Rule 3, General Definitions
(a) International and Inland - The word “vessel” includes every description of water craft, including non-displacement craft and seaplanes, used or capable of being used as a mean of transportation on water.
(b) International and Inland – The term “power driven vessel” means any vessel propelled by machinery.
(c) International and Inland – The term “sailing vessel” means any vessel under sail provided that propelling machinery, if fitted, is not being used.
(d) International and Inland – The term “vessel engaged in fishing” means any vessel fishing with nets, lines, trawls, or other fishing apparatus which restricts maneuverability, but does not include a vessel fishing with trolling lines or other fishing apparatus which do not restrict maneuverability.
(e) International and Inland – The word “seaplane” includes any aircraft designed to maneuver on the water.
(f) International and Inland – The term “not under command” means which through some exceptional circumstance is unable to maneuver as required by these Rules and therefore unable to keep out of the way of another vessel.
(g) International and Inland – The term “vessel restricted in her ability to maneuver” means any vessel which from the nature of her work is restricted in her ability to maneuver as required by the Rules and therefore unable to keep out of the way of another vessel. Inland – (additional language) vessels restricted in their ability to maneuver include, but are not limited to-
(i) A vessel engaged in laying, servicing, or picking up a navigation mark, submarine cable, or pipeline.
(ii) A vessel engaged in dredging, surveying, or underwater operations.
(iii) A vessel engaged in replenishment or transferring persons, provisions, or cargo while underway.
(iv) A vessel engaged in the launching or recovery of aircraft;
(v) A vessel engaged in mine-clearance operations; and
(vi) A vessel engaged in a towing operation such as severely restricts the towing vessel and her tow in their ability to deviate from their course.
(i) International – The term “constrained by her draft” means a power driven vessel which, because of her draft in relation to the available depth and width of navigable water is severely restricted in her ability to deviate from the course she is following.
(j) International and (h) Inland – The word “underway” means that a vessel is not at anchor, or made fast to shore, or aground.
(k) International and (i) Inland – The words “length” and “breadth” of a vessel means her length overall and greatest breadth.
(l) International and (j) Inland – Vessels deemed to be in sight of one another only when one can be observed visually from the other.
(m) International and (k) Inland – The term “restricted visibility” means any condition in which visibility is restricted by fog, mist, falling snow, heavy rainstorms, sand storms, or any other similar causes.
(l) Inland – “Western Rivers” means the Mississippi River, its tributaries, South, and Southwest Pass, to the navigational demarcation lines dividing the high seas from harbors, rivers, and other inland of the waters of the United States.
(m) Inland – “Great Lakes” means the Great Lakes and their connecting and tributary waters including……
(n) Inland – “Secretary” means the Secretary of the department which the Coast Guard is operating.
(o) Inland – “Inland Waters” means the navigable waters of the United States shoreward of the navigational demarcation lines dividing the high seas from harbors, rivers, and other inland waters of the United States and the waters of the Great Lake on the United States side of the International Boundary (with Canada).
(p) Inland – “Inland Rules” or “Rules” means the Inland Navigational Rules and the annexes thereto, which govern the conduct of vessels and specify the lights, shapes, and sound signals that apply on inland waters, and
(q) Inland – “International Regulations” means the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea 1972, including annexes currently in force for the United States.
• Vessels shall be deemed to be in sight of one another only when one can be visually observed from the other. The word “visible” even means “visible” on a dark night with a clear atmosphere.
• Signals and or actions under this Rule must not be given or taken for a vessel which has been detected only by radar but has not been visually sighted.
• Overall length and breadth have replaced the term “tons” and no longer used in the Rules.
• Vessels not under command - vessels which have had a mechanical breakdown of machinery or which have lost a propeller or rudder, are clear examples.
• Vessels have been held by the courts to be at anchor so long as the anchor is down and holding. When weighing anchor a vessels continues to be at anchor until the anchor is out of the bottom.
• The term “engaged in fishing” means fishing with nets, lines, or trawls but does not include fishing with trolling lines.
• Western Rivers only applies to the Mississippi and its tributaries, not the Columbia River where shoreward of the COLREG demarcation line Inland Rules shall apply.