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I.R.P.C.S (road rules)

I.R.P.C.S. (Rules of the road) - the basics

What does I.R.P.C.S. stand for?

International Regulations for Prevention of Collisions at Sea


Remember there are x 41 I.R.P.C.S. / Col Regs rules.. these are just some of them. 

We've included the rules that are most relevant at the standard of RYA Powerboat Level 2 and RYA PWC (jetski) Proficiency etc.

Simplistic summary:

  • Rule 5: Keep a Good Look out at all times by all available means
  • Rule 6: Safe Speed - be thoughtful & considerate 
  • Rule 7: Avoid Collision at all costs: If you're keeping a good lookout, going at a safe speed this shouldn't be an issue! You know you are at risk of collision with another vessel (or object!)  when you there is a constant bearing and decreasing range. 
  • Rule 8: Action to Avoid Collision: follow the rules and keep clear of other vessels
  • Rule 9: Narrow Channels - keep to the outside edge & if you can get out of the way then do so! 
  • Rule 12: Sailing Vessels (Applies for 2 or more sailing vessels): Windward boat gives way, a vessel on Port tack gives way to Starboard
  • Rule 13: Overtaking: You can Overtake on either side as long as it is safe and you don't impede the vessel you're overtaking. 
  • Rule 14: Head on situation: Both vessels should turn to Starboard therefore Passing 'port to port' 
  • Rule 15: Crossing situations: If a vessel is coming from your starboard side, give way to starboard by either slowing down or turning to starboard to pass behind. 
  • Rule 18: Responsibilities between vessels: If the other vessel is bigger, less manoeuvrable or restricted in some way i.e. engaged in an activity; then move out of the way... either by following rules 13, 14, 15 or in the safest manner. 

 

OVERALL REMEMBER: We don't have indicators like on a road vehicle so make all your actions 'Early and Obvious' 


Day Shapes:

Restricted in ability to manouvere

Sailing Vessel Under Power

Vessel engaged in Fishing

At Anchor

Aground

Constrained by draught


Mine Sweeping

Towing / being towed

Not under command

Divers Down


Sound Signals (Day Time & Clear Visibility):

1) Starboard (turning to..)

2) Port (turning to..)

3) Astern (my engine are engaged in..)

5) Your intentions are unclear


the 'nitty gritty':

Remember there are x 41 I.R.P.C.S. / Col Regs rules.. these are just some of them. 

We've included the rules that are most relevant at the standard of RYA Powerboat Level 2 and RYA PWC (jetski) Proficiency etc.

Rule 5 - Lookout

Every vessel shall at all times maintain a proper look-out by sight and 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.

Rule 6 - Safe Speed

Every vessel shall at all times maintain a proper look-out by sight and hearing as well asas to make a full appraisal of the situation and or the risk of collision.

In determining a safe speed the following factors shall be among those taken in to account: (a) By all vessels.

(i) the state of visibility;

(ii) the traffic density including concentrations of fishing vessels or any other vessels;

(iii) the manoeuvrability of the vessel with special reference to stopping distance and turning ability in the prevailing conditions;

(iv) at night the presence of background light such as from shore lights or from back scatter of her own lights;

(v) the state of wind, sea and current, and the proximity of navigational hazards; (vi) the draught in relation to the available depth of water.

(b) Additionally, by vessels with operational radar:

(i) the characteristics, efficiency and limitations of the radar equipment;

(ii) any constraints imposed by the radar range scale in use;

(iii) the effect on radar detection of the sea state, weather and other sources of interference;

(iv) the possibility that small vessels, ice and other large floating objects may not be detected by radar at an adequate range;

(v) the number, location and movements of vessels detected by radar;

(vi) the more exact assessment of the visibility that may be possible when radar is used to determine the range of vessels or other objects in the vicinity

Rule 7 - Risk of collision

(a) Every vessel shall use all available means appropriate to the prevailing circumstances and conditions to determine if risk of collision exists. If there as any doubt such risk shall be deemed to exist.

