Category Archives: COLREGS

​Navigation Light Performance Standards-A handy guide to the IMO Resolution

Navsregs>COLREGS>Navigation light performance standards summary

Sunrise over a jettyResolution MSC.253(83) Performance Standards for Navigation lights, Navigation Light Controller and Associated Equipment

The last post contained a contents list of this Resolution, this post goes into a bit more detail with a summary of some of its contents.

Click here to view a cop of MSC 258>

What are the  navigation lights?

  • Masthead light
  • Sidelights
  • Sternlight
  • Towing light
  • All-round light
  • Flashing light
  • All-round flashing yellow light required for air-cushion vessels
  • Manoeuvering light

Note: Unless expressly required, these Navigation lights  should appear steady and non-flashing.

The document also refers to international standard  IEC 60945.

What material should navigation lights be produced in?Tug Masthead lights

Material that is:

  • Robust
  • Non-corroding material,
  • Should ensure a long-term durability for the optical qualities 

What is the requirement to carry spare Navigation lights and lamps?

  • A masthead light, sidelights and a sternlight installed on board a ship not less than 50m in length should be duplicated or be fitted with duplicate lamps
  • A sufficient number of spare lamps for Navigation lights should be carried onboard


Note
: Only lamps specified by the manufacturer should be used.

By how much may the  Luminous intensity vary?

Within the prescribed sector in which the minimum luminous intensity is required the vertical intensity distribution of the light should be  uniform in such a way that the measured minimum and maximum luminous intensity values  do not differ by more than a factor of 1.5.

This is to avoid  intensity changes which may result in the appearance of a flashing light.

What special requirements are there for Navigation lights using LEDs?

  • An alarm  must notify the Officer of the Watch that the luminous intensity of the light reduces below the level required by COLREGs
  • The lifespan of LEDs should be determined and clearly notified by the manufacturer

What markings must a navigation light have?Navigation lights on a tug's mast

Each light should be marked with:

  • The type/category of the light
  • The serial and certificate number
  • Head line directions
  • Range in nautical miles
  • Nominal wattage of the light source in watts, if different values lead to different ranges. 

How should Navigation lights be installed?

Navigation lights should be installed in such a way so as:

  • To protect navigation watch keeping
  • To ensure that the light shows over the  required arcs of visibility
  • To satisfy the required vertical separation and location requirements in all normal operating trim conditions
  • So that the lamp specified by the manufacturer can be efficiently  and readily replaced, without elaborate re-calibration or readjustment
  • So that they are readily accessible for inspection and maintenance purposes

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Performance Standards for Navigation lights- A summary

Navsregs>COLREGS>Navigation light performance standards
LightandBlockAnd now,  the dive down into navigation light regulations now hits the bottom of detail with an IMO resolution. 

The post in Navigation light series gives a quick summary into the performance standards required of vessel’s navigation lights.

What document gives the performance Standards for Navigation lights?

​Resolution MSC.253(83)

Performance Standards for Navigation lights, Navigation Light Controller and Associated Equipment

Click here for the document>

Navigation Light equipment should be designed, tested, installed and maintained based on these standards.

What is the purpose of Navigation Lights?

  • Identify ships
  • Notify their intentions at sea 

What is the purpose of a Navigation Lights Controller?

is to provide means of:

  • Control of Navigation lights
  • Monitoring of the status of Navigation lights 

Stern light of a ferry

What is covered in MSC 253?

1 Scope

2 Application

3 Definitions

  • Associated equipmentLightCloseMast
  • COLREGs
  • Lamp
  • Length
  • Navigation Light (NL)
  • Navigation Light Controller (NLC)
  • SOLAS

4 Navigation Lights

  • General
  • Luminous intensity distribution
  • Special requirements for lights using LEDs

5 Navigation Light Controller

  • On off switches
  • Status indications
  • Pre-programming
  • Alarms
  • Dimming
  • Interfaces

6 Power supply and fallback arrangementsMast and flags of a bunker barhe

  • Need for separate circuits
  • Ability to operate  by an emergency source
  • Automatic switch over to the alternative source of power is permitted.

7 Associated equipment

  • General requirements for  associated equipment
  • Screens for sidelight may be a part of a ship’s structure.

8 Marking

The markings that each Navigation Light should have.

