave the SOLAS V  posts to one side for a bit and delve down into a subject area not covered for a while, the COLREGS. This time it is lights.

The posts will start at the generic level, and then descend into more and more detail, and see where it finally reaches the bottom of the regulatory pile.

Power Driven Vessel Lights

Which Rules cover navigation lights?

Here is a list the COLREG rules defining the lights vessels must show. Part C of the Rules is the section covering navigation lights. As the posts build in this series, so this list will have links added to form a useful index.

  • Rule 20 Application
  • Rule 22 Visibility of lights
  • Rule 23 Power driven vessels underway
  • Rule 24 Towing and Pushing
  • Rule 25 Sailing Vessels Underway and vessels Under oars
  • Rule 26 Fishing Vessels
  • Regulation 27 Vessels Not Under Command or Restricted in Their Ability To Manoeuvre
  • Rule 28 Vessels constrained by their draft
  • Rule 29 Pilot Vessels
  • Rule 30 Anchored Vessels and Vessels aroun
  • Rule 31 Seaplanes

The Annexes

Much of the technical specifications of navigation lights is contained within ANNEX I.

  • ANNEX I-Positioning and technical details of lights and shapes
  • ANNEX II-Additional Signals for fishing vessels fishing in close proximity

What is contained within the Navigation light Rules?A Masthead Light

And here is a list of the contents of those Rules, and some additional rules from the rest of the COLREGS with navlight related topics.

Rule 1 Application

  • (C) Additional lights and shapes
  • (E) Vessels of special constuction or purpose

Part C lights and shapes

Rule 20 Application

  •  (a) Requirement to comply with  in all weathers.
  •  (b) Requirement to comply with at night.
  • (c) When to require with  part during the day
  •  (e) The lights  shall comply with the provisions of Annex I

Rule  21 DefinitionsPort Sidelight

  • (a) Masthead light
  • (b) Sidelights
  • (c) Sternlight
  • (d) Towing  light
  • (e) All -Round light
  • (f) Flashing light

Rule 22 Visibility of lights

  • (a) Vessels of 50 metres or more in length
  • (b) Vessels  of 12 metres or more in length but less than 50 metres in length
  • (c) Vessels of less than 12 metres in length
  • (d) Lights on inconspicuous towed vessels or objects

Rule 23 Power driven vessels underway

  • (a) What a power driven Vessel Underway must exhibit
  • (b) What an air cushion vessel should exhibit
  • (c) What a power driven vessel of less than 12 metres in length should exhibit

Rule 24 Towing and Pushing

  • (a) What a power driven vessel when towing must exhibitAll-round lights
  • (b) What a vessel pushing ahead as a composite unit shall exhibit
  • (c) What a vessel pushing ahead of towing alongside shall exhibit
  • (d) Requirement to comply with Rule 23(a}(ii) in addition
  • (e) What a vessel or object being towed should exhibit
  • (f) What a group of vessels being towed should exhibit
  • (g) What inconspicuous or partly submerged objects or vessels should exhibit.
  • (h) When a towed vessel cannot exhibit these lights
  • (i) What can be displayed by vessels towing a vessel in distress or need of assistance

Rule 25 Sailing Vessels Underway and vessels Under oars

  • (a) What a sailing vessel underway should exhibit
  • (b) What a sailing vessel of less than 20 metres in length
  • (c) Additional lights that may be shown by sailing vessels
  • (d) What sailing vessels of less than 7 metres in length and vessels under oars shall show

Rule 26 Fishing Vessels

  • (a) Requirement that a vessel engaged in fishing should comply with only this RuleFishing Vessel lights
  • (b) What a vessel engaged in trawling shall exhibit
  • (c) What a vessel engaged in fishing other then trawling shall exhibit
  • (d) When the additional signals in Annex II can be used
  • (e) What a vessel not engaged in fishing shall exhibit

Regulation 27 Vessels Not Under Command or Restricted in Their Ability To Manoeuvre

  • (a) What a vessel not under command shal exhibit
  • (b) What a vessel restricted in her ability to manoeuvre shall exhibit
  • (c) What a towing vessel when restricted in her ability to manoeuvre should exhibit
  • (d) What a vessel engaged in dredging or underwater operations shall exhibit
  • (e) What a small vessel engaged in diving may exhibit
  • (f) What a vessel engaged in mine clearance shall exhibit
  • (g) The requirements for vessels less than 12 metres in length
  • (h) These lights do not mean distress

Rule 28 Vessels constrained by their draft

Rule 29 Pilot Vessels

  • (a) What a pilot vessel engaged in pilot duty shall exhibit
  • (b) What a pilot vessel not engaged in pilot duty shall exhibit

