CASE 109Part 2 Preamble
Rule 48, Fog Signals and Lights
International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea
The IRPCAS or government right-of-way rules apply between boats that are racing only if the sailing instructions say so, and in that case all of the Part 2 rules are replaced. An IRPCAS or government rule may be made to apply by including it in the sailing instructions or in another document governing the event.Question 1
What are the ‘government rules’ to which the preamble to Part 2 and rule
48 refer? How do those rules differ from the International Regulations for
Preventing Collisions at Sea (IRPCAS)?
The IRPCAS apply only ‘upon the high seas and in all waters connected therewith navigable by seagoing vessels’ (IRPCAS Rule 1(a)). On a country’s harbours, rivers, lakes and other inland waters, governments and other government authorities may establish other rules. Those other rules are the ‘government rules’ to which the Part 2 preamble and rule 48 refer.
Such rules, which may apply nationally on all inland waters or only on specific inland waters, may restate, replace, change or add to the IRPCAS (IRPCAS Rules 1(b) and 1(c)).
When the notice of race, sailing instructions and other documents that govern an event do not mention the IRPCAS or government rules, do any rules of the IRPCAS or government rules apply to a boat racing under The Racing Rules of Sailing?
Yes. When safety requires, a boat racing shall sound fog signals and show lights as required by the IRPCAS or applicable government rules (rule 48). Also, when a boat sailing under the Part 2 rules meets a vessel that is not, the IRPCAS or government right-of-way rules apply between them (Part2 preamble).
May the notice of race, sailing instructions or another document that governs the event make the IRPCAS or government right-of-way rules or other rules of the IRPCAS or government rules applicable?
Yes, in three ways:
- The sailing instructions may state that the right-of-way rules of the IRPCAS or government rules replace all of the rules of Part 2 (Part 2 preamble and rule J2.2(2)). This is often done for oceanic races and also for racing at night.
- The sailing instructions may state that a particular rule from the IRPCAS or government rules (other than a right-of-way rule) will apply to the event and include the text of that rule (rule J2.2(38)).
- The definition Rule includes ‘(g) any other document governing the event.’ Such a document may include the text of a particular rule or rules from the IRPCAS or government rules (other than a right-of-way rule) that will apply to the event. Rules for crossing shipping lanes are often made available in such a document. To govern an event, a document must be listed in the notice of race (rule J1.1(3)), stating where or how it may be seen, and in the sailing instructions (rule J2.1(2)).
If the sailing instructions state that the right-of-way rules of the IRPCAS replace the rules of Part 2, which rules of Part 2 are replaced by which rules of the IRPCAS?
All the rules of Part 2 are replaced. Part B of the IRPCAS contains the IRPCAS ‘Steering and Sailing Rules’, which are, in effect, ‘right-of-way rules’. However, Part B of the IRPCAS must be read in conjunction with the whole of the IRPCAS, particularly Part A. For example, many terms used in Part B are defined in Part A.
Is it possible to provide for a wider or narrower range of replacements of right-of-way rules that apply between competing boats?
A sailing instruction may only replace all the rules of Part 2 with all the right-of-way rules of the IRPCAS or government rules. Rule 86.1 states that the sailing instructions shall not change Part 2, which includes its preamble. Therefore, a wider or narrower range of replacements of right-of-way rules that apply between competing boats is not permitted.
All or nothing.
Because the rules depend on each other to get a level playing field you can't use parts of one and parts of the other at the same time.