Collision Prevention Rules

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The Collision Prevention Regulations ( KVR ) - officially "International Regulations of 1972 for the Prevention of Collisions at Sea" - represent international maritime traffic law . They are the basic legal framework for regulating the safety and ease of traffic on the high seas and the associated waters. The KVR serve to avoid ship collisions. They go back to the International Naval Conference of 1889 and were adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in 1972 . They apply to all ships, including pleasure craft. The original title is: Convention on the international regulations for preventing collisions at sea (COLREGs) .

On German coastal waterways and certain of Lake navigate busy waterways like the Elbe , Weser and Kiel Canal that are in addition präzisierend German Traffic Regulations (SeeSchStrO) or Schifffahrtsordnung Ems estuary (EmsSchO). Nevertheless, the KVR are the basic rules of maritime shipping.

The KVR contain the following areas:

  • Part A: General (Rules 1–3, including areas of application, responsibility and general definitions).
  • Part B: Avoidance and driving rules (rules 4–19, including evasive action, staying on course, maneuvers to avoid accidents, behavior in the fairway, overtaking, etc.).
  • Part C: light guide and signal body (rules 20-31, and a lights, the navigation lights and shapes..).
  • Part D: Sound and light signals (Rules 32–37, including presentation of sound signals, sound signal devices).
  • Part E: Exemptions (Rule 38)

The position lights are used to signal the direction of travel and position . In the case of a collision course, the course holder can drive the maneuver of the penultimate moment , but must still expect the person obliged to avoid the maneuver and must then try the maneuver of the last moment to avoid a collision in any case or at least to keep the damage to a minimum.

Legal basis


In Germany , especially in the German territorial sea and on ships that are entitled to fly the federal flag , the KVR are valid through the regulation on the international rules of 1972 for the prevention of collisions at sea of June 13, 1977 ( Federal Law Gazette I p. 813 ), which was last amended by Article 2 of the Ordinance of January 15, 2012 ( Federal Law Gazette I p. 112 ).


The legal regulation regarding encounters between watercraft is regulated in the waterway traffic regulations.


As a landlocked country, Switzerland has no connection to the sea and therefore no area in which the KVR would apply directly. The Inland Shipping Ordinance and the Lake Constance Shipping Ordinance , which are valid on the inland lakes of Switzerland and the border waters, largely take over the content of the KVR. The KVR apply without restriction to ships flying the Swiss flag at sea.

Web links

Wikisource: Shipping topic  - Sources and full texts