R. M. Slack

Peer Reviewed

Abstract: The Rules of The Road, more properly known at the International Regulations For Preventing Collisions At Sea, have been the law of the maritime community in this country since 1895. The first Rules enacted by Congress in 1864 closely followed the British Rules. These Rules were re-enacted in 1874, and superseded by the Rules of 1885. A Conference was held by the major maritime nations in 1895 and the first International Rules adopted. They became effective in 1897. (For an excellent discussion of the history and background of the Rules see Healy and Sharpe, Admiralty Cases and Materials.) Subsequent conventions were held, notably in 1946, 1960 and, most recently, in 1972. Few changes were made until 1960, when radar was officially recognized and Article 16(c) and the Annex to the Rules were adopted. Now, in 1972, we have a complete rewriting and regrouping of the Rules and important new responsibilities placed on the navigator. (The text of the 1972 Rules 172 COLREGS] is set out in 33 CFR and CG-169, Navigation Rules, copies of which are available from the Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 20402.) An excellent discussion of the 1972 Rules which took effect July 15, 1977 may be found in a series of articles by Radm W.W. Barrow and Cdr. J.M. Duke. These articles were published in the Proceedings of the Marine Safety Council from September 1973 through February 1974. The authority of these articles is greatly enhanced by the fact that the authors, and Commander Duke in particular, were closely associated with the preliminary studies in this country and in the final work of IMCO in London. This article will not attempt a broad coverage of the new Rules but will concentrate on the Rules covering navigation in poor visibility, the use of radar, and a proper lookout.
Published in: NAVIGATION: Journal of the Institute of Navigation, Volume 25, Number 4
Pages: 385 - 394
Cite this article: Slack, R. M., "THE LAW, THE COURTS AND THE SEAMAN: THE MARINER'S DILEMMA", NAVIGATION: Journal of The Institute of Navigation, Vol. 25, No. 4, Winter 1978-1979, pp. 385-394.
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