Regulation 34 - Safe navigation and avoidance of dangerous situations


  • Voyage planning is required on all vessels which go to sea.
  • Master to ensure plan is drawn up.
  • Details of factors to take into account.
Regulation 34
1. Prior to proceeding to sea, the master shall ensure that the intended voyage has been planned using the appropriate nautical charts and nautical publications for the area concerned, taking into account the guidelines and recommendations developed by the Organization.*

The voyage plan shall identify a route which:

2.1 takes into account any relevant ships' routeing systems
2.2 ensures sufficient sea room for the safe passage of the ship throughout the voyage
2.3 anticipates all known navigational hazards and adverse weather conditions; and
2.4 takes into account the marine environmental protection measures that apply, and avoids, as far as possible, actions and activities which could cause damage to the environment

*Refer to the Guidelines for Voyage Planning, adopted by the Organization by Resolution A.893(21)

MCA Guidance
1. Reg. 34 applies to all ships which proceed to sea.
2. The Regulation requires the voyage to be planned in accordance with the IMO Guidelines for Voyage Planning - Resolution A.893(21) (issued as SN/Circ.92) The Regulation authorises the Master to take voyage planning decisions for safety or environmental reasons.
3. It is important to note that Regulation 34 makes a properly prepared voyage plan mandatory and the plan is liable to be checked during port State control inspections.
4. Small vessels and pleasure craft - Regulation 34 applies to all vessels. For small vessels and pleasure-craft the degree of voyage planning will be depend upon the size of vessel, its crew and the length of the voyage. The MCA expects all mariners to make a careful assessment of any proposed voyage taking into account all dangers to navigation, weather forecasts, tidal predictions and other relevant factors including the competence of the crew.

See also Regulation 34.1 Master's Discretion.

[The paragraph originally in this Regulation covering Master's Discretion was redrafted as (new) Regulation 34.1. The change came into force on 1 July 2006.]

Associated Documents

Annex 24 - Voyage Planning: MCA Guidance Notes

Annex 25 - Voyage Planning: IMO Resolution A.893


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