International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea 1972 (COLREGs)

The COLREGs outline internationally agreed rules for safe navigation, including ‘give way’ rules between vessels and other requirements for safe conduct including the requirement to keep a look out, travel at a safe speed, and how to operate vessels in narrow channels. The COLREGS also outline the requirements for vessels operating in restricted visibility including lights, shapes and signals to be used to prevent collisions.

The COLREGs apply to all vessels upon the high seas and in all waters connected therewith navigable by seagoing vessels, and all vessels on waters governed by NSW marine legislation, such as harbours, rivers, lakes, and inland waterways. The requirements of the COLREGs are amended by the Marine Safety Regulation 2016, the purpose to these amendments are to accommodate for variations in safety requirements in a more localised context.

Schedule 4 of the Marine Safety Regulation 2016 contains the amendments that apply to vessels operating in NSW waters. Access the full COLREGs on the Federal Register of Legislation.

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