||Klaas van Dokkum
||Dokmar Maritime Publishers
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Learning the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (Colregs) will not in general present the nautical student with any insuperable problems. After passing several tests and exams the officer-to-be has the impression that the Colregs and the manoeuvres for giving way hold no secrets from him. The study of other nautical subjects often asks for more effort than is needed for mastering the Colregs. His first solo watch, taking place on an empty ocean, seems to corroborate this belief. Busy channels, however, demand a quite different approach to applying the Rules. Standard situations as described in the Colregs prove to be far less common than expected. Most situations are slightly different from those he has learned and they are not always so clearly related to a certain Rule. A lot of experience is needed to be able to interpret all these situations, especially at night when matching radar images with the real world calls for quite some effort and expertise. Self-reliance is a part of the job for a watch-keeping officer. This has a negative as well as a positive side. There is a real danger that one will not notice that the Colregs have been learned wrongly and are consequently falsely applied or interpreted. Sometimes an officer will not be receptive to corrections. A compulsory refresher course every 5 years or so might be a good remedy...