There are actually 41 rules in the 1972 Colregs or Navigation Rules of the Road we have been discussing. In my mind the 35 we have been through are the steering and sailing rules needed for everyday vessel navigation. The remaining rules are:
Rule 36 - Signals to Attract Attention
Rule 37 - Distress Signals
Rule 38 - Exemptions
Rule 39 – Definitions
Rule 40 - Application
Rule 41 -Verification of compliance
And the Annex's:
Annexes, Interpretative Rules, and other associated Navigation RegulationsAnnex I - Positioning and Technical Details of Lights and Shapes - International | Inland (33 CFR 84)
Annex II - Additional Signals for Fishing Vessels Fishing in Close Proximity - International | Inland (33 CFR 85)
Annex III - Technical Details of Sound Appliances - International | Inland (33 CFR 86)
Annex IV - Distress Signals - International | Inland (33 CFR 87)
Annex V - Pilot Rules - Inland Only (33 CFR 88)
Interpretive Rules - International (33 CFR 82) | Inland (33 CFR 90)
COLREGS Demarcation Line (33 CFR 80)
Alternate Compliance - International (33 CFR 81) | Inland (33 CFR 89)
Waters Specified by the Secretary - (33 CFR 89)
Vessel Bridge-to-Bridge Radiotelephone Regulations - (33 CFR 26)
Vessel Traffic Management - (33 CFR 161)
Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) Call Signs, Designated Frequencies, and Monitoring Areas - 33 CFR Table 161.12(c)
Penalty Provisions and Duties
I would encourage you to look through them for the important points however acutual vessel navigation is covered in these first 35.
My discussion of the rules is finished, I want to move onto a weather blog talking about marine weather, forecasting, cause and effect etc. Hope you tune in for that discussion as well!
Rule 35 - Sound Signals in Restricted Visibility
In or near an area of restricted visibility, whether by day or night the signals prescribed in this Rule shall be used as follows:
(a) A power-driven vessel making way through the water shall sound at intervals of not more than 2 minutes one prolonged blast.
(b) A power-driven vessel underway but stopped and making no way through the water shall sound at intervals of no more than 2 minutes two prolonged blasts in succession with an interval of about 2 seconds between them.
(c) A vessel not under command, a vessel restricted in her ability to maneuver [whether underway or at anchor], [a vessel constrained by her draft], a sailing vessel, a vessel engaged in fishing and a vessel engaged in towing or pushing another vessel shall, instead of the signals prescribed in Rule 35(a) or (b), sound at intervals of not more than 2 minutes three blasts in succession, namely one prolonged followed by two short blasts.
(d) A vessel engaged in fishing, when at anchor, and a vessel restricted in her ability to maneuver when carrying out her work at anchor, shall instead of the signals prescribed in Rule 35(g) sound the signal prescribed in Rule 35(c).
(e) A vessel towed or if more than one vessel is towed the last vessel of the tow, if manned, shall at intervals of not more than 2 minutes sound four blasts in succession, namely one prolonged followed by three short blasts. When practicable, this signal shall be made immediately after the signal made by the towing vessel.
(f) When a pushing vessel and a vessel being pushed ahead are rigidly connected in a composite unit they shall be regarded as a power-driven vessel and shall give the signals prescribed in Rule 35(a) or (b).
(g) A vessel at anchor shall at intervals of not more than 1 minute ring the bell rapidly for about 5 seconds. In a vessel 100 meters or more in length the bell shall be sounded in the forepart of the vessel and immediately after the ringing of the bell the gong shall be sounded rapidly for about 5 seconds in the after part of the vessel. A vessel at anchor may in addition sound three blasts in succession, namely one short, one long and one short blast, to give warning of her position and of the possibility of collision to an approaching vessel.
(h) A vessel aground shall give the bell signal and if required the gong signal prescribed in Rule 35(g) and shall, in addition, give three separate and distinct strokes on the bell immediately before and after the rapid ringing of the bell. A vessel aground may in addition sound an appropriate whistle signal.
(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 Rule 35(g) and (h). However, if she does not, she shall make some other efficient sound signal at intervals of not more than 2 minutes.
(j) A vessel of less than 12 meters in length shall not be obliged to give the above mentioned signals but, if she does not, shall make some other efficient sound signal at intervals of not more than 2 minutes.