Rule 30 Anchored Vessels and Vessels around

  • (a) What a vessel at anchor shall exhibit
  • (b) What a vessel of less than 50 metres in length may exhibit when at anchor
  • (c) What a vessel of over a 100 metres in length shall exhibit in addition

Rule 31 Seaplanes

What lights a seaplane shall exhibit

Rule 36 Signals to attract Attention

Rule 38 Exemptions

The following expemtions are still in force:

  • The repositioning of lights as a result of conversion from Imperial to metric units and rounding off measurement figures
  • The repositioning of masthead lights on vessels of less than 150 meters in length, resulting from theprescriptions of Section 3(a) of Annex I
  •  The repositioning of all-round lights resulting from the prescription of Section 9(b) of Annex I

The Annexes

Navigation lights from the bulk of the  Annexes of the COLREGS. ANNEX I contains all the detail of what, where, and how the lights should be fitted.



  • 1. Definition
  • 2. Vertical positioning and spacing of lights
  • 3. Horizontal positioning and spacing of lights
  • 4. Details of location of direction-indicating lights for fishing vessels, dredgers
  • and vessels engaged in underwater operations
  • 5. Screens for sidelights
  • 7. Colour specification of lights
  • 8. Intensity of lights
  • 9. Horizontal sectors
  • 10. Vertical sectors
  • 11. Intensity of non-electric lights
  • 12. Manoeuvring light
  • 13. High Speed Craft
  • 14. Approval


Additional Signals for fishing vessels fishing in close proximity

  • 1. General
  • 2. Signals for trawlers
  • 3. Signals for purse seiners

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The requirement to keep nautical charts and publications up to date

Adequate and up to date, the two important features that SOLAS V demands of charts and publications. This post looks at that requirement in more detail, and also introduces a new book in the ‘Really Handy Guide’ range of Kindle Revision aids.

Bridge wings and MoonSOLAS V Regulation 27 – Nautical Charts and Nautical Publications

What are the requirements for the carriage of nautical charts and publications according to SOLAS V?

Nautical charts and nautical publications necessary for the intended voyage, shall be:

  • Adequate
  • Up to date

Note: Flag states can have some flexibility in defining which ships have to comply with this Regulation. In the case of UK flagged ships it applies to all ships except for pleasure vessels of less than 150 gt.

What type of publications does this refer to?

Sailing directions, lists of lights, notices to mariners, tide tables and all other nautical publications.

A definition from the regulations

 “Nautical chart” or “nautical publication” is a special-purpose map or book, or a specially compiled database from which such a map or book is derived, that is issued officially by or on the authority of a Government, authorized Hydrographic Office or other relevant government institution and is designed to meet the requirements of marine navigation.” Regulation 2

What SOLAS Regulation states the carriage requirements for charts and nautical publications?

SOLAS V Regulation 19.

Where can I find some useful guidance on the carriage and use of Nautical Charts and Publications?

In Annex 3 to the UK guidance to SOLAS V.

Guidance on the use of Electronic Charts is contained in ANNEX 14.
Bridge window

UK guidance on the updating of electronic charts

Within the  UK MCA SOLAS V guidance is a section on the updating of electronic charts, here is a summary of the key points.

  • Updates available in port should be applied before passage planning commences and before leaving port.
  •  If updates are received at sea they should be applied as soon as possible.
  • Any changes relevant to the execution of the passage plan should be noted on the passage plan
  •  Updates need to be applied to both primary and secondary systems
  •  Records should be kept of when updates are received and applied
  •  During passage planning it should be checked that any licences concerning the use of the software and its updates will remain valid for a period in excess of the expected worst-case voyage duration. If this is not the case corrective action needs to be taken.

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Keeping the seas clean

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The International Code of Signals and IAMSAR manual in SOLAS

SOLAS V Regulation 21 – International Code of Signals and IAMSAR Manual

Those SOLAS V regulations are being slowly and surely visited in this blog; the evidence of growing hyperlinks on the index page confirms this, the gaps are disappearing. This post looks at the requirement for vessels to carry two publications, the International Code of Signals and IAMSAR manual.

RY flag signal being flown by HMS Warrior

Which ships are required to carry a copy of the International Code of Signals?

All ships which, in accordance with SOLAS are required to carry a radio installation shallCodeSignals carry the International Code of Signals. This means all passenger ships, and all cargo ships of 300 GT and over, when engaged on international voyages,

What does IAMSAR stand for?

International Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue

Which ships are required to carry an IAMSAR manual?

