Coast Guard, NOAA to include Navigation Rules in U.S. Coast Pilot


WASHINGTON - The U.S. Coast Guard and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have teamed up on a consolidated publication that will help mariners save time and money.

The Coast Guard Office of Navigation Systems and NOAA Office of Coast Survey will incorporate the amalgamated International Regulations for the Prevention of Collisions at Sea (72 COLREGS) and the Inland Navigation Rules into NOAA’s U.S. Coast Pilot publications.

To access Coast Pilot, visit

The U.S. Coast Pilot publications already include the Coast Guard’s Vessel Traffic Service regulations.

“Adding the Navigation Rules into the Coast Pilot conveniently places three essential navigation safety publications into one easily available publication, available in either bound hard copy or electronic format,” said Capt. Mary Ellen Durley, the chief of the Coast Guard Office of Navigation Systems. “The U.S. Coast Pilot will now provide a one-stop shop for these required publications.”

“Making essential navigational products readily available and convenient for the mariner is a priority for NOAA,” said Capt. James Crocker, the chief of NOAA Office of Coast Survey Navigation Services Division. “We are pleased to collaborate with the U.S. Coast Guard in making the Navigation Rules available in all nine volumes of the Coast Pilot — three required publications in one free download.”


I’m not really sure that will save all that much time and money. Colregs don’t get too many corrections and new editions don’t come out that often. I also like having the separate copy of it by my side while I’m standing watch. Not a big ass book that won’t fit on the console. Just my personal preference. I still bring with me to watch the first nav rules book I got when I started taking the tests for BM in the coast guard. It’s been around.


Let me get this straight. You bridge guys need another book up there with on watch or a handy rules of the road book small enough to fit on the console to prevent yourself from having a collision? What the hell!?!?


They can look it up in the book while they’re waiting for the other vessel to answer the VHF!


I think @Quimby’s point is more the psychological impact, not the practical. The COLREGS have more punch in a single small book rather then getting diluted in a larger volume. Like Mao’s Little Red Book.

Or the ten commandments, they might have more impact when they were on stone tablets by themselves instead of mixed into the Bible somewhere. Then when someone asked “are they carved in stone?” the answer would be yes, in fact they are.


That’s ok. Even duckboat captains like Mr Pebble need a forum to voice their opinion.


I’m not even qualified to pilot one of those duck boats only holding engineering licenses. I’ll admit my engineering team & I do use a lot of reference materials to do our jobs but it is mostly to obtain part numbers, diagrams of new equipment & electrical schematics. We have a few hundred thousand little parts to worry about down here. But I don’t have a basic electricity or fundamental of mechanics book next to me while I’m working. I was under the impression you bridge guys had to have that rules of the road stuff & COLREGS memorized before getting your first license?? I’m just saying…


COLREGS are required by law:

Per 33 CFR 83.01(g), the operator of each self-propelled vessel 12 meters or more in length shall carry, on board and maintain for ready reference, a copy of the Rules.


The COLREGS are the foundation of understanding for all bridge watch officers. There are classes that teach it. Countless books that break down all the various rules and apply them to as many scenarios that one could possibly encounter underway. Every license exam requires you to take a rules of the road test. I’ve memorized the book in the past. I say I have an excellent working knowledge of the rules, but like all books you don’t retain the information indefinitely unless you have an eidetic memory. One of my Chiefs had us sign a statement stating we’d read nav rules prior to every deployment. I guess my point is that unless you are an idiot and skate by on the bare minimum, sure…only read it when you have to take a test. Sit up on watch staring at your phone. Personal preference. I don’t “need” it to be up there to prevent having a collision, but I carry it with me to keep it fresh in my mind. So it seems that since you don’t have a clue what it takes to stand a good watch in the wheelhouse, maybe before you start mocking people, ask some intelligent questions first or just not say anything at all.


Thanks for letting me know how the brains of you bridge officers work. It’s really different than what I assumed. I started playing the sax when I was 12 yrs old & I couldn’t forget my fingering & how to read music to save my life. I learned the power formula & Ohm’s Law once, pounded it into my head & now can spill it out as fast as I can my kids birthdays. That’s how I thought it was with COLREGS & bridge officers, especially since you guys get paid to use it to avoid collisions 6+ months out of the year. I thought it was stuck in there, 100% muscle memory. By all means, study, study, study, keep up the good work. Your grease monkeys down below depend on you not to crash the ship.


Gentlemen, gentlemen. If I may.

I am a simple deckie and don’t want to put words in anyone else’s mouth but I think what @Quimby may have been to referring to are the more trivial details of the rules of the road. Things like fog signal of a pilot boat and the such are good to brush up on at times since you rarely see it.

The nuts and bolts of the rules are SEARED into our brains to illicit an almost Pavlovian response, or maybe that’s just me. Either way, the black gang need not worry. We trust you to keep the lights on and you should trust us to keep the pointy end from hitting other things.

Good talk.

Now let’s all get out there and win the big game :face_with_monocle: