Two vessels: left – “I am operating astern propulsion”; right – any type of fishing vessel.
Rule 34 – Maneuvering and Warning Signals
(a) When vessels are in sight of one another, a power-driven vessel underway, when maneuvering as authorized or required by these Rules, shall indicate that maneuver by the following signals on her whistle:
(i) one short blast to mean “I am altering my course to starboard”;
(ii) two short blasts to mean “I am altering my course to port”;
(iii) three short blasts to mean “I am operating astern propulsion “.
(b) Any vessel may supplement the whistle signals prescribed in paragraph (a) of this Rule by light signals, repeated as appropriate, while the maneuver is being carried out:
(i) these signals shall have the following significance:
one flash to mean “I am altering my course to starboard”;
two flashes to mean “I am altering my course to port”;
three flashes to mean “I am operating astern propulsion”.
(ii) the duration of each flash shall be about one second, the interval between flashes shall be about one second, and the interval between successive signals shall not be less than ten seconds.
(iii) the light used for this signal shall, if fitted, be an all-round white light, visible at a minimum range of 5 miles, and shall comply with the provisions of Annex I to these Regulations.
(c) When in sight of one another in a narrow channel or fairway:
(i) a vessel intending to overtake another shall in compliance with Rule 9 (e)(i) indicate her intention by the following signals on her whistle:
two prolonged blasts followed by one short blast to mean “I intend to overtake you on your starboard side”
two prolonged blasts followed by two short blasts to mean “I intend to overtake you on your port side”
(ii) the vessel about to be overtaken when acting in accordance with 9(e)(i) shall indicate her agreement by the following signal on her whistle:
one prolonged, one short, one prolonged and one short blast, in that order.
(d) When vessels in sight of one another are approaching each other and from any cause either vessel fails to understand the intentions or actions of the other, or is in doubt whether sufficient action is being taken by the other to avoid collision, the vessel in doubt shall immediately indicate such doubt by giving at least five short and rapid blasts on the whistle. Such signal may be supplemented by at least five short and rapid flashes.
(e) A vessel nearing a bend or an area of a channel or fairway where other vessels may be obscured by an intervening obstruction shall sound one prolonged blast. Such signal shall be answered with a prolonged blast by any approaching vessel that may be within hearing around the bend or behind the intervening obstruction.
(f) If whistles are fitted on a vessel at a distance apart of more than 100 meters, one whistle only shall be used for giving maneuvering and warning signals.