Learn the Rules of the Road (on the water!)
We learn to manoeuvre a car and the rules of the road on land, it’s the same for a boat.
The International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea 1972, often abbreviated to Col Regs, are the worldwide rules of the road on the water.
The way I learned them
- Combine patterns
- Study the basics (port, starboard, stern light)
- Study the sets that show ‘not under command’ and ‘restricted in ability to manoeuvre’, etc
- Understand how they work when you put them together
That meant I didn’t have to remember every individual scenario, but interpret what I saw by using the core knowledge and ‘sets’ of lights combined together.
It works well
This is why we have created a short course on the Lights and Shapes:
- Each video guides you through the very basics
- The additional quizzes cement the information in your mind
By building your knowledge gradually and learning the patterns and how they come together, builds safety on the water. And then you can really enjoy your time out there, catching fish, sailing into the sunset, or simply bobbing on anchor.
You’ll find it isn’t too daunting, taking it a step-at-a-time and it’s a bit of fun (beware, you may become a Col Regs nerd too (like me)!)
Videos – Articles – Contact – Courses – Gifts
Click here to see what else we get up to on the water
Click here for the Col Regs course information.
The International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea 1972 (COLREGs) are published by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and set out, among other things, the “rules of the road” or navigation rules to be followed by ships and other vessels at sea to prevent collisions between two or more vessels.
There can be localised amendment/additional rules, so you must ensure you ask the local authorities for their boating handbooks/information.