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 Yachtmaster, Coxswain 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