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Navigation Rules (COLREGS)

The Navigation Rules establish actions to be taken by vessels to avoid collision. The Rules are divided into two parts, INLAND and INTERNATIONAL. U.S. Inland Rules apply to vessels operating inside the line of demarcation while International Rules apply outside the lines. Demarcation lines are printed on most navigational charts and are published in the Navigation Rules. You can also find info about the Demarcation Lines here.

Here you will find information about the Navigation Rules (International - Inland), COMDTINST M16672.2D, also known as the Rules of the Road, Nav Rules, or COLREGS (International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea)

View or Download the Nav Rules (pdf files)

Complete Version:

By Section:

  • Part A/B  - Section / Subpart I
    • General
    • Conduct of Vessels in Any Condition of Visibility - Rules 1-10
  • Part B - (pg 26-37) - Section / Subpart II-III
    • Conduct of Vessels in Sight of One Another - Rules 11-18
    • Conduct of Vessels in Restricted Visibility - Rule 19
  • Part C - (pg 38-113) Lights and Shapes - Rules 20-31
  • Part D & E - (.pdf, 62 KB) (pg 114-131) Sound and Light Signals / Exemptions - Rules 32-38
  • Annexes I-V - (pg 132-173)
    • Positioning and Technical Details of Lights and Shapes
    • Additional Signals for Fishing Vessels Fishing in Close Proximity
    • Technical Details of Sound Appliances
    • Distress Signals
    • Pilot Rules
  • Miscellaneous - (pg 174-215)
    • Interpretive Rules
    • COLREGS Demarcation Lines
    • Penalties Provisions
    • Alternative Compliance - International / Inland
    • Waters Specified by the Secretary
    • Vessel Bridge-to-Bridge Radiotelephone Regulations
    • Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) call signs, designated frequencies, and monitoring areas.

Check the U.S. Coast Guard Navigation Center for complete info, including any changes to the rules.





Massachusetts Harbormasters Association, Inc.