9 Installation of navigation lights and associated equipment.

The general requirements required of navigation lights

10 Maintenance

  • The requirements for the ease of replacing the lights
  • The requirements for the ability to maintain the lights

The next post will look at some of these performance standards in more detail.


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Where should a vessel’s sidelights be carried?

Sidelights have simpler rules on their placement than masthead lights, and therefore this post is shorter than the last.

Sidelights on MV Balmoral

Vertical

  • ​ The sidelights of a power-driven vessel shall be placed at a height above the hull not greater than three quarters of that of the forward masthead light.
  •  They shall not be so low as to be interfered with by deck lights

The sidelights, if in a combined lantern and carried on a power-driven vessel of less than 20 meters in length, shall be placed not less than 1 meter below the masthead light.Port Sidelight

Horizontal

On a power-driven vessel of 20 meters or more in length:

  • The sidelights shall not be placed in front of the forward masthead lights.
  • They shall be placed at or near the side of the vessel

Sidelight position summary

SideLightspositionSmall


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Where should a vessel’s masthead lights be placed?

Power Driven vessel end on

Navsregs>COLREGS>Masthead light position

More delving into the detail of navigation lights, this time its the positioning of masthead lights.

The vertical positioning of Masthead lights

What part of the COLREGs covers the vertical positioning of Masthead lights?

Annex 1 part 2.

At what height should masthead lights be carried?

On a power-driven vessel of 20 meters or more in length:

The forward masthead light, or if only one masthead light is carried, then that light is:

  • At a height above the hull of not less than 6 meters

and

  •  If the breadth of the vessel exceeds 6 meters, then at a height above the hull not less than such breadth, so however that the light need not be placed at a greater height above the hull than 12 meters

The masthead light of a power-driven vessel of 12 meters but less than 20 meters in length:

  •  Shall be placed at a height above the gunwale of not less than 2.5 meters.

The masthead light of a power-driven vessel of less than 12 meters in length:

  • These may carry the uppermost light at a height of less than 2.5 meters above the gunwale.
  • When however a masthead light is carried in addition to side-lights and a sternlight or the all-round light prescribed in Rule 23(c)(i) is carried in addition to sidelights, then such masthead light or all-round light shall be carried at least 1 meter higher than the

The masthead light or lights prescribed in shall be so placed as to be above and clear of all other lights and obstructions except for Not Under Command Lights and Restricted in Manoeuvrability.

MastClutter

What is the separation of two masthead lights?

The after one shall be at least 4.5 meters vertically higher than the forward one.

The vertical separation of masthead lights of power-driven vessels shall be such that in all normal conditions of trim the after light will be seen over and separate from the forward light at a distance of 1000 meters from the stem when viewed from sea level.

Horizontal positioning of Masthead lights

What part of the COREGS covers the horizontal positioning of Navigation lights?

Annex 1 3 Horizontal positioning and spacing of lights

the horizontal distance between them shall not be less than one half of the length of the vessel but need not be more than 100 meters. The forward light shall be placed not more than one quarter of the length of the vessel from the stem.

A quick summary of the Masthead Light distances

LightsMastheadpositionSmall


Shapes and a Bit More

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The range of ship’s navigation lights

Navsregs>COLREGS>Navigation Light Range

​This post starts of with the simple facts of COLREG 22 and then delves deeper and deeper into definitions; deep into the world of lux, lumens and candelas.

Sunset in the Med

The range of Navigation lights

What Rule states the visibility of Navigation lights?

Rule 22-visibility of lights

Note: This Rule states that navigation lights shall have an intensity as specified in Section 8 of Annex I to the COLREGS.

What is the range of Navigation lights in a vessel of 50 meters or more in length?

  • Masthead light- 6 miles
  • Sidelight-3 miles
  • Sternlight-3 miles
  • Towing light-3 miles
  • A white, red, green or yellow all-round light-3 miles

What is the range of Navigation lights in a vessel of 12 meters or more in length but less than 50 meters in length?

  • Masthead light, 5 miles; except that where the length of the vessel is less than 20 meters, 3 miles
  • Sidelight- 2 miles
  • Sternlight-2 miles;
  • Towing light-2 miles;
  •  White, red, green or yellow all-round light-2 miles

What is the range of Navigation lights in a vessel of less than 12 meters in length?