SOLAS V states that all ships shall carry an up-to-date copy of Volume III of the (IAMSAR) Manual. However, SOLAS also gives flag states the authority to ammend this requirement. In the case of UK flagged ships the following ships are not required to carry the manual:

  • Ships below 150 gt on any voyage
  • Ships below 500 gt not engaged on international voyages
  • fishing vessels

Click here for information from the IMO on the IAMSAR manual>

What is the IAMSAR manual?

The Manual provides guidelines for a common aviation and maritime approach to IAMSAR

organizing and providing search and rescue (SAR) services. It is Jointly published by IMO and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

Click to find IAMSAR Manual on Amazon>

The three IAMSAR volumes

Volume I, Organization and Management

  • The global Search and Rescue (SAR) system conceptimg_20160915_071815_kindlephoto-118812233.jpg
  • The  establishment and improvement of national and regional SAR systems
  • Co-operation with neighbouring States to provide effective and economical SAR services.

Volume II, Mission Co-ordination

The planning  and co- ordination SAR operations and exercises.

Volume III, Mobile Facilities

To be carried aboard rescue units, aircraft and vessels to help with performance of a search, rescue or on-scene co-ordinator function, and with aspects of SAR that apply to their own emergencies.

A useful web page-IMO codes

Whilst wandering around the internet researching this post I stumbled across this useful resource from the IMO.

Abbreviations of IMO codes>

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Electromagnetic Compatibility and Navigational Equipment

A Handy Guide to SOLAS V Regulation 17 – Electromagnetic Compatibility

Polarcus Alima's bridge

After that brief pause to look at changes to MARPOL this blog now returns to exploring the regulations of SOLAS Chapter V.

Click here to read Regulation 17 on the UK MCA website>

What vessels must comply with Regulation 17?

Ships constructed on or after 1 July 2002

What does this regulation require regarding equipment testing of bridge equipment?

That all electrical and electronic equipment on the bridge or in the vicinity of the bridge is tested for electromagnetic compatibility (EMC).

What resolution gives the requirements for Electromagnetic compatibility with navigational equipment?


Click here to view the resolution>

What should the installation of electrical and electronic equipment avoid with regards to bridge navigation equipment?

Electromagnetic interference affecting the proper function of navigational systems and equipment. Portable electrical and electronic equipment shall not be operated on the bridge if it may affect the proper function of navigational systems and equipment.

What must masters ensure regarding portable electronic equipment being used on a ship’s bridge?

That no portable electrical or electronic equipment that might cause interference is used on or near the bridge. This includes not only ship’s equipment but also personal items such as  portable radios, hi-fi equipment and lap top computers. Non-transmitting equipment displaying the European “CE” mark will probably not cause interference.

Mobile phones, while not likely to cause electromagnetic interference, prove to be an increasing distraction to safe navigation. MGN (M&F) 299 – Interference with Safe Navigation through inappropriate use of Mobile Phones is to be complied with.

IECFor Electromagnetic Compatibility standards refer to IEC 60945

Click to search for IEC 60945 on Amazon>

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Statement of Compliance-fuel oil consumption reporting


A Handy Guide to the new MARPOL documentation

The 2018 amendments to MARPOL have brought with it a new piece of documentation for Ship's funnelship’s to carry- The statement of compliance for fuel oil consumption reporting. This post gives a quick look at the requirements surrounding that statement.

Why does a statement of compliance for fuel oil consumption reporting require to be submitted?

It is required under MARPOL Regulation 22A – Collection and Reporting of Ship Fuel Oil Consumption Data.

Which ships have to hold a statement?

Ship of 5,000 gross tonnage and above.

What does the statement declare?

  • That the ship has submitted to this Administration the data required by regulation 22A of Annex VI of MARPOL
  • The data was collected and reported in accordance with the methodology and processes set out in the ship’s SEEMP

 Click to search for MARPOL on AMAZON>

What information is shown on the statement?

  • Name of ship
  • Distinctive number or letters
  • IMO Number
  • Port of registry
  • Gross tonnage
  • Validity date
  • Period for which data was submitted

What is the validity of the Statement?

Normally for the calendar year in which it is issued and for the first five months of the following calendar year.

What does MARPOL Regulation 22A require?Supply boat funnels at Dubai

  • That from the calendar year 2019, each ship of 5,000 gross tonnage and above shall collect the data on fuel consumption
  • At the end of each calendar year, the ship shall aggregate the data collected in that calendar year or portion thereof, as appropriate.
  • Within three months after the end of each calendar year, the ship shall report to its Administration or any organization duly authorized by it, the aggregated data via electronic communication and using a standardized format required by the IMO

What information is required to be submitted?

