Here’s rule 2:
(a)Nothing in these Rules shall exonerate any vessel, or the owner, master or crew thereof, from the consequences of any neglect to comply with these Rules or of the neglect of any precaution which may be required by the ordinary practice of seamen, or by the special circumstances of the case.
(b) In construing and complying with these Rules due regard shall be had to all dangers of navigation and collision and to any special circumstances, including the limitations of the vessels involved, which may make a departure from these Rules necessary to avoid immediate danger.
Rule 2 responsibility is a vital rule that is often misunderstood, it’s your responsibility!
One thing that makes Rule 2 different from all the other rules is that it doesn’t tell you what to do or when you should do it. Instead, it highlights the fact that you’re 100% responsible for your own actions.
You’re the one who has to decide on what to do in order to comply with the collision regulations. Your vessel should have a safety management system which may outline when you should call the master for assistance or what to do if the visibility drops. It’s this rule that makes you responsible to your crew and the vessels that are around you.
It’s your responsibility to not only follow these rules but to do everything necessary to avoid the risk of collision and the dangers of navigation. This rule dictates that you both comply with the rules and the ordinary practice of seamen. Basically, use your common sense.
A common mistake with part (b) is that it only allows you to depart from the rules if it is the only way to avoid immediate danger. Remember, proper application of the COLREGs will keep you out of danger. This rule can’t be used as justification for not following the rules properly.
It’s written as simply as possible to ensure people understand it. Rule 2 does not allow for excuses. So to summarise, it’s always your responsibility to avoid collision and comply with the rules.
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