Topic outline

This course introduces you to the maritime traffic rules that small-scale fishers in coastal and inland waters should know about. This “Rules of the road at sea” course provides guidance on actions to take in day-to-day traffic situations at sea, during daylight and at night.  

Working in the fisheries sector is globally one of the most dangerous jobs, with an estimated 32 thousand fatalities annually and hundreds of thousands of accidents and injuries of crew on board of fishing vessels. Most of these accidents happen on board of small-scale fishing vessels, frequently resulting in disability and death among fishers.  

Increasing knowledge and understanding of the maritime traffic rules will help to reduce accidents. Application of the maritime traffic rules is an important safety measure at sea.


This e-learning course is primarily aimed at small-scale fishers with vessels that are smaller than 12 metres in length in developing countries. The course is also of use to maritime-, safety- and fisheries authorities, as well as fisherfolk organizations, in their training programmes for fishers on safety at sea.

  • IMO COLREGs and FAO/IMO/ILO fishing safety codes  
  • The right of way in normal visibility and restricted visibility situations 
  • Actions to be taken for altering course and passing at a safe distance 
  • How to avoid collision at sea 
  • Day-time and night-time vessel recognition 
  • Channel markers used in various regions and the main buoys. 

The course consists of the following lessons ranging from 15 to 40 minutes duration each:  

  • Lesson 1: Rules of the Road - General considerations 
  • Lesson 2: Vessels in Sight of One Another 
  • Lesson 3: Day-time Vessel Recognition: Shapes 
  • Lesson 4: Night-time Vessel Recognition: Lights 
  • Lesson 5: Navigation Light Combinations  
  • Lesson 6: Channel Markers and Buoys  

This course runs on the latest versions of the major browsers, such as Chrome, Safari, Edge and Firefox. 

Digital certification

This course offers certification. You will get your digital badge upon passing a final exam after completing the course and achieving a grade of at least 75%. Please click on the button below to complete the exam, or refer to our Certification section to learn more.

The final evaluation exam can be accessed from inside the course. The pass grade is 70%.

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    • Partners

      FISH Safety Foundation (FSF)