(k) A pilot vessel when engaged on pilotage duty may, in addition to the signals prescribed in Rule 35(a), (b) or (g), sound an identity signal consisting of four short blasts.
(l) The following vessels shall not be required to sound signals as prescribed in Rule 35(g) when anchored in a special anchorage area designated by the Coast Guard:
(i) a vessel of less than 20 meters in length; and
(ii) a barge canal boat, scow, or other nondescript craft.
Again another big one with allot of information, notes:
Rule 34 - Maneuvering and Warning Signals
(a) When [power-driven] vessels are in sight of one another [and meeting or crossing at a distance within half a mile of each other], [apower-driven | each] vessel underway, when maneuvering as authorized or required by these Rules, [ | (i)] shall indicate that maneuver by the following signals on her whistle:
(b) Any vessel may supplement the whistle signals prescribed in Rule 34(a) by light signals[, repeated as appropriate, while the maneuver is being carried out]:
(i) these signals shall have the following significance:
(iii) the light used for this signal shall, if fitted, be an all-round white [or yellow], visible at a minimum range of [5 | 2] miles, [synchronized with the whistle.] and shall comply with the provisions of Annex I to these Regulations.
(c) When in sight of one another [in a narrow channel or fairway]:
(i) a [power-driven] vessel intending to overtake another [power-driven vessel] shall [in compliance with Rule 9 (e)(i)] indicate her intention by the following signals on her whistle:
(e) A vessel nearing a bend or an area of a channel or fairway where other vessels may be obscured by an intervening obstruction shall sound one prolonged blast. Such signal shall be answered with a prolonged blast by any approaching vessel that may be within hearing around the bend or behind the intervening obstruction.
(f) If whistles are fitted on a vessel at a distance apart of more than 100 meters, one whistle only shall be used for giving maneuvering and warning signals.
(g) When a power-driven vessel is leaving a dock or berth, she shall sound one prolonged blast.
(h) A vessel that reaches agreement with another vessel in a head-on, crossing, or overtaking situation, as for example, by using the radiotelephone as prescribed by the Vessel Bridge-to-Bridge Radiotelephone Act (85 Stat. 164; 33 U.S.C. 1201 et seq.), is not obliged to sound the whistle signals prescribed by this Rule, but may do so. If agreement is not reached, then whistle signals shall be exchanged in a timely manner and shall prevail.
This is allot of information, you just have to take it slow and make sure you understand. Couple of important points:
Rule 33 - Equipment for Sound Signals
(a) A vessel of 12 meters or more in length shall be 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 meters or more in length shall, in addition be provided with a gong, the tone and sound of which cannot be confused with that of the bell. The whistle, bell and gong shall comply with the specifications in Annex III to these Regulations. The bell or gong or both may be replaced by other equipment having the same respective sound characteristics, provided that manual sounding of the prescribed signals shall always be possible.
(b) A vessel of less than 12 meters in length shall not be obliged to carry the sound signaling appliances prescribed in Rule 33(a) but if she does not, she shall be provided with some other means of making an efficient signal.
Notice in the rule they make reference to a Bell and a Gong for larger vessels, this will be for anchoring in restricted visibility as you will see in the next rule. A vessel under 20 meters (40 feet) just needs some way of making and efficient signal. Kind of vague but you vessels horn will suffice, as well as the air cans, I have a trumpet type manual horn etc.
Rule 32 - Definitions
(a) The word "whistle" means any sound signaling appliance capable of producing the prescribed blasts and which complies with the specifications in Annex III to these Rules.
(b) The term "short blast" means a blast of about one second's duration.
(c) The term "prolonged blast" means a blast of from four to six seconds' duration.
Rule 31 - Seaplanes
Where it is impracticable for a seaplane or a WIG craft to exhibit lights or shapes of the characteristics or in the positions prescribed in Rules 20-31 shall exhibit lights and shapes as closely similar in characteristics and position as is possible.
Didn't know there was such a rule huh? Yep, when on the water a seaplane shows same lights as a vessel her size as much as practical.
Rule 30 - Anchored Vessels and Vessels Aground
(a) A vessel at anchor shall exhibit where it can best be seen:
(i) in the fore part, an all-round white light or one ball;
(ii) at or near the stern and at a lower level than the light prescribed in Rule 30(a)(i), an all-round white light.
(b) A vessel of less than 50 meters in length may exhibit an all-round white light where it can best be seen instead of the lights prescribed in Rule 30(a).
