COLREG in easy language (Rule 10)

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Rule 10 Traffic separation schemes 

(a) This Rule applies to traffic separation schemes adopted by the Organization and does not relieve any vessel of her obligation under any other Rule.

Nothing in Rule 10 is saying that sailing in a lane of a Traffic Separation Scheme you have any “priority” with cross traffic coming from your starboard side. Rule 15 remains in force.

Rule 10: TRAFFIC SEPARATION SCHEMES 

Rule 10 is one of the longest rules and one of the hardest to understand. Always remember:

  • There is no additional right of way – a traffic separation lane does not give you right of way over any other vessel (except a vessel that is fishing inside a traffic separation scheme, unfortunately very rarely the fishing vessels follow COLREGs therefore beware).
  • All of the other rules continue to apply within a TSS.
  • The actions of vessels navigating in and near TSS can be unpredictable. In the TSS you can expect above-average density of traffic, crossing vessels, fishing vessels and high-speed crafts. Study the passage plan before your watch, be prepared and, if you need assistance, ask for it well in advance.

Advices for navigation in TSS:

  • Always follow all the other rules.
  • Try to keep in your lane.
  • Try to avoid overtaking – especially towards the end of the TSS.
  • Avoid VHF calls to other ships – it will only distract them.
  • Beware of fishing vessels – they are allowed to fish in TSS.
  • Look-out for crossing vessels – they should cross the TSS at right angles but they may navigate parallel to the scheme for a while to find an opportunity to cross.
  • Look-out for high-speed crafts – especially wide on your beam.
  • If you are not happy with the situation developing, slow down or stop.
  • Be wary at all times. 

YOU HAVE NO ADDITIONAL RIGHTS OF WAY IN A TRAFFIC SEPARATION SCHEME!!!

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