Select Page
IRPCS ColRegs Rules of the Road at Sea and Yachtmaster

The IRPCS ColRegs

IRPCS ColRegs Rules of the Road at Sea and Yachtmaster

Learning, understanding and remembering the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (IRPCS ColRegs) is essential if you’re seeking to get your YachtmasterCoxswain or Master of Yachts certificate of competency, which is is often the ultimate aim of aspiring skippers. These are well known, highly respected seafaring qualifications worldwide, proving your experience and competence as a skipper.

Unlike other courses in the international cruising programme, there is no formal training to complete in order to become a Yachtmaster. Instead, provided that you have sufficient experience and seafaring time, you can put yourself forward for an exam to test your skills and knowledge.

How do you obtain a Yachtmaster certificate? 

Preparation is the key. In fact, any instructor will tell you, the main reason for failure is a lack of preparation and poor knowledge. So, it’s a simple as that, you have to know your syllabus and be able to answer the questions to get your Yachtmaster certificate.

What’s the best way to prepare for your Yachtmaster exam ?

People have different ways of learning the ColRegs, but a common mistake is to try to remember the ColRegs without having understood and interpreted the rules first. So, you need to find materials that will help you with your own learning style. Visualising the rules and potential hazards and collision will often help people understand the rules and their application. That’s why, with permission from IRPCS, we developed series of graphically-led mobile applications to help people understand and interpret the ColRegs on their iPhone, iPad or Android devices.

Our ColRegs Nav Lights and Rules of the Road at Sea apps provide skippers with what they need to interpret what other vessels are doing, who has right of way and what action they should take to prevent a collision, as specified by the IRPCS ColRegs. Every rule and definition is available at the touch of a finger, each scenario expertly drawn for quick reference.

Why are the ColRegs so hard to learn? 

They are complex and can take years to learn properly, so begin as soon as you can. Finding every opportunity for practice and revision can help. That’s why having the ColRegs Nav Lights and ColRegs Rules of the Road apps on your smartphone, tablet or other mobile device can be helpful. Particularly for the “dead time” you can spend sitting on a platform or commuter train, or in a doctor’s surgery; all opportunities when you could be revising the rules of the road at sea, and checking and testing your ColRegs knowledge on your app. Users of our ColRegs apps have often alluded to these reasons for liking the apps in their endorsements and feedback.

What are Yachtmaster examiners looking for? 

Your accuracy in interpreting and applying the Colregs are the examiners best indication of your knowledge and awareness of your responsibilities, and your ability to conduct safe passage when things get hot and you’re close to another vessel. So you need to do everything you can to improve your knowledge of the regulations, an show more than just a basic understanding of the rules. So, be focused on understanding the ColRegs and fully applying yourself to learning and applying them in your seamanship.

Learning and practice 

The Yachtmaster course is designed to formalise what you have experienced and combine it with what you have studied. That’s as true for practical boat handling as it is for navigation, so don’t wait until the week before your exam to brush up on the ColRegs, or to learn to use a compass and charts.

What is the mark of good Yachtmaster? 

Finally, it is worth remembering that what often separates a good skipper from a bad one is not just having the skill to overcome risk, but exercising the judgment to avoid risk altogether. This comes with experience as well as training, you simply never stop learning. So, if you pass the exam and become a ‘Master of Yachts’ or ‘Yachtmaster,’ remember the real learning has just begun. And remember to take your ColRegs Nav Lights and Rule of the Road at Sea apps with you, just in case you need to revise the

Distress flares – which flare, how & when to use?

How to use distress flares at sea Flares should be kept in a waterproof container in an easily accessible location such as a...

You Need To Understand The IRPCS ColRegs To Pass Your Yachtmaster, Master of Yachts and Coxswain Certificate of Competence

IRPCS ColRegs Rules of the Road at Sea and Yachtmaster Learning, understanding and remembering the International Regulations...

