Collision regulations and ship lights – DS & YM


There is no pre-reading before this section of the course.

Why is this important?

Just like on the road, at sea there are rules which aim to prevent collisions.

Rules of the Road

IRPCS – Quick Quiz
The slides take you through the main applications of most of the IRPCS rules. The full rule wording is available in the “Speakers Notes”.

RYA Top tips for dealing with fog
Rule 19. It’s not a particularly long or complicated rule, but when the visibility closes in, it completely replaces all others.

PBO Colregs made Simple

Sail meets Sail – Port and Starboard

Video: skill

Sail meets Sail – head on

Video: skill

Sail meets Sail – Windward-Leeward

Video: skill

Sail meets Sail – Unsure of tack

Video: skill

Power meets Sail – Overtaking

Video: skill

Power meets Sail – Crossing

Video: skill

Power meets Power – Crossing

Video: skill

Power meets Power – Head On

Video: skill

Power meets Power – Overtaking

Video: skill

Now watch this video from Motor Boat & Yachting

Video: additional information

Ship Navigation Lights

Navigation lights and shapes lesson (PowerPoint)
Navigation lights and shapes lesson (PDF)
Take a look at this PowerPoint to remind yourself of all the basic lights and shapes.

Colision regulations, lights and shapes – Quick Quiz (PowerPoint)
Colision regulations, lights and shapes – Quick Quiz (PDF)
The slides take you through all the main lights and shapes.

Navigation Lights – Flip Cards
Check your knowledge by printing out these cards.

Port Traffic Signals

These light signals (or amended version of) are used at the entrance of many harbours.

Note: Penzance Harbour uses an amended version of this – three green – entrance open, three red – entrance closed.



RNLI Training – Navigation Lights
This is a link to the online version of the RNLI Training console.

RNLI Training – Shapes and Lights
This is a link to the online version of the RNLI Training console.

Sailtrain – Col Regs
The Collision Regulations in detail.

RYA – Rules of the Road
The RYA’s quick guide to the rules of the road.

RYA Sea Sense
Aiming to make us consider other water users.

Check your understanding

Check your knowledge of the basics using this quick self-marking test.

Open the quiz


Try to identify these navigation lights in the real world. If possible look out to sea see what is going past.


The content of these pages is put together in good faith and is constantly evolving. It is possible that errors exist within this content. If you spot an error or would like to add anything to these pages please contact use via email.

Reading the content of these pages is not a substitute for completing a RYA Shorebased course or similar.