of the
Nautical Rules
of the Road


Chris Llana and George Wisneskey

Welcome to the new on-line Handbook of the Nautical Rules of the Road. This publication first went into print in 1986; a second edition was published in 1991.

The Naval Institute Press for years had two competing navigation rules books in print: this one and Farwell's. In the interest of their bottom line, they have elected to retain only one (Farwell's).

As a result, we the authors have regained full rights to the the Handbook and are making it available to mariners everywhere for free. We are now also able to incorporate updates and enhancements that the publisher was unwilling to undertake.

We would like to thank the thousands of mariners who since 1986 bought, used, and recommended the Handbook of the Nautical Rules of the Road. We hope you continue to get good use of this on-line edition.

Initially this web-based third edition will include only text, updated to incorporate rule changes through 1998. As time and resources allow, we will further update our text to reflect the current state of the rules, and begin to add illustrations. At some point we may add new sections (for example, analyses of significant historical collisions).

The organization of this web site will initially follow that of the print editions. The table of contents page will contain links to separate web pages for each rule. It has been necessary to re-type everything to put it on the web, and this work is not yet done. Please be patient while we finish entering the rest. We are getting no revenue from this site (although advertisers are welcome) and have other demands on our time.

After all the text has been entered, we will insert internal links to sections of referenced related rules. Later there will be links from the discussion to relevant illustrations.

Text will be black on a white background to facilitate printing. Readers may print any portion of this site for their own personal use, without prior permission. No commercial use of any original material in this web site may be made without express permission from the authors.

We hope you get some benefit from this. May your days see fair weather and your fine vessels never go bump in the night!

Chris Llana & George Wisneskey
October 30, 2006

UPDATE: April 8, 2008

Traffic on the site has been light so I have been working on higher priority needs. I have just added Rule 38 (finally) and am starting on Annex I. I have used new improved software to scan and scale the original illustrations for Rules 10 and 12, and replaced the bad Rule 34 illustration. I've also scanned about 20 illustrations for Annex I, and intend to add navigation light illustrations after finishing keying in the rest of the text (which is quite a bit).

Chris Llana

UPDATE: July 5, 2008

I have posted the first half of the very lengthy Annex I section.

UPDATE: August 6, 2008

I have added a page describing the 2001 amendments to the International Rules. These amendments concern wing-in-ground aircraft -- usually seaplanes that cruise just above the water to gain extra lift (meaning low enough to collide with vessels).

UPDATE: August 13, 2008

I have posted the second half of the Annex I discussion.

UPDATE: January 28, 2011

I've been very busy these last couple of years providing home care for my elderly parents, but during the past few months have managed to publish two of my science fiction novels on amazon.com's Kindle e-book store -- just $4.99 each. Another two novels will go on sale as soon as I can prepare cover art, etc.--these other two are more sci-fi/techno/political thrillers. If you read fiction and have a Kindle, please support this site (and me) by taking a look at my novels. From personal experience, I know that working on an ocean-going (or other) vessel also comes with free time and not a lot of options for entertainment. A Kindle e-reader can hold up to 3500 books, with many older classics offered by amazon for free, and most e-books sell for a fraction of what a paper book costs.

I'm placing ads at the ends of several Rule discussions, with a link to my publishing web site - Telomere Media, which has descriptions, cover art, and links to the relevant amazon pages. Thanks for the consideration.

Chris Llana

Table of Contents
About the Authors