Boatyard Health and Safety

Boat storage facilities are potentially hazardous environments and it is the responsibility of both boat owners and boatyards to ensure that the...

Essential Knots: Figure of eight

Essential Knots: Figure of eight Use: Stopper knot, prevents a rope from being pulled through a hole e.g. through a block or...

ColRegs when sailing single handed

  Don’t neglect the Colregs when sailing single handed Sailing single-handed represents several challenges for skippers, not least how to...

Essential Knots: Round turn and two half hitches

Essential Knots: Round turn and two half hitches Use: Tying a rope to a pole or a ring. Step 1. Pass the end around the object. Step 2....

Avoiding collisions at sea – how to stay safe on the water

Boats have many blind spots, including the headsails of sailing boats. Always keep a lookout, stay safe and remember that...

Boat electrics and essential checklist

Essential boat electrics Small yachts and power boats have 12-volt DC (direct current) systems, although larger vessels will have...

Learn ColRegs: Traffic Separation Schemes

Learn ColRegs Rule 10: Traffic Separation Schemes. (c) A vessel shall, so far as practicable, avoid crossing traffic lanes...

Fire prevention on boats

  Fire prevention on boats - common causes of fire: • Smoking below decks • Galley cookers • Build-up of butane or...

Sector lights, directional lights, leading lights – how do they differ?

Sector lights, directional lights and leading lights guide vessels safely through hazardous waters or narrow channels at...

Peer to Peer yacht charter – How can you monetize your boat?

There is a growing trend in peer to peer yacht charter. How does it work? People already rent rooms, cars and bikes from one...

Cleaning & polishing painted topsides

The gelcoat topsides of a GRP boat can be pampered and restored to their former glory relatively easily when it is ashore. Gelcoat is only a very thin outer layer of the hull, often less than 1mm thick, so you should avoid cleaning it with highly abrasive cleaners, or an-ything that could potentially damage its surface.

Navigation safety: a quick-reference mobile app to learn the ColRegs NavLights and Shapes

 Safety at SeaSafety at sea will always remains a topical and important subject that will no doubt dominate the syllabuses of nautical...

Man Overboard Drill

How to respond to crew overboard under sail • Keep the MOB in sight • Tack into the heave-to position, do not adjust the...

Passage planning and pilotage

Passage planning and pilotage help skippers navigate safely from one port to another. A passage plan takes into account all...

Cleaning & polishing gelcoat topsides

The gelcoat topsides of a GRP boat can be pampered and restored to their former glory relatively easily when it is ashore. Gelcoat is only a very thin outer layer of the hull, often less than 1mm thick, so you should avoid cleaning it with highly abrasive cleaners, or an-ything that could potentially damage its surface.

Antifouling for leisure boats – Part 4

Applying antifouling. Antifouling is best applied on a dry, calm day. It is best to apply the antifouling in the middle of the day to ensure the hull is dry and as warm as possible.

Weather forecasting tips

Most weather forecasts present a general picture of what to expect in your area over a given period of time. We rely on such...

How to predict wind direction and strength by reading a weather chart

Weather charts, also known as surface pressure or synoptic charts, contain a lot of information that helps weather...

Top 5 Reasons Why an Inflatable SUP Should Be Your Next Yacht Accessory

In this article, inflatable paddle board expert Jason Paul gives the top 5 reasons why an inflatable SUP should be your next...

Rewiring a boat – overcoming the challenges involved

Skippers need to have a basic knowledge of boat electrics, to avoid potential problems and to be able to solve them when...

Steel hull maintenance

A steel boat owner’s biggest enemy is corrosion. You don’t have to worry about osmosis or rotting timbers, instead rust is the number one issue that will keep you awake at night.

Hull inspection – the annual checks

With the boat ashore for the winter it is time to do a hull inspection - the annual checks. Are there any scratches and chips in the...

Competent crew skills: arriving and leaving a berth

Skilled boat handling is needed when entering or leaving harbour. Crew tasks include preparing the mooring lines and fenders...