  • Identity of the ship
  • IMO number
  • Period of calendar year for which the data is submitted
  • Ship type
  • Gross tonnage
  • Net tonnage
  • Deadweight tonnage
  • Power output of main and auxiliary reciprocating internal combustion engines over 130 kW
  • EEDI (if applicable)
  • Ice class
  • Fuel oil consumption, by fuel oil type in metric tonnes
  • Methods used for collecting fuel oil consumption data
  • Distance travelled
  • Hours underway

Where can more information on MARPOL 22A be found?


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The MARPOL 2018 amendments have arrived

Fish at Plymouth Aquarium

A quick summary of the March 2018 MARPOL changes

A pause in the SOLAS V posts to have a look at some important changes that have just occurred to MARPOL, including the introduction of a new certificate.

March 2018 as brought some changes to MARPOL, the most important of which is the requirement to start reporting fuel consumption. This post gives a quick summary of those changes.

What do the amended MARPOL Regulations cover?

  • Ship fuel consumption data reporting requirements
  • Cargo Residues Harmful to the marine environment
  • Changes to the garbage record book
  • Introduction of new category of ‘E’ Waste
  • Amendments to IOPP certificate to cover segregated ballast tanks

Click for the IMO page on the amendments>

What MARPOL Regulations are changed?

  • Regulation 1 – Application
  • Regulation 2 – Definitions
  • Regulation 3 – Exceptions and Exemptions
  • Regulation 5 – Surveys
  • Regulation 6 – Issue or Endorsement of Certificates
  • Regulation 8 – Form of Certificates
  • Regulation 9 – Duration and Validity of Certificates and Statements of Compliance related to Fuel Oil Consumption Reporting
  • Regulation 10-Port state control operational requirements
  • Regulation 22-Ship Energy Management Efficiency Plan
  • Regulation 22A – Collection and Reporting of Ship Fuel Oil Consumption Data
  • Appendix I – Criteria for the Classification of Solid Bulk Cargoes as Harmful to the Marine Environment
  • Appendix II- Form of Garbage record book
  • Appendix IX – Information to be Submitted to the IMO Ship Fuel Oil Consumption Database
  • Appendix X – Form of Statement of Compliance – Fuel Oil Consumption Reporting

Click to search for MARPOL on AMAZON>

What are the key requirements of MARPOL Regulation 22A?QE2 funnel

  • From the calendar year 2019 each ship of 5,000 GRT and above shall collect fuel consumption data
  • Within 3 months of the end of each calendar year the data shall be aggregated and reported to the ship’s flag state Administration
  • The IMO will include the information in a fuel consumption data base

What is ‘E’ Waste?

Electrical and electronic equipment  including all components with the presence of material potentially hazardous to human health and/or the environment.

What is the biggest change to the garbage record book?

The Record of Garbage Discharges is now divided into two parts. Part I for the use of all ships and Part II, required for ships that carry solid bulk cargoes

The next post will look at the new certificate introduced by these changes

wpid-wp-1413749817712.jpeg A Really Handy Guide to learn the Collision Regulations

This is one of the series of COLREG revision aids in the Kindle format. If you are revising for officer of the watch examinations then download a sample from Amazon to give it a try.

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A handy guide to the SOLAS requirements for the carriage of LRIT

Dubai and ship

Another post, and another piece of equipment required by SOLAS V

What does LRIT stand for?

Long-Range Identification and Tracking

It a system that enables the global identification and tracking of ships using existing  GMDSS equipment on board (INMARSAT-C)

What SOLAS Regulation Requires LRIT to be carried?

Regulation 19-1

This regulation establishes provisions to enable Contracting Governments to undertake the long-range identification and tracking of ships.

 What ships are required to carry LRIT?


Click on the picture to see this diagram on the IMO website

The following ships engaged on international voyages:

  • Passenger ships, including high-speed passenger craft;
  • Cargo ships, including high-speed craft, of 300 gross tonnage and upwards; and
  • Mobile offshore drilling units.

Ships, operated exclusively within sea area A1 shall not be required to carry LRIT

 What information must be automatically transmitted?

Ships shall automatically transmit the following long-range identification and tracking information:

  •  The identity of the ship
  • The position of the ship (latitude and longitude)
  • The date and time of the position provided

A ship’s LRIT equipment must transmit position reports at 6-hour intervals unless a more frequent interval is requested remotely by an LRIT Data Centre

When can the equipment be switched off?

In exceptional circumstances and for the shortest duration possible where the operation Bridge widow with a gold screenis considered by the master to compromise the safety or security of the ship. In such a case, the master shall inform the Administration without undue delay and make an entry in the record of navigational activities and setting out the reasons for the decision and indicating the period during which the system or equipment was switched off.