(b) Proper use shall be made of radar equipment if fitted and operational, including long-range scanning to obtain early warning of risk of collision and radar plotting or equivalent systematic observations of detected objects.

(c) Assumptions shall not be made on the basis of scanty information, especially scanty radar information.

(d) In determining if risk of collision exists the following considerations shall be among those taken into account.

(i) such risk shall be deemed to exist it the compass bearing of an approaching vessel does not appreciably change.

(ii) such risk may sometimes exist even when an appreciable bearing change is evident, particularly when approaching a very large vessel or a tow or when approaching a vessel at close range.

Rule 8 - Action to avoid collision

(a) Any action taken to avoid collision shall be taken in accordance with the Rules of this Part and shall, if the circumstances of the case admit, be positive, made in ample time and with due regard to the observance of good seamanship.

(b) Any alteration of course and/or speed to avoid collision shall, if the circumstances of the case admit, be large enough to be readily apparent to another vessel observing visually or by radar; a succession of small alterations of course and/or speed should be avoided.

(c) If there is sufficient sea room, alteration of course alone may be the most effective action to avoid a close-quarters situation provided that it is made in good time, is substantial and does not result in another close-quarters situation.

(d) Action taken to avoid a collision with another vessel shall be such as to result in passing at a safe distance. The effectiveness of the action shall be carefully checked until the other vessel in finally past and clear.

(e) If necessary to avoid collision or allow more time to assess the situation, a vessel shall slacken her speed or take all way off by stopping or reversing her means of propulsion.

(f)

(i) A vessel which, by any of these Rules, is required not to impede the passage or safe passage of another vessel shall, when required by the circumstances of the case, take early action to allow sufficient sea room for the safe passage of the other vessel.

(ii) A vessel required not to impede the passage or safe passage of another vessel is not relieved of this obligation if approaching the other vessel so as to involve risk of collision and shall, when taking action, have full regard to the action which may be required by the Rules of this part.

(iii) A vessel, the passage of which is not to be impeded remains fully obliged to comply with the Rules of this part when the two vessels are approaching one another so as to involve risk of collision.

Rule 9 - Narrow Channels

(a) A vessel proceeding along the course of a narrow channel or fairway shall keep as near to the outer limit or the channel or fairway which lies on her starboard side as is safe and practicable.

(b) A vessel of less than 20 metres in length or a sailing vessel shall not impede the passage of a vessel which can safely navigate only within a narrow channel or fairway.

(c) A vessel engaged in fishing shall not impede the passage of any other vessel navigating within a narrow channel or fairway.

(d) A vessel shall not cross a narrow channel of fairway if such crossing impedes the passage of a vessel which can safely navigate only within such channel or fairway. The latter vessel may use the sound signal prescribed in Rule 34 (d) if in doubt as to the intention of the crossing vessel.

(e)

(i) In a narrow channel or fairway when overtaking can only take place if the vessel to be overtaken has to take action to permit safe passing, the vessel intending to overtake shall indicate her intention by sounding the appropriate signal prescribed in Rule 34 (c) (i). The vessel to be overtaken shall, if in agreement, sound the appropriate signal prescribed by Rule 34 (c) (ii) and take steps to permit safe passing. If in doubt she may sound the signals prescribed in Rule 34 (d).

(ii) This rule does not relieve the overtaking boat of her obligation under Rule 13.

(f) A vessel nearing a bend or an area of 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).

(g) Any vessel shall, if the circumstances of the case admit, avoid anchoring in a narrow channel.

Rule 12 - Sailing Vessels

(a) When two sailing vessels are approaching one another, so as to involve risk of collision, one of them shall keep out of the way of the other as follows:

(i) when each has the wind on a different side, the vessel which has the wind on the port side shall keep out of the way of the other;

(ii) when both have the wind on the same side, the vessel which is to windward shall keep out of the way of the vessel which is to leeward.

(iii) if a vessel with the wind on the port side sees a vessel to windward and cannot determine with certainty whether the other vessel has the wind on her port or starboard side, she shall keep out of the way of the other.