  • Masthead light- 2 miles
  • Sidelight- 1 mile
  • A sternlight- 2 miles
  • Towing light-2 miles
  • White, red, green or yellow all-round light- 2 miles

What is the range of Navigation lights of an inconspicuous, partly submerged vessel or object being towed?

White all-round light- 3 miles.

Waiting for the amplitude

The intensity of Navigation lights

The intensity required to achieve the minimum range is derived from a formula given in Section 8 of Annex I to the Colregs.

The intensity formula

1=3.43 × 1 06×T × D2 × K-D

What do the parts of the Navigation light intensity formula mean?

I is luminous intensity in candelas under service conditions

The candela is the SI unit of luminous intensity.  It is the luminous power per unit solid angle emitted by a point light source in a particular direction.

Or to be more accurate, it  is the luminous intensity, in a given direction, of a source that emits monochromatic radiation of frequency 540×1012 hertz and that has a radiant intensity in that direction of 1/683 watt per steradian.

The steradian is a square radian, and is the SI unit of solid angle.

T is threshold factor 2 × 10-7 lux

The lux is the SI unit of illuminance and luminous emittance, measuring luminous flux per unit area.It is equal to one lumen per square metre. It is used as a measure of the intensity, as perceived by the human eye.

The lumen is  the SI unit of luminous flux, a measure of the total quantity of visible light emitted by a source.

D is range of visibility (luminous range) of the light in nautical miles

The luminous range is the maximum distance at which a light can be seen, as determined by the luminous intensity of the light, the atmospheric transmission factor and the threshold of illuminance on the eye of the observer.

Ship's at anchor off Gibraltar

 K is atmospheric transmissivity.

Atmospheric transmissivity is he ratio of the directly transmitted flux incident on a surface after passing through unit thickness of the atmosphere to the flux that would be incident on the same surface if the flux had passed through a vacuum.

The value of K shall be 0.8, corresponding to a meteorological visibility of approximately 13 nautical miles.


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When to show Navigation lights

Navsregs>COLREGS>When to show Navigation lights
Ferry mast

Turn on the Navigation Lights

Bit of backtracking in this post, back to the fundamental question of when to turn the navigation lights on. 

What COLREG  Rule states when navigation lights should be shown?

Rule 20

​When must Navigation lights be shown?

  • Sunset to Sunrise-During the day
  • Sunrise to Sunset-During the night
  • In restricted visibility
  • May be exhibited in all other circumstances when it is deemed necessary.

What other lights can be shown from sunset to sunrise?

No other lights shall be exhibited, except such lights as:

  • Cannot be mistaken for the lights specified in the COLREGS
  • Do not impair their visibility or distinctive characterer
  • Do not Interfere with the keeping of a proper look-out

What is Restricted Visibility?

This is  any condition in which visibility is restricted by:

  • Fog
  • Mist
  • Falling snow
  • Heavy rainstorms
  • Sandstorms
  • Any other similar causes.

See COLREG Rule 3


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Navigation lights defined

Navsregs>COLREGS>Navigation Lights defined

Down another level, down past the Rule list, down through the power-driven vessel rule, down to some definitions.

A quick guide to Navigation light definitions

Where are the definitions for Navigation lights?

Section C  of the COLREGS, Rule 21.

Here are those definitions condensed down to some easy to remember facts.

What is a masthead light?A Masthead Light

  •  White light
  •  Placed over the fore and aft centerline of the vessel showing an unbroken light over an arc of the horizon of 225 degrees
  • So fixed as to show the light from right ahead to 22.5 degrees abaft the beam on either side of the vessel

What are Sidelights?

  • Green light on the starboard side and a red light on the port side Port Sidelight
  • Each showing an unbroken light over an arc of the horizon of 112.5 degrees
  • So fixed as to show the light from right ahead to 22.5 degrees abaft the beam on its respective side.

In a vessel of less than 20 meters in length the sidelights may be combined in one lantern carried on the fore and aft center-line of the vessel.

When did the Red and Green sidelights come into use?

In 1848 the UK issued  regulations requiring steam vessels to display red and green sidelights as well as a white masthead light. This was a follow on from an act of 1846 that became the basis of the current IMO COLREGS.

