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International regulations for preventing collisions at sea are a set of statutes designed to promote navigational safety. They provide the rules to be followed by ships and other vessels at sea. Although rules for navigating vessels inland may differ, the international rules specify that they should be as closely in line with the international rules as possible. The International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea were adopted as a Convention of the International Maritime Organization on 20 October 1972 and entered into force on 15 July 1977. It provides in detail the requirements for navigation lights, day shapes, steering and sailing rules, sound signals in good and restricted visibility condition, and distress signals, among other things.
This is also known as rules of road or 72 COLREGS and are codified at 33 USCS § 1602.