PWC - Teaching rules of the road:

  1. Teach IRPCS in 'theory' (afloat or ashore) with the use of a whiteboard/teaching aids/models.
  2. Follow up with a practical session in order to meet the 'CAN' aspect of the syllabus

Knowledge Of: 

Sound Signals



  • Demonstrate practical application of the rules of the road

2022 RYA Update:

As a result of the RIB Tickler / PWC collision incident (see MAIB report below)

The following points should now be discussed on all RYA Powerboat Level 2 and PWCP courses:

Safety points: 

  • Shoulder checks and general awareness
  • Cruising in Company 
  • Wake jumping - where NOT to do 
  • Letting a 'newbie' take the helm - include the essentials: killcord, controls, communications, shoulder checks, sweeping turns. 
2022-3-RibTickler_Report-incAnnex (1).pd
Adobe Acrobat Document 4.3 MB

Practical rules of the road (IRPCS) session briefing:

AIM: Students rider around box course and instructor 'presents' collision situations in order for students to show correct (early and obvious) actions to take. 



- Student session Aims:- to implement the correct course of action when presented with an IRPCS situation.  

- Ask your student PW's to ride around the box course at displacement speed (i.e. 5-7 knots) maximum (it is VERY important that they do not travel at any speed) with 1 leg of the box course between them and rider ahead.

- Once your student is traveling comfortable around at a speed you deem safe and reasonable and is definitely displacement then you are going to integrate yourself into the box course. Your aim whilst there is to create IRPCS situations:- 

  • You will place yourself at a reasonable distance in front of your student and travel at 2-3 knots so that in order to pass you they must overtake. 
  • You will travel towards them 'head on' and they must take the correct action i.e. turning to starboard to go around you and you must turn to starboard also
  • You will create crossing situations in order for them to carry out the correct action etc. 

- Each time they achieve the goal and take the right action give them a thumbs up so they know they are doing well. If they take the wrong action then you now see the importance of why you do this at such slow speed and why you are the one who is the opposing PWC and not another of your students i.e. you have the ability and foresight to manoeuvere clear of the situation. 

- When you finish all the actions, head back to the rest of the group and 'quiz them' on what they saw and what actions were performed to keep them involved. 

- Repeat the session above to ensure each of your students to have a go. 

Example Practical Session:

IRPCS Course Layout:

PWC ride around box in anti-clockwise direction at displacement speed. Minimum of 1 leg of the box between each PWC

Crossing Situation

Student and instructor to take correct early and obvious actions i.e. turning to starboard in order to pass behind the instructor. 

Head On Situation

Student and instructor to take correct early and obvious actions i.e. turning to starboard in order to pass port to port.


Overtaking Situation

Student to take correct early and obvious actions in order to overtake. Instructor to maintain course at slow speed. 

Obviously student can pass either side, but in this instance the 'safer' side (shown in image) could be deemed as passing outside of the box. 

Rules of the road / COLREGS teaching aids

Brush up your knowledge of IRPCS / Rules of the road: