Rule of the Road
Part A – General
Rule 1 – Apppication
(a)These Rules shall apply to all vessels upon the high seas and in all waters connected therewith navigable by seagoing vessels.
Inland Waters: Inland waters that are not connected with high seas may be regulated by ‘Rules for Inland Waters’ derived by government of a particular state or country. As an example in Bangladesh, RoR apply in the navigable waters of ‘Karnaphuli River’ but not in other rivers that are connected to it but are neither not connected with high seas nor navigable by seagoing vessels.
(b) Nothing in these Rules shall interfere with the operation of special rules made by an appropriate authority for roadsteads, harbours, rivers, lakes or inland waterways connected with the high seas and navigable by seagoing vessels. Such special rules shall conform as closely as possible to these Rules.
Roadsteads: A sheltered area outside a harbour where a ship can lie safe at anchor, also known as a roads.
Harbour: A harbor or harbour, or haven, is a place where ships may shelter from the weather or are stored. Harbours can be man-made or natural.
Special Rules: They are made by a particular state or government. Usually, they are made in close conformance with RoR.
(c) Nothing in these Rules shall interfere with the operation of any special rules made by the Government of any State with respect to additional station or signal lights, shapes or whistle signals for ships of war and vessels proceeding under convoy, or with respect to additional station or signal lights, or shapes for fishing vessels engaged in fishing as a fleet. These additional station or signal lights, shapes or whistle signals shall, so far as possible, be such that they cannot be mistaken for any light, shape or signal authorized elsewhere under these Rules.
Three types of vessels: Warships, Vessels proceeding under convoy and a fishing fleet engaged in fishing.
Degree of Special Rules: These rules are usually more stringent than RoR.
Additional Station: It may be an additional mast fitted with signal lights and/or shapes.
Fishing vessels engaged in fishing as a fleet: These are different from the vessels mentioned in Annex-II and Rule-26(d): A vessel engaged in fishing in close proximity to other vessels engaged in fishing.
(d) Traffic separation schemes may be adopted by the Organization for the purpose of these Rules.
The Organization: This is the International Maritime Organization (IMO), a body of the United Nations. Rule 1(d) authorizes IMO to adopt traffic separation schemes to which Rule 10 will apply. The details of TSS can be found in “IMO Ships’ Routeing Guide’’.
TSS: As defined by IMO Ships’ Routeing Guide, ‘A routeing measure aimed at the separation of opposing streams of traffic by appropriate means and by the establishment of traffic lanes’.
(e) Whenever the Government concerned shall have determined that a vessel of special construction or purpose cannot comply fully with the provisions of any of these Rules with respect to the number, position, range or arc of visibility of lights or shapes, as well as to the disposition and characteristics of sound-signaling appliances, such vessel shall comply with such other provisions in regard to the number, position, range or arc of visibility of lights or shapes, as well as to the disposition and characteristics of sound-signaling appliances, as her Government shall have determined to be the closest possible compliance with these Rules in respect of that vessel.
Deviation from Lights & Shapes: Some specially constructed vessels’ unique functions may be impaired if these rules are complied with fully. In those cases, Rule 1(e) permits a deviation from the navigation light, shape, or sound-signal requirements but only to the point of preventing interference with the special function.
Special Vessels’ Lights: Information about lights and shapes of special vessels such as Warships, Aircraft Carriers and Submarines can be found in Mariners’ Handbook, Annual Summary of Notices to Mariners and Sailing Directions