Rules and Guides

The heart of our classification organization, ABS Rules and Guides are derived from principles of naval architecture, marine engineering and related disciplines. Currently, ABS has more than 200 Rules, Guides and Guidance Notes available for download or purchase through the online catalog. You can search the complete current collection of ABS Rules and Guides below, or for older publications, search our archived database of ABS Rules & Guides.


Current Database of ABS Rules and Guides

Rules and Guides Archives Database

Currently, ABS has more than 200 Rules, Guides and Guidance Notes available for download or purchase through the online catalog. You can search the complete collection of archived ABS Rules and Guides in our database below.

Recent Updates

ABS combined the five most commonly applied rules into two new Rules – Marine Vessel Rules (MVR) and Mobile Offshore Units Rules (MOU) for easy access.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


On January 1, 2020, ABS completed the process of combining five major rule sets into two new Rules to streamline and improve the navigation of some of the most commonly applied ABS Rules.

The Rules of Building and Classing Steel VesselsRules for Building and Classing Steel Vessels under 90 meters (295 feet) in Length, and Rules for Building and Classing Offshore Support Vessels are now the Rules for Building and Classing Marine Vessels (Marine Vessel Rules).

The Rules for Building and Classing Mobile Offshore Drilling Units and the Guide for Building and Classing Mobile Offshore Units are now the Rules for Building and Classing Mobile Offshore Units (Mobile Offshore Units Rules).

By consolidating these Rules, we are able to reduce duplication of requirements across different Rules and Guides and form foundational Rules that apply to a majority of the future ABS-classed fleet.

So, what does this change mean to your ABS-classed vessels? Absolutely nothing. For those vessels already classed or being built to any of the current five Rules or Guides, nothing will change. Those Rules and Guides are archived and remain available on website.

What changes for your new builds? Starting January 1, 2020, any new vessel that is covered by Marine Vessel Rules or the Mobile Offshore Units Rules will need to meet the requirements laid out in the respective Rules.


To see more frequently asked questions, see below.   

Printing PDF Documents

When printing an ABS Rule or Guide in Adobe PDF format you may experience difficulty if your printer does not recognize Adobe PostScript. All modern desktop printers are PostScript compatible. Some network printers are not. If you experience difficulty, please contact your IT department or download the necessary driver from the Adobe website.

Download the Adobe PostScript Driver

Legal Disclaimer

The content of all original ABS Rules and Guides is the subject of intellectual property rights reserved by ABS. Except for the permission granted below, nothing contained herein shall be construed as conferring upon the user in any manner any license, title or ownership of or in any intellectual property right of ABS.

ABS hereby grants the user permission to download, copy and use, including posting to the user's intranet site, the material posted in the electronic format. The user hereby agrees that any copy of the materials, in part or in whole, that the user makes shall retain all copyright and other proprietary notices contained therein and that the information will not be altered in any manner.

ABS makes every reasonable effort to ensure that the information provided in the posted electronic files represents complete, current and accurate information. However, the user has sole responsibility for maintaining the currency of the information accessed in this manner. ABS, its subsidiaries, affiliates, agents and employees shall not be liable for any loss or damage arising directly or indirectly from the possession, publication, use of or reliance on any information accessed in this manner.

Current ABS approved printed versions of all Rules and Guides are available from ABS. Current ABS approved electronic versions of all Rules and Guides are most effectively accessed by establishing a hyperlink of your local intranet directly to the ABS Rules and Guides on the ABS website.