Handbook of the Nautical Rules of the Road by Llana & Wisneskey

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Rule 20 -- Application


The International and Inland versions of the Rule are the same.


INTERNATIONAL

INLAND

(a) Rules in this Part shall be complied with in all weathers.

(a) Rules in this Part shall be complied with in all weathers.

 

Paragraph (a) assures us that bad weather is not an excuse for not displaying the required navigation lights. In the era of electric navigation lights, this perhaps is directed at those vessels still using oil and wicks to show their presence, but it also applies to those operators who would prefer to wait for a nice day to change a burned-out electric lamp.


INTERNATIONAL

INLAND

(b) The Rules concerning lights shall be complied with from sunset to sunrise, and during such times no other lights shall be exhibited, except such lights as cannot be mistaken for the lights specified in these Rules or do not impair their visibility or distinctive character, or interfere with the keeping of a proper look-out.

(b) The Rules concerning lights shall be complied with from sunset to sunrise, and during such times no other lights shall be exhibited, except such lights as cannot be mistaken for the lights specified in these Rules or do not impair their visibility or distinctive character, or interfere with the keeping of a proper look-out.

 

Paragraph (b) begins by saying that navigation lights are to be displayed between sunset and sunrise. This part of the paragraph is generally adhered to, but the rest is often ignored. When your navigation lights are on, the display of other colored or bright white lights may be mistaken for navigation lights, may impair the visibility or character of the navigation lights, or may interfere with the lookout. Such displays would put you in violation of the navigation rules and could lead to an accident.


INTERNATIONAL

INLAND

(c) The lights prescribed by these Rules shall, if carried, also be exhibited from sunrise to sunset in restricted visibility and may be exhibited in all other circumstances when it is deemed necessary.

(c) The lights prescribed by these Rules shall, if carried, also be exhibited from sunrise to sunset in restricted visibility and may be exhibited in all other circumstances when it is deemed necessary.

 

Navigation lights must be turned on when you are operating in restricted visibility unless your vessel is used only during the day and does not have navigation lights. Navigation lights may be displayed at other times at the option of the operator.


INTERNATIONAL

INLAND

(d) The Rules concerning shapes shall be complied with by day.

(d) The Rules concerning shapes shall be complied with by day.

 

Shapes are displayed during the day, that is, from sunrise to sunset. Because the transition from light to dark and back again is gradual, it is a good idea to display both lights and shapes at dawn and dusk.


INTERNATIONAL

INLAND

(e) The lights and shapes specified in these Rules shall comply with the provisions of Annex I to these Regulations.

(e) The lights and shapes specified in these Rules shall comply with the provisions of Annex I to these Rules.

 

Paragraph (e) contains the formal reference in the Rules to the Annex I technical requirements for lights and shapes. All mariners should read the annex at least once, to garner an idea of the requirements all designers and manufacturers should meet.

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Rule 21