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 Depending on your location different rules apply:

Inland Navigation Rules
International Navigation Rules

"Study of the rules is a rewarding pastime, practical and captivating. They constitute a remarkable document with an immense assigned task - the prevention of collisions between a vast array of vessels in a vast array of circumstances: vessels barely visible at 100 yards to vessels the size of horizontal skyscrapers; drifting without power or traveling at 30 knots or more; following unmarked lanes or crisscrossing open waters offering nothing more than an educated guess as to their intended course; in all conditions of weather, clear or fog, calm or storm; and often with no common language between their drivers.

"But despite this enormous assignment, they do the job. Collisions can always be traced to at least one violation of the Rules. The key to avoiding further proof of this is a thorough understanding of the Rules and how to apply them, including the rules on what to do if an approaching vessel does not obey the rules."
- David Burch

"A collision at sea will ruin your whole day."
- Anonymous

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