Select Page
Top Ten Tips For Learning The ColRegs Boating Rules Of The Road

Top Ten Tips For Learning The ColRegs Boating Rules Of The Road

Colregs Boating Rules Of The Road

Skippers struggle to learn and remember the ColRegs

Yachtmaster and Day Skipper course instructors will tell you that skippers often struggle to learn and remember the collision rules, many finding it specially difficult to memorise the navigation lights rules.
And if that weren’t tough enough, examiners mark down heavily on poor knowledge and lack of application of the navigation rules.

So, what are the best techniques for learning the ColRegs and Nav Lights?

During the time we were developing our series of apps we talked to skippers, trainees and instructors and discovered a number of helpful techniques that people like to use to help them learn or instruct the Colregs and navigation lights and rules. Here are the recurring ones:

  1. By rote: which means going over them time and again, until they sink in. (no pun intended!)
  2. By referring to a book or almanac (see recommendations for further reading below)
  3. By flicking through flash cards (available in chandleries)
  4. By inventing mnemonics and turning the rules into a rhyme or ditty (see an example below)
  5. By referring to an authoritative web site like the RNLI  or USCG Aux
  6. By listening to a CD or audio (MP3)
  7. By reversing the role of learner and becoming teacher, and instructing someone who does not know the rules (It’s surprising just how much more you remember when you have to teach!)
  8. By writing simplified rules in your own prose (see example below, but beware! This might make the examiner smile, but he / she will likely fail you!)
  9. By investing in a self-paced multimedia pack (similar to the kit used in training centers)

ColRegs Learning Method Number 10 – banish “dead time”! 

Top Ten Tips For Learning The ColRegs Boating Rules Of The Road

Top Ten Tips For Learning The ColRegs Boating Rules Of The Road

Technique number 10 was barely mentioned until we spotted a gap and set about creating graphically-led self-help learning materials for people to use on their mobile devices (smart phones, iPods, tablets etc..) Working closely with professionals we co-created a series of apps aimed at complimenting and enhancing popular learning styles and techniques.

When speaking to seafarers of all sorts we discovered a genuine need for an affordable and convenient ColRegs designed specifically for the small screen and to help people to learn and revise the navigation and boating rules “on-the-go” whilst they were on their commuter journeys and during other “dead time” in their daily routine.

One advantage we saw when creating a series of apps covering Nav Lights, ColRegs, Rules of the Road and IALA Buoys and Lights, was that the information we provided could be created and distributed without being a burden on users who like to travel light and unhampered. With the information neatly stowed away but permanently accesible on their favourite device for instant reference, at sea or on land, we knew we were providing something of real value. That’s now proven with thousands of satisfied and loyal users in over 45 countries.

Praise for ColRegs Nav Lights & Shapes and ColRegs Rules Of The Road 

Here are a few of the comments users of our apps have mentioned, after purchasing and using the ColRegs apps

“Very easy to use, wish I’d had this when I was doing day skipper!”

“We run an RYA Training centre and these apps are a great aide memoire
for our students.”

“I have just downloaded and am using ColRegs Rules of the Road app, a
brilliant training and reference device.”

“I really like the colregs part of it and the way you have kept it
completely in line with the IRPCS.”

” Beautifully produced and very simple to use, a cool learning tool”

” Good app for anyone to use, much easier than flip cards”

Even though our apps cost as little as £1.99 or $2.99 (the price of a cup of coffee) we know that users like to see what they are getting before they purchase, and that’s why we always produce a clear video to demonstrate the contents of our apps

Click to view our demo of ColRegs: Rules Of The Road

Click to view our demo of ColRegs: Nav Lights & Shapes

What methods do YOU recommend for learning and remembering the ColRegs? 

—————— examples of mnemonics and writing the ColRegs in your own prose ———-

Example of rhyme or ditty to memorise the ColRegs:

If upon your port is seen a boats light of green
There’s now’t for you to do
since green to port keeps clear of you
If to starboard red appears it is your duty to keep clear
if ahead both green and red
turn to starboard and show YOUR red etc …..

