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Old 23-05-2010, 22:36   #1
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Interpreting ColRegs

I thought it might be useful to create a dedicated Thread to promote a better understanding of the “Rules”, by discussing the implications and various phrases of each Rule and then giving Court interpretations.

In Marine College, we spent every morning for the fist 6 months going over one Rule at a time (starting with RULE 1) to reduce each rule down to key components and understand why this Rule had been changed or Amended from previous RULES.

With this open discussion, we learned that simply memorizing the Rules was not enough!!

In reality we would be called upon to interpret and perhaps even defend (in court) our own specific circumstances and actions…. by following the “intent” of the Rules.

This is a lot of work, taking one Rule at a time and discussing its interpretation before moving on. … and at the beginning with Applications and Definitions quite tedious..

So….I will not start this unless I feel a lot of members would like to participate, since it is that difference of opinions (and examples) that will give us the widest spectrum of interpretation and hopefully develop an attitude of forethought and consideration towards our fellow mariners…. whether they share our understand of the rules or not!

Let me know if you want to participate and have the desire to contribute to this open learning approach?
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Old 23-05-2010, 22:55   #2
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I think its a great idea!
Though I get a bit slack at learning sometimes

We could but give it a try and see who is interested. Its worth it.

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Old 23-05-2010, 22:56   #3
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I, too, would be happy to participate in COLREG-centric discussions.
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Old 23-05-2010, 23:12   #4
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A vote here too
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Old 24-05-2010, 00:10   #5
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I'll go alomg with this, some of the rules are not as straight forward as they first appear, take for example the use of such wording as "avoid impeding the passage of", or "avoid impeding the safe passage of" when it comes to TSS and narrow channels
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Old 24-05-2010, 01:56   #6
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Ok, looks like we have some interest. The ground rules are that you identify the specific Rule in your post title and try to follow in numerical order rule by rule to keep continuity.

As OP…I will post a Rule and anyone comments or query the meaning. Test us with scenarios or understanding and then when we are ready to move on to the next, I will post that one. if that is ok?


The first couple are a bit tedious, but the history of why they changed is interesting.
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Old 24-05-2010, 02:04   #7
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Great idea - go for it!
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Old 24-05-2010, 02:42   #8
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Unhappy Rule 1 Application

PART A. GENERAL
With amendments adopted from November 1995
Rule 1
Application
(a) These rules shall apply to all vessels upon the high seas and in all waters connected therewith navigable by seagoing vessels.

(b) Nothing in these rules shall interfere with the operation of special rules made by an appropriate authority for roadsteads, harbors, rivers, lakes or inland waterways connected with the high seas and navigable by seagoing vessels. Such special rules shall conform as closely as possible to these rules.


(c) Nothing in these rules shall interfere with the operation of any special rules made by the Government of any State with respect to additional station or signal lights, shapes or whistle signals for ships of war and vessels proceeding under convoy, or with respect to additional station or signal lights or shapes for fishing vessels engaged in fishing as a fleet. These additional station or signal lights, shapes or whistles shall, so far as possible, be such that they cannot be mistaken for any light, shape or signal authorized elsewhere under these rules.


(d) Traffic separation schemes may be adopted by the Organization for the purpose of these rules.


(e) Whenever the Government concerned shall have determined that a vessel of special construction or purpose cannot comply fully with the provision of any of these rules with respect to the number, position, range or arc of visibility of lights or shapes, as well as to the disposition and characteristics of sound-signaling appliances, without interfering with the special function of the vessel, such vessel shall comply with such other provisions in regard to the number, position, range or arc of visibility of lights or shapes, as well as to the disposition and characteristics of sound-signaling appliances, as her Government shall have determined to be the closest possible compliance with these rules in respect to that vessel.


For rules to be useful, everyone needs to know when and where they apply. This rule makes this clear.


1a.... Was cleaned up in the 1980’s to include seaplanes as power driven vessels for the purpose of these rules.