(c) A vessel at anchor may, and a vessel of 100 meters and more in length shall, also use the available working or equivalent lights to illuminate her decks.
(d) A vessel aground shall exhibit the lights prescribed in Rule 30(a) or (b) and in addition, if practicable, where they can best be seen;
(i) two all-round red lights in a vertical line;
(ii) three balls in a vertical line.
(e) A vessel of less than 7 meters in length, when at anchor not in or near a narrow channel, fairway or where other vessels normally navigate, shall not be required to exhibit the shape prescribed in Rule 30(a) and (b).
(f) A vessel of less than 12 meters in length, when aground, shall not be required to exhibit the lights or shapes prescribed in Rule 30(d)(i) and (ii).
(g) A vessel of less than 20 meters in length, when at anchor in a special anchorage area designated by the Coast Guard, shall not be required to exhibit the anchor lights and shapes required by this Rule.
(h) The following barges shall display at night and if practicable in periods of restricted visibility the lights described in Rule 30(i):
(i) Every barge projecting into a buoyed or restricted channel.
(ii) Every barge so moored that it reduces the available navigable width of any channel to less than 80 meters.
(iii) Barges moored in groups more than two barges wide or to a maximum width of over 25 meters.
(iv) Every barge not moored parallel to the bank or dock.
(i) Barges described in Rule 30(h) shall carry two unobstructed all-round white lights of an intensity to be visible for at least 1 nautical mile and meeting the technical requirements as prescribed in Annex I (33 CFR part 84).
(j) A barge or a group of barges at anchor or made fast to one or more mooring buoys or other similar device, in lieu of the provisions of Rule 30, may carry unobstructed all-round white lights of an intensity to be visible for at least 1 nautical mile that meet the requirements of Annex I (33 CFR part 84) and shall be arranged as follows:
(i) Any barge that projects from a group formation, shall be lighted on its outboard corners.
(ii) On a single barge moored in water where other vessels normally navigate on both sides of the barge, lights shall be placed to mark the corner extremities of the barge.
On barges moored in group formation, moored in water where other vessels normally navigate on both sides of the group, lights shall be placed to mark the corner extremities of the group.
(k) The following are exempt from the requirements of Rule 30:
(i) A barge or group of barges moored in a slip or slough used primarily for mooring purposes.
(ii) A barge or group of barges moored behind a pierhead.
(iii) A barge less than 20 meters in length when moored in a special anchorage area designated in accordance with 33 CFR § 109.10.
This is very important and can be very confusing to those who do not spend alot of time on the water at night. Couple of important points to consider:
Anchored - If you see just an all around white light not moving it is most probable to be a vessel at anchor but please proceed with caution until you verify it is, remember a person in a row boat at night only has to show some sort of light in time for you to see them, could be a flashlight etc, so be careful and don't make assumptions. A large ship will show all around white light plus illuminate their decks, makes this one easy.
Be very careful when it comes to the barges, they are large and dark, and in some instances do not have to show a light. Believe me it gets really dark out there on a moonless cloudy night and if you do not have radar i would advise taking it slow and enjoy your time on the water.
Aground - Two Red lights vertical one over the other, Red over Red Captains Dead, means she's aground, stay away.
Rule 29 - Pilot Vessels
(a) A vessel engaged on pilotage duty shall exhibit:
(i) at or near the masthead, two all-round lights in a vertical line, the upper being white and the lower red;
(ii) when underway, in addition, sidelights and a sternlight;
(iii) when at anchor, in addition to the lights prescribed in Rule 29(a)(i), the light, lights, or shape prescribed in Rule 30 for vessels at anchor.
(b) A pilot vessel when not engaged on pilotage duty shall exhibit the lights or shapes prescribed for a similar vessel of her length.
Those traveling the C&D Canal will see this when a ship is approaching Chesapeake City. White Over Red Pilot Ahead. I guess I should do a list of these rhymes we use to help remember the nav lights.
Rule 28 - Vessels Constrained by Their Draft
A vessel constrained by her draft may, in addition to the lights prescribed for power-driven vessels in Rule 23, exhibit where they can best be seen three all-round red lights in a vertical line, or a cylinder.
Pretty quick and simple, this is more of an international rule, as it is explained to me all of us are constrained by draft as long as we are in our territorial waters just due to the geography of the US. You may or may not see this locally.