An example of how you might rewrite the ColRegs:

If anything hits you from your right side: you pay
If anyone hits you on your left side: they pay.
Hit or hinder anything in front, and you pay etc….

Further Reading:

A Seaman’s Guide to the Rule of the Road: Morgans Technical Books
Rules of the Road Morgans Technical Books

Steel and Aluminium Hulls

The two metals used for hull construction are steel and aluminium. These are both very strong materials and will last a long time as long as they are cared for, which primarily means protecting steel boats from rust and aluminium boats from electrolytic action.

Boat maintenance log

Keeping a boat maintenance log is an ideal way of reminding owners what needs to be done to a boat and when. Read on for some tips,...

A five day sailing cruise of the Solent, UK

Welcome to our virtual Solent sailing cruise – a five day sail in the south of England from Bosham Quay in Chichester...

How to Avoid Collisions At Sea With The ColRegs

      Every Skipper Needs Accurate Knowledge of the IRPCS ColRegs As a responsible skipper it is every skipper’s duty to learn and apply the IRPCS...

Essential yacht tender safety for skippers and crew

Essential yacht tender safety - the dangers inherent in using a dinghy to get ashore from a moored or anchored yacht are all...

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.

Anchoring – getting it right is not always straightforward

If you can set an anchor correctly with confidence and know your boat will be safe in a secure anchorage, then you can rest...

ColRegs Nav Lights & Shapes, Rules Of The Road and IALA Buoys Apps

ColRegs Nav Lights & Shapes, Rules Of The Road and IALA Buoys Apps Make Learning Rules on iPhone, iPad, iPod and Android...

Winch Servicing

It is not essential to service the winches when a boat is ashore, but if time allows I prefer to do this maintenance job when the boat...

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...

Keel design – options to consider when choosing a yacht

Keel design is constantly evolving and nowhere is this more apparent than in modern racing yachts such as the Imoca Open 60...

Pleasure craft safety equipment recommendations

Safety equipment is an important part of boat preparation and it is advisable for all pleasure craft skippers to check their vessel is...

ColRegs Rule 14 – Head-on Situation

  ColRegs Rule 14: Head-on Situation (a) When two power-driven vessels are meeting on reciprocal or nearly reciprocal...

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...

Boating emergency – how to broadcast a MAYDAY emergency call

How to broadcast a MAYDAY emergency call   How to broadcast a MAYDAY emergency call if a vessel or person is in grave...

Safety Briefings – leave nothing to chance

Before giving your crew a safety briefing, it is worth considering the specific circumstances of the planned trip, the...

Getting a tow for your sail or power boat at sea or on inland waterways

FREE tips from the Safe Skipper App for iPhone/iPad/Android: Getting a tow for your sail or power boat Plan how to secure a...

Know your Navlights & Shapes – essential for all skippers

Know your Navlights & Shapes International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (ColRegs) Anyone who is...

Antifouling for leisure boats – Part 3

Antifouling is one of the least pleasant boat maintenance jobs to do, but it has to be done. The very worst job of all is removing the old antifouling as this can get seriously messy and is very hard work.

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...

Points of Sailing

The course on which a boat is sailing can be described by its angle to the wind, not to be confused with its compass...

ColRegs – avoiding collisions at sea

ColRegs - avoiding collisions at sea ColRegs Rule 8: Action to avoid collision (a) Any action taken to avoid collision shall...

Boat Improvements

My Boat - practical improvements Author - Mike Rossiter Most boat owners who have had their craft for any length of time...

Gybing a sailing boat

Gybing is the sailing manoeuvre used to change a boat's direction through a following wind. As with the tacking manoeuvre,...

Understanding tides

If you are used to sailing in tidal waters, you will know that tides can be both a benefit and a hindrance to the sailor. In many ways,...