32 CFR 706.1 - Purpose of regulations.
(a) All ships are warned that, when U.S. naval vessels are met in international waters, certain navigational lights and sound-signalling appliances of some naval vessels may vary from the requirements of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1972 (33 U.S.C. foll. section 1602 (1982)), as to number, position, range, or arc of visibility of lights, as well as to the disposition and characteristics of sound-signalling appliances. Those differences are necessitated by reason of the special construction or purpose of the naval ships. An example is the aircraft carrier where the two masthead lights are considerably displaced from the center or keel line of the vessel when viewed from ahead. Certain other naval vessels cannot comply with the horizontal separation requirements for masthead lights, and the two masthead lights on even large naval vessels will thus appear to be crowded together when viewed from a distance. Naval vessels may also have unorthodox navigational light arrangements or characteristics when seen either underway or at anchor.
(b) Naval vessels may also be expected to display certain other lights. These lights include, but are not limited to, different colored rotating beacons, different colored fixed and rotary wing aircraft landing signal lights, red aircraft warning lights, and red or blue contour approach lights on replenishment-type ships. These lights may be shown in combination with the navigational lights.
(c) During peacetime naval maneuvers, naval ships, alone or in company, may also dispense with showing any lights, though efforts will be made to display lights on the approach of shipping.
(d) Executive Order 11964 of January 19, 1977, and 33 U.S.C. 1605 provide that the requirements of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1972, as to the number, position, range, or arc of visibility of lights or shapes, as well as to the disposition and characteristics of sound-signalling appliances, shall not apply to a vessel of the Navy where the Secretary of the Navy shall find and certify that, by reason of special construction or purpose, it is not possible for such vessel to comply fully with the provisions without interfering with the special function of the vessel.
(e) Executive Order 11964 also provides that the Secretary of the Navy is authorized to exempt, in accordance with Rule 38 of the International Regulations for preventing Collisions at Sea, 1972, any vessel, or class of vessels, the keel of which is laid, or which is at a corresponding stage of construction, before July 15, 1977, from full compliance with the International Regulations, provided that such vessel, or class of vessels, complies with the requirements of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1960.
(f) This part consolidates and codifies certifications and exemptions granted by the Secretary of the Navy under Executive Order 11964 and 33 U.S.C. 1605. It has been determined that, because of their special construction or purpose, the vessels and classes of vessels listed in this part cannot comply fully with all of the requirements of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1972.