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Federal Waterway Regulations

The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) is the codification of the general and permanent rules published in the Federal Register by the executive departments and agencies of the Federal Government.

The Electronic Code of Federal Regulations (e-CFR) is a current, daily updated version of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). It is not an official legal edition of the CFR. The e-CFR is an unofficial editorial compilation of CFR material and Federal Register amendments.

Below you'll find links to e-CFR for Title 33 (Navigation and Navigable Waters).

Please note that these Federal waterway regulations do not encompass all rules that may impact the navigation of your vessel.

Go back to the Boating Rules and Regulations homepage for a comprehensive guide to rules and regulations in the U.S.

Other sections of the Code of Federal Regulations which are of interest to boaters are:

All of Title 33 - Navigation and Navigable Waters
Listing By Subject:

Coast Guard Jurisdiction

  • 33 CFR 2 - Defines terms the Coast Guard uses in regulations, policies, and procedures, to determine whether it has jurisdiction on certain waters in cases where specific jurisdictional definitions are not otherwise provided. (Picture)

Coast Guard Organization

  • 33 CFR 3 - Coast Guard Areas, Districts, Marine Inspection Zones, and Captain of the Port Zones.  Describes the jurisdiction boundaries of each Coast Guard Area, District, Marine Inspection Zone (MIZ), and Captain of the Port (COTP) Zone.

Protection and Security of Vessels, Harbors, and Waterfront Facilities

  • 33 CFR 6 - Defines and provides general provisions.

COLREGS (International Navigation Rules)

Inland Navigation Rules

  • 33 CFR 84 - Annex I: Positioning and technical details of lights and shapes
  • 33 CFR 85 - Annex II: Additional signals for fishing vessels fishing in close proximity
  • 33 CFR 86 - Annex III: Technical details of sound signal appliances
  • 33 CFR 87 - Annex IV: Distress signals
  • 33 CFR 88 - Annex V: Pilot Rules
  • 33 CFR 90 - Inland Navigation Rules: Interpretive Rules

Regattas and Marine Parades

  • 33 CFR 100 - Safety of Life on Navigable Waters. Provides effective control over regattas and marine parades conducted on the navigable waters of the United States so as to insure safety of life in the regatta or marine parade area.



Safety Zones

  • 33 CFR 147 - Regulations adopted for safety zones may extend to the prevention or control of specific activities and access by vessels or persons, and include measures to protect the living resources of the sea from harmful agents.


  • 33 CFR 157 - Rules for the Protection of the Marine Environment relating to Tank Vessels Carrying Oil in Bulk.

Ports and Waterways Safety

Boating Safety

  • 33 CFR 177 - Correction of Especially Hazardous Conditions

US Army Corps of Engineers - Navigation Regulations

  • 33 CFR 207 - Regulations regarding locks on US Navigable Waterways.

Seaway Regulations And Rules

  • 33 CFR 401 - These regulations control the equipment and operation of vessels using the St. Lawrence Seaway, a set of channels and locks that connects the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean.

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