#COLREGs – The Annexes

Annex I

Annex I is about the proper positioning of lights.  Again, it only applies to vessels in excess of 20 meters (~66 feet) but what is important to know is that things like the vertical spacing in the positioning of lights (for example, like delineating a fishing vessel are set specifically so you don’t get confused by the bane of all skippers at night – shore lights… The Annex goes on to specify horizontal spacing in the position of lights as well as the specific sizes of the day shapes that commercial vessel use when it isn’t night time.


Annex II

While there are 14 separate sections to Annex I, Annex II reserves itself for additional signals for fishing vessels fishing in close proximity – a familiar issue even if we aren’t all commercial fishermen…  In keeping with Annex I, it specifies what lights to use when shooting nets, hauling nets or trying to unfoul them from the bottom..!


Annex III

Once you’ve set the technical specs for lights and shapes, there aren’t many things left.  One thing for sure is Sound Signal “Appliances”, i.e., your whistle, bell or gong.  And, here, the exemption size isn’t 20 meters (~66 feet), it is 12 meters (~39 feet.)  That starts to get into “bay-sized” boats.  The Annex specifies frequency, intensity and range that it is hearable over.  Now, how are you supposed to measure that?  You don’t.  You install devices that are certified by the manufacturer that it meets or exceeds USCG standards…


Annex IV

Another technical specification is distress signals.  Rule 36 and Rule 37 tie directly into this Annex.  It specifies what distress signals are and what they are not…


Annex V

Here is one where there is very little chance anybody reading this will care about…  It is for Pilots – not the kind that fly planes but the kind that guide/assist large vessels into harbors.  And this Annex refers only to situations with respect to the Inland Rules…