 

What is a Sternlight?Sternlight on a bunker tanker

  • White light
  • Placed as nearly as practicable at the stern
  • Showing an unbroken light over an arc of the horizon of 135 degrees
  •  So fixed as to show the light 67.5 degrees from right aft on each side of the vessel

What is a Towing light?

  • Yellow light
  • Same characteristics as the sternlight

 

What is an all-round light?

  •  A light Showing an unbroken light over an arc of the horizon of 360All-round lights degrees

What is a Flashing light?

  • A light flashing at regular intervals at a frequency of 120 flashes or more per minute

Why are the arcs of navigation not given in rounded numbers of degrees?

The arcs of navigation lights are based on the traditional mariners compass. In this each ‘point’ is 1/32 of a circle, which is 11.25 degrees.  The change in arch between Masthead lights/Sidelights and the sternlight occures at 2 points abaft the beam, that is 22.5 degrees.

The Navigation Light Definitions and the Rest of The COLREGS

Two vessel situations are defined within the Rules by the aspects of their navigation lights; a crossing situation is implied by being neither of these.

Overtaking-Rule 13

A vessel overtaking when coming up with another vessel from a direction Power Driven Vessel from Asternmore than 22.5 degrees abaft her beam, that is, in such a position that at night she would be able to see only the sternlight of that vessel but neither of her sidelights.

Head on (Power-driven vessels)-Rule 14Power Driven vessel end on

A head on situation exists when a vessel sees the other ahead or nearly ahead and by night she could see the masthead lights of the other in a line or nearly in a line and/or both sidelights, and by day she observes the corresponding aspect of the other vessel.

 


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Navigation Lights-Power Driven Vessels

Navsregs>COLREGS>Power Driven Vessel

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

Navsregs>COLREGS>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.

ANNEX I

POSITIONING AND TECHNICAL DETAILS OF LIGHTS AND SHAPES

  • 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

ANNEX II

Additional Signals for fishing vessels fishing in close proximity

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

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SOLAS V and Navigational Bridge Design

Navsregs>SOLAS>SOLAS V>Navigation Bridge Design

Container Ship Bridge at Portsmouth

A Handy Summary

This series of posts on SOLAS V, Safety of navigation now explores a group of regulations concerned with the navigational bridge. 

What Regulation covers Navigational Bridge Design?

SOLAS Regulation 15 – ‘Principles Relating to Bridge Design, Design and Arrangement of Navigational Systems and Equipment and Bridge Procedures.‘ The principles in this Regulation must be taken into account when complying with the following SOLAS regulations:

  • 19-Carriage requirements for shipborne navigational systems and equipment
  • 22-Navigation bridge visibility
  • 24-Use of heading and/or track control systems
  • 25-Operation of main source of electrical power and steering gear
  • 27-Nautical charts and nautical publications
  • 28-Records of navigational activities and daily reporting

These regulations will be covered in later posts.

What are the principles of Navigational Bridge Design?

Bridge of a Fyffe ship

Bridge design must:

Appraisal-Facilitate the tasks to be performed by the bridge team and the pilot in making full appraisal of the situation and in navigating the ship safely under all  conditions.

Bridge Resources-Promote effective and safe bridge resource management.

Information access-Enable the bridge team and the pilot to have convenient and continuous access to essential information.

Information presentation-Present information in a clear and unambiguous manner, using standardized symbols for controls and displays.

Status indication-Indicate the operational status of automated functions and integrated components and systems.

Decision making-Allow for expeditious, continuous and effective information processing and decision-making by the bridge team and the pilot.

Distractions-Prevent or minimize excessive or unnecessary work and any conditions or distractions on the bridge which may cause fatigue or interfere with the vigilance of the bridge team and the pilot.

Human error-Minimize the risk of human error and detecting such error, if it occurs, through monitoring and alarm systems, in time for the bridge team and the pilot to take appropriate action.

Click here for the UK MCA guidance on Regulation 15, and the text of the regulation> 

Rule 5 of the Collision Regulations

These design principles support the most important rule in the COLREGS, Rule 5

“Every vessel shall at all times maintain a proper look-out by sight an

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d hearing as well as by all available means appropriate in the prevailing circumstances and conditions so as to make a full appraisal of the situation and or the risk of collision.”

Where to look for more detailed information

The broad principles of Regulation 15 will be expanded with some practical detail in tne next post when I dig into Circular 982.


Further Reading

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