Who can receive the information?

An Administration shall be entitled to receive such information about ships entitled to fly its flag irrespective of where such ships may be located.

A Contracting Government shall be entitled to receive such information about ships which have indicated their intention to enter a port facility, or a place under the jurisdiction of that Contracting Government, irrespective of where such ships may be located provided they are not located within the waters landward of the baselines of another Contracting Government.

A  Contracting Government shall be entitled to receive such information about ships entitled to fly the flag of other Contracting Governments, not intending to enter a port facility or a place under the jurisdiction of that Contracting Government, navigating within a distance not exceeding 1,000 nautical miles of its coast provided such ships are not located within the waters landward of the baselines, established in accordance with international law, of another Contracting Government.

 Can ship’s be charged for receipt of LRIT information?

Contracting Governments shall not impose any charges on ships in relation to the long-range identification and tracking information they may seek to receive.

What certification is required for LRIT?

A LRIT Conformance report.

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The maintenance of navigation equipment

Radars , radios and lights on ship's gantry mastSOLAS V Regulation 16-Maintenance of equipment.

On the Navregs  blog writing the front the exploration of SOLAS V continues . This time the focus is on maintenance.

What is the requirements for the maintenance of navigational equipment?

That adequate arrangements are in place to ensure that the performance of the equipment required by SOLAS Chapter V is maintained.

Note This will include ensuring that proper manuals enabling on-board maintenance are available and that that companies have ensured a comprehensive back-up service, including provision of both spares and maintenance engineers by manufacturers or their agents.

Can a vessel sail with defective navigational equipment?

Yes, where repair facilities are not readily available, provided suitable arrangements are made by the master to take the inoperative equipment or unavailable information into account in planning and executing a safe voyage to a port where repairs can take place. In such cases the vessel must obtain approval from their flag state. Approval to sail will not apply to cases when the defects are detected during a safety survey.

The decision to allow a vessel to sale with defective equipment  will depend on the equipment involved, the magnitude of the malfunction and it’s effect on the ship being able to complete the voyage safely.

Equipment manuals and IEC

IEC 60945, issued by the IEC states that equipment manuals must be:

  • Be written in English
  • Identify the category of the equipment or units to which they refer
  • in the case of equipment so designed that fault diagnosis and repair down to component level are practicable, provide full circuit diagrams, component layouts and a component parts list
  • In the case of equipment containing complex modules in which fault diagnosis and repair down to component level are not practicable, contain sufficient information to enable a defective complex module to be located, identified and replaced.

IEC is the international Electrotechnical Commission.

ISM and maintenance

ISM paragraph 5.10 contains the codes requirements for maintenance.

“5.10 Maintenance of the Ship and Equipment

5.10.1 The Company should establish procedures to ensure that the ship is maintained in conformity with the provisions of the relevant rules and regulations and with any additional requirements which may be established by the Company.

5.10.2 In meeting these requirements the Company should ensure that:
.1 inspections are held at appropriate intervals;
.2 any non-conformity is reported, with its possible cause, if known;
.3 appropriate corrective action is taken; and
.4 records of these activities are maintained”

Click here for a Really Handy Guide to the ISM code on Amazon (Kindle edition)>


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The use of heading and track control- a quick guide

A cargo ship at sunrise off DawlishAnother SOLAS V Regulation, and another regulation on steering gear. This one covers what used to be called the  ‘Auto Pilot’, before technology gave us many variations to play with.

The importance of the steering gear in safety of navigation is reflected in the fact there are several regulations devoted to it within SOLAS V. So far this blog has covered these two-

And now, it will look at a third.

SOLAS V Regulation 24 – Use of heading and/or track control systems-a quick guide

When must it be possible to immediately establish manual control of a ship’s steering?

  • In areas of high traffic density
  • in conditions of restricted visibility
  • in all other hazardous navigational situations

 “(l) The term “restricted visibility” means any condition in which visibility is restricted by fog, mist, falling snow, heavy rainstorms, sandstorms or any other similar causes.” COLREGS Rule 3


What must the Officer of the watch have immediately available in  areas of high traffic density, in conditions of restricted visibility, and in all other hazardous navigational situations?

The services of a qualified helmsperson who shall be ready at all times to take over steering control.

How should the changeover from automatic to manual steering and vice versa shall be made?

By or under the supervision of a responsible officer.

When at sea should the manual steering be tested?

After prolonged use of heading and/or track control systems, and before entering areas where navigation demands special caution.

What International standard refers to Heading Control standards?

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Cover of the Really handy Guide to Ship Certification, part 3.

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