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Collision Regulations (COLREGS)

The International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea 1972 (COLREGS) is a collection of navigation rules for ships and other sea vessels. The “rules of the road” were published by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and were created to avoid future collisions between two or more vessels.

COLREGS is an international guide for maritime vessels to follow at sea. Countries around the world adopt and enforce the rules through an official administration created by a designated IMO member. Employers, vessel owners, and maritime entities must adhere to COLREGS to prevent ship collisions. Those who are negligent in upholding these regulations may be legally liable for their actions. 

Maritime Injury Attorneys for COLREGS in Oregon, Washington, and California

The maritime industry can be dangerous. A collision between two vessels can create devastating damage and injuries. Captains, employers, and vessel owners who do not follow COLREGS are putting their ships and crews at risk.

If you have been injured in a maritime collision because of another’s negligence, it’s highly recommended that you seek trusted legal representation. Your employers are required to fix any unsafe conditions that may be present, which includes collision awareness. The attorneys at [firm] are experienced in representing victims of ship collision s. We are knowledgeable in both inland and international maritime law. Do what is best for your recovery and contact an attorney at Anderson Carey Williams & Neidzwski now. 

Call Anderson Carey Williams & Neidzwski at 1 (800) 262-8529 to schedule a free consultation today. Our offices are located in Bellingham and Seattle, Washington, Portland, Oregon, and San Francisco, California.

Overview of International collision Regulations


Definitions for Vessels in COLREGS

Employers or vessel owners who violate the International Regulations for Preventing collision s at Sea 1972 are violating international rules and regulations. The following are the legal definitions for terms for vessels in COLREGS.


Steering and Sailing Rules in COLREGS

The International Maritime Organization implemented COLREGS to regulate vessels and decrease collisions at sea. Certain rules and accommodations must be made to traveling ships so they are easily spotted during any type of weather or time. Additionally, ships must maintain certain speeds and maneuverability in the event of a collision, port collision or close-quarters.

Maritime entitles that do not follow these rules are putting their employees at risk of a collision . Seamen injured from a maritime collision should seek trusted legal representation. The following are the steering and sailing rules set out by COLREGS.


Conduct of Vessels in Sight of One Another in COLREGS

The purpose of COLREGS is to avoid crashes or collisions between two or more sea vessels. When multiple ships spot one another, COLREGS has certain rules the operators must adhere to for safety precautions. Carelessly or recklessly ignoring or botching these accommodations may be considered an act of negligence. 

Seamen or other maritime workers who have been injured due to a negligence-related maritime collision should seek a personal injury attorney. The following are the rules and regulations vessels must follow if they see another ship.


Conduct of Vessels in Restricted Visibility in COLREGS

One of the biggest causes for maritime collisions is restricted visibility. Rules and regulations in COLREGS exist for vessels that have restricted visibility due to time of day, location or weather. Employers and vessel owners who do not follow these visibility rules are putting their crews and other ships at risk.

The following are the COLREGS rules for vessels navigating in restricted visibility: 


Light Term Definitions in COLREGS

Lights are a huge deal when it comes to maritime vessels avoiding collisions. Different types of lights mean various signals and can avoid major damage. Those who do not comply with COLREG light regulations may be held liable for injuries that arise from maritime collisions. 

The following are the definitions for light terms in COLREGS.


Light and Sound Regulations in COLREGS

Vessels must place, use, or terminate their lights at certain times. The purpose of this, in COLREG, is to alert another vessel of your presence and avoid collisions. Certain vessels must have specific lights at designated areas set out by the regulations in COLREG. Any maritime entity that does not maintain their light regulations is compromising the safety of their crew and other vessels.

Additionally, COLREG also requires vessels to sound certain alarms in specific situations. These sounds are to alert other ships of your presence, direction, or situation. If a captain does not use these alarms in the appropriate situations, he or she is being negligent. On the other hand, captain or vessel owners must implement and follow sound signals when at sea to avoid collisions. 


Additional Resources

Navigation Rules – Visit the official website for the Navigation Center hosted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Gain access to the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea 1972 (COLREG) and learn the specific rules, regulations, and possible scenarios in the event of a possible collision.

Frequently Asked Questions – Visit the official website for the Navigation Center hosted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Find answers to frequently asked questions for COLREG including which lights can be considered valid, how to report a marine accident, and how kayaks an canoes fit in with COLREG.


Maritime Injury Attorneys for COLREG in Washington and California

Have you been injured in a recent maritime collision? Was the collision due to careless or reckless actions of your captain or employer? You may be entitled to certain compensation for your injuries. The attorneys at Anderson Carey Williams & Neidzwski are skilled at representing those injured by negligence-related maritime collisions.

Anderson Carey Williams & Neidzwski has the extensive knowledge and resources needed to obtain advocate for  your injury and story. We understand the complexities of federal and international maritime law. Our attorneys want to help you get what you deserve. We practice at the following locations including Seattle and Bellingham in Washington, San Francisco in California, and Portland in Oregon. 

Call us now at 1 (800) 262-8529 for a free consultation for your case today.


This article was last updated on October 4, 2018.  

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