(b) For the purposes of this rule the windward side shall be deemed to be the side opposite to that on which the mainsail is carried or, in the case of a square-rigged vessel, the side opposite to that on which the largest fore-and-aft sail is carried.

Rule 13 - Overtaking ('taking over responsibility')

(a) Notwithstanding anything contained in the Rules of Part B, Sections I and II any vessel overtaking any other shall keep out of the way of the vessel being overtaken.

(b) A vessel shall be deemed to be overtaking when coming up with another vessel from a direction more than 22.5 degrees abaft her beam, that is, in such a position with reference to the vessel she is overtaking, that at night she would be able to see only the sternlight of that vessel but neither of her sidelights.

(c) When a vessel is in any doubt as to whether she is overtaking another, she shall assume that this is the case and act accordingly.

(d) Any subsequent alteration of bearing between the two vessels shall not make the overtaking vessel a crossing vessel within the meaning of these rules or relieve her of the duty of keeping clear of the overtaken vessel until she is finally past and clear.

Rule 14 - Head on situation 

(a) When two power-driven vessels are meeting on reciprocal or nearly reciprocal courses so as to involve risk of collision each shall alter her course to starboard so as to each shall pass on the port side of the other.

(b) Such a situation shall be deemed to exist when a vessel sees the other ahead or nearly ahead and by night she could see the masthead lights of the other in line or nearly in a line and/or both sidelights and by day she observes the corresponding aspect of the other vessel.

(c) Then a vessel is in any doubt as to whether such a situation exists she shall assume that it does exist and act accordingly.

Rule 15 - Crossing situations ('early show, safe you go')

When two power-driven vessel are crossing so as to involve risk of collision, the vessel which has the other on her starboard side shall keep out of the way and shall, if the circumstances of the case admit, avoid crossing ahead of the other vessel.

Rule 16 - Action by give-way vessel

Every vessel which is directed to keep out of the way of another vessel shall, as far as possible, take early and substantial action to keep well clear.

Rule 17 - Action by stand-on vessel

(a)

(i) Where one of two vessels is to keep out of the way, the other shall keep her course and speed.

(ii) The latter vessel may however take action to avoid collision by her manoeuvre alone, as soon as it becomes apparent to her that the vessel required to keep out of the way is not taking appropriate action in compliance with these Rules.

(b) When, from any cause, the vessel required to keep her course and speed finds herself so close that collision cannot be avoided by the action of the give-way vessel alone, she shall take such action as will best aid to avoid collision.

(c) A power-driven vessel which takes action in a crossing situation in accordance with sub-paragraph (a) (ii) of this rule to avoid collision with another power-driven vessel shall, if the circumstances at the case admit, not alter course to port for a vessel on her own port side.

(d) This rule does not relieve the give-way vessel of her obligation to keep out of the way.

Rule 18 - Responsibilities between vessels

Except where rules 9, 10, and 13 otherwise require:

(a) a power-driven vessel underway shall keep out of the way of:

(i) a vessel not under command.

(ii) a vessel restricted in her ability to manoeuvre.

(iii) a vessel engaged in fishing.

(iv) a sailing vessel.

(b) A sailing vessel underway shall keep out of the way of:

(i) a vessel not under command.

(ii) a vessel restricted in her ability to manoeuvre.

(iii) a vessel engaged in fishing.

(c) A vessel engaged in fishing when underway shall, so far as possible, keep out of the way of:

(i) a vessel not under command.

(ii) a vessel restricted in her ability to manoeuvre.

(d)

(i) Any vessel other than a vessel not under command or a vessel restricted in her ability to manoeuvre shall, if the circumstances of the case admit, avoid impeding the safe passage of a vessel constrained by her draught, exhibiting the signals in Rule 28.

(ii) A vessel constrained by her draught shall navigate with particular caution having full regard to her special condition.

(e) A seaplane on the water shall, in general, keep well clear of all vessels and avoid impeding their navigation. In circumstances, however, where risk of collision exists, she shall comply with the Rules of this Part.

(f)

(i) A WIG craft, when taking off, landing and in flight near the surface, shall 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.


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IRPCS Test .pdf
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