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Table of contents


A. General
The International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (Collision Regulations) and Traffic Separation Schemes must be strictly followed. Any deviation from the rules and regulations may

  • seriously impair the safety of the own vessel and other vessels
  • result in considerable fines, penalties and even jail, which can be imposed on the Master and the officer of the watch long after the contravention took place
  • result in certificates of competency being suspended or cancelled.

    The Master should instruct his/her officers that any reasonable deviation from the rules and regulations should be properly reported to the supervising coastal authorities and their permission obtained beforehand.

    In instances of fines being levied on the vessel, the Master or the crew please see section 3.7 Fines.

    B. Safe speed – use of engines
    The Master should encourage and emphasise that all officers should maintain a safe speed at all times. The Master should also ensure that the OOW is fully aware of the vessel’s manoeuvring characteristics, including stopping distance so that proper and effective action can be taken at all times to avoid a collision.

    The OOW must always make use of the vessel’s engines to reduce the speed, whenever the situation requires, which gives more time to assess the situation.

    C. Frequent navigational fixes
    The Master should ensure that frequent navigational fixes are taken by the OOW during the watch to assess the proper position of the vessel. Fixes should be taken by more than one method. Officers should avoid relying on the Global Positioning Systems alone but should verify the position fixes by other methods.

    D. Use of radar and AIS – limited use of VHF
    Radars and Automated Identification Systems (AIS) should be used by the OOW irrespective of the state of visibility to become fully familiar with the systems in use. The Collision Regulations require the OOW to make use of all navigational equipment at all times to assess whether the situation can develop into a collision.

    Before the OOW intends to make use of the VHF to verify the situation, the AIS should be used to its fullest extent. The uncoordinated use of VHF may shorten the valuable time available to properly assess the situation and take evasive action.