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Rules of the road at sea for small-scale fishers


FAO’s e-learning academy has added a new course about the traffic rules at sea. It’s specially made for small-scale fishers, but useful for anyone who goes to sea.

Do you know?

  • The difference between Port and Starboard, and when you have right of way?
  • The meaning of this   sign?
  • What to do when you hear 5 short blasts of the horn of another vessel?


  • How you identify different vessels at night?
  • What this  vessel  is doing at night at sea?

This course introduces you to the maritime traffic rules that small-scale fishers in coastal and inland waters should know about. It provides guidance on actions to take in day-to-day traffic situations at sea, during daylight and at night.  Increasing your knowledge and understanding of the maritime traffic rules will help to reduce accidents at sea. Application of the maritime traffic rules is an important safety measure at sea.

The course takes about 2 hours to complete. At the end there is a test. If you pass it, then you’ll get a beautiful digital badge.

You can access the course directly at: https://elearning.fao.org/course/view.php?id=704  

Other interesting courses of the elearning academy you can find here: https://elearning.fao.org

During the course you will learn about:

    • 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.

This “Rules of the road at sea for small-scale fishers” course was developed together with the FISH Safety Foundation: https://www.fishsafety.org/

Its preparation was supported by the Swedish Government funded FAO Trust Fund project “Creating an enabling environment for securing sustainable small-scale fisheries”.

For more information, please contact: [email protected]