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Navigation Rules and Regulations Handbook

International—Inland

From the United States Department of Transportation and the United States Coast Guard, the official, legally required handbook for every boat owner—covering safety, collision avoidance, towing and pushing, and more.

Navigation Rules and Regulations fulfills the legal requirement to have a copy of these guidelines on your vessel at all times. Updated to accommodate the most recent changes to marine law and standard operating procedure, this handbook provides the Coast Guard's official rules for operating your boat in international and domestic waters. It will serve as a complete reference for:

  • Steering and sailing in all levels of visibility, including how to avoid collisions
  • Conduct when another boat is in sight, including navigating in head-on and crossing situations
  • Requirements for flags, shapes, and lights, and how to identify other vessels
  • Sending and receiving sound and light signals from other ships, such as distress signals

The Inland General Rules included in this handbook require that "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 these Rules." Operate your vessel safely and legally with the latest Navigation Rules and Regulations Handbook.

The U.S. Coast Guard is a maritime, military, multi-mission service unique among the U.S. military branches for having a maritime law enforcement mission (with jurisdiction in both domestic and international waters) and a federal regulatory agency mission as part of its mission set. It protects the personal safety and security of the American people; the marine transportation system and infrastructure; the country's natural and economic resources; and the territorial integrity of the nation—from both internal and external threats, natural and man-made. It protects these interests in U.S. ports, inland waterways, along the coasts, and on international waters.