Regulation 22 - Navigation Bridge Visibility


  • Bridge design to minimum specifications ensuring good visibility.
  • Specifications are for ships of 55m or more in length built on or after 1 July 1998.
  • Older ships to meet specifications as closely as possible but no structural alterations needed.
  • Administrations' discretion for ships of unconventional design.
Regulation 22

Ships of not less than 55 m in length, as defined in regulation 2.4, constructed on or after 1 July 1998, shall meet the following requirements:

1.1 The view of the sea surface from the conning position shall not be obscured by more than two ship lengths, or 500 m, whichever is the less, forward of the bow to 10° on either side under all conditions of draught, trim and deck cargo;
1.2 No blind sector caused by cargo, cargo gear or other obstructions outside of the wheelhouse forward of the beam which obstructs the view of the sea surface as seen from the conning position, shall exceed 10°. The total arc of blind sectors shall not exceed 20°. The clear sectors between blind sectors shall be at least 5°. However, in the view described in .1, each individual blind sector shall not exceed 5°;
1.3 The horizontal field of vision from the conning position shall extend over an arc of not less than 225°, that is from right ahead to not less than 22.5°, abaft the beam on either side of the ship;
1.4 From each bridge wing the horizontal field of vision shall extend over an arc at least 225°, that is from at least 45° on the opposite bow through right ahead and then from right ahead to right astern through 180° on the same side of the ship;
1.5 From the main steering position the horizontal field of vision shall extend over an arc from right ahead to at least 60° on each side of the ship;
1.6 The ship's side shall be visible from the bridge wing;
1.7 The height of the lower edge of the navigation bridge front windows above the bridge deck shall be kept as low as possible. In no case shall the lower edge present an obstruction to the forward view as described in this regulation;
1.8 The upper edge of the navigation bridge front windows shall allow a forward view of the horizon, for a person with a height of eye of 1,800 mm above the bridge deck at the conning position, when the ship is pitching in heavy seas. The Administration, if satisfied that a 1,800 mm height of eye is unreasonable and impractical, may allow reduction of the height of eye but not less than 1,600 mm;
1.9 Windows shall meet the following requirements:
1.9.1 To help avoid reflections, the bridge front windows shall be inclined from the vertical plane top out, at an angle of not less than 10° and not more than 25°.
1.9.2 Framing between navigation bridge windows shall be kept to a minimum and not be installed immediately forward of any work station.
1.9.3 Polarised and tinted windows shall not be fitted.
1.9.4 A clear view through at least two of the navigation bridge front windows and, depending on the bridge configuration, an additional number of clear-view windows shall be provided at all times, regardless of weather conditions.
2. Ships constructed before 1 July 1998 shall, where practicable, meet the requirements of paragraphs 1.1 and 1.2. However, structural alterations or additional equipment need not be required.
3. On ships of unconventional design which, in the opinion of the Administration, cannot comply with this regulation, arrangements shall be provided to achieve a level of visibility that is as near as practical to that prescribed in this regulation.

Notwithstanding the requirements of paragraphs 1.1, 1.3, 1.4 and 1.5, ballast water exchange may be undertaken provided that:


The master has determined that it is safe to do so and takes into consideration any increased blind sectors or reduced horizontal fields of vision resulting from the operation to ensure that a proper lookout is maintained at all times;

4.2 the operation is conducted in accordance with the ship's ballast water management plan, taking into account the recommendations on ballast water exchange adopted by the Organization; and
4.3 The commencement and termination of the operation are recorded in the ship's record of navigational activities pursuant to regulation 28.
MCA Guidance

Regulation 22 applies to all UK ships built on or after 1 July 1998, over 55m* in length. "Length" is defined in Regulation 2.4 as length overall.

Ships built before this date must comply with 1.1 and 1.2 as far as practicable, but no structural alterations will be required.

*The 55m minimum length and the definition of "length" as being length overall came into force on 1 July 2006 [IMO Resolution MSC 142(77)]

2. The purpose of the Regulation is to ensure that ships are designed with adequate visibility from navigation bridges. Designers and builders of ships need therefore to take account of the Regulation during the design process for new buildings or where the ship undergoes structural modifications or where a change in mode of operation is planned e.g. dual capability of navigating bow or stern first.
3. For the purposes of the Regulation, the meaning of the term 'conning position' is taken to be the same as that defined in BS EN ISO 8468:1995 "Ship's Bridge Layout and Equipment - Requirements and Guidelines" i.e. a place on the bridge with a commanding view and which is used by navigators when commanding, manoeuvring and controlling a ship.
4. For SOLAS vessels, of 55 metres and more in overall length, flagging in to the UK register, the MCA Customer Services Manager will need to be satisfied that the requirements for a view of the sea surface from the conning position (Reg.22.1.1) and the extent of blind sectors caused by cargo, cargo gear or other obstructions outside of the wheelhouse forward of the beam (Reg.22.1.2) comply as close as reasonably practicable without the need to require structural alterations or the supply of additional equipment.
5. Para.1.9.3 prohibits the use of polarised and tinted windows on the navigation bridge. In the case of United Kingdom registered ships, only clear, toughened glass is permitted.
Owners of existing tonnage should be aware of the implications of a vessel fitted with tinted bridge windows being involved in an accident and the question of a proper lookout being maintained arising.
6. Para 1.9.4 requires a clear view regardless of weather conditions through at least two windows. Further guidance on the use of windscreen wipers etc is given in ISO 8468 (Ship's Bridge Layout and Associated Equipment - Requirements and Guidelines)
7. Paragraph 3 covers ships of "unconventional design". This should be taken to mean ships of such a design that fixed structures or equipment, or the position of the bridge, renders it impossible to comply fully with the provisions of this Regulation. In such cases the MCA must be consulted in order to assess the alternative arrangements which have to be provided to comply with this paragraph.
8. For special circumstances, such as moving exceptional cargoes, the MCA should be consulted regarding navigation bridge visibility equivalence.
9. It should be noted that pilots and port authorities, when exercising their normal duties, are required to report to the MCA any ship with deficiencies which may prejudice the safe navigation of the ship or which poses an unreasonable threat of harm to the marine environment. This would include non-compliance with the requirements of this Regulation
10. Non SOLAS Passenger vessels of classes IV, V, VI and VIA of less than 45 metres registered length will need to meet the requirements of the Merchant Shipping (Bridge Visibility. Small Passenger Ships) Regulations 2005.

UK Fishing Vessels - Wheelhouse visibility requirements for UK Fishing Vessels are contained in MGN 314 (F) - Wheelhouse visibility onboard Fishing Vessels.


Paragrpah 1.6 covers visibility of shipside from the bridge wing. IMO has provided unified interpretation (UI) of this requirement via Circular MSC.1/Circ. 1350/Rev.1. This UI has been implemented by the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) since 1st January 2011.


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