1b... Roadsteads were added so that coastal states can make special rules normally reserved for harbors. So checking Sailing Directions for details in open anchorages is now advised

They also added in the 80’s the need for conformity internationally

1c... Special Local Rules for Warships and Fishing vessels as a fleet was amended in 81 to include shapes. Noted in the annexes international agreement of signals for vessels fishing in close proximity

1d... This gave IMO the authority to adopt Traffic Separation Schemes

1e... This used to be focused on Warships but became more general after 1986 when special purpose vessels could not comply.

The section: “without interfering with the special function of the vessel,” was taken out in 1987 but is now back in. wonder why??

Of special note is that many warships over 50m cannot be fitted with a forward masthead light so do not assume length based on whether you see one or two mast lights.

I have actually used this Rule to apply and been granted an official exemption from the Flag State on a +50m yacht which had frequent flight operations, so we could omit the foremast
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Old 24-05-2010, 03:06   #9
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sorry wrong thread
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Old 24-05-2010, 04:24   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pelagic View Post

Of special note is that many warships over 50m cannot be fitted with a forward masthead light so do not assume length based on whether you see one or two mast lights.

I have actually used this Rule to apply and been granted an official exemption from the Flag State on a +50m yacht which had frequent flight operations, so we could omit the foremast

Also applies to many offshore tugs, anchor handlers, construction vessels. Many of these do not carry a second mast head light.
On my own vessel, the sterb light is actually placed forward of midships, and on the port side, and the aft anchor light is on a removable mast, which only ever gets rigged for annual surveys, as its a PITA
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Old 24-05-2010, 04:37   #11
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The first point I can see that I would like resolved is which countires are signitures to the Convention?

Quote:
Entry into force
The adoption of a convention marks the conclusion of only the first stage of a long process. Before the convention comes into force - that is, before it becomes binding upon Governments which have ratified it - it has to be accepted formally by individual Governments.


In other words each country needs to enact it so it is law in their own country. In doing so I am sure there would be changes to the text.


Plus, there must be quite a number of countires that just don't give a damn about any other country telling them what to do!

Quote:
Entry into force


For example, the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974, provided that entry into force requires acceptance by 25 States whose merchant fleets comprise not less than 50 per cent of the world's gross tonnage;
So are these Colregs only accepted by 50% of the worlds gross tonnage?
Thats bugger all!


What countries should we be specially cognicant that do not respect this convention?
I know sailing in Asia was a Colreg joke.

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Old 24-05-2010, 04:38   #12
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Rule 1

Yes lots of special exemptions these days.


Submarines usually show two masthead lights but the forward white light may be lower than the sidelights.

Also some submarines are fitted with a flashing amber light 2 meters above the aft masthead light to aid in identification in narrow or dense traffic situations. Hovercrafts have something similar.
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Old 24-05-2010, 05:26   #13
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I don't have anything to add to the rule 1 discussion but I wait with interest for rule 5
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Old 24-05-2010, 05:39   #14
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Rule 1

Hi Mark, I think you are misunderstanding that quote since it only referred to needing a majority of no less that 25 states and 50% of world’s tonnage to adopt an IMO resolution

In reality there are about 170 or so countries that participate in various IMO issues or up to 99% of tonnage. Look at this summary

Status of Conventions - Summary

If you want to know a counties individual status then this XLS will tell you.

Obviously any commercial vessel not adhering to COLREGS would be banned from International trade because member states would never allow them in their harbors.

The real issue is that the poor countries can not educate or enforce their local mariners to follow the rules, so it is as you say better to assume ignorance
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Old 24-05-2010, 05:44   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wotname View Post
I don't have anything to add to the rule 1 discussion but I wait with interest for rule 5
Yes that will be a lively one... I think we should give it 24 hrs before moving on to next rule as it is important to build the blocks of common understanding before we get to 5
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