Flag Rules Basics for Recreational Seafarers

Flag etiquette, has its foundation in the historic maritime practices as well as codes of the vendor ships and also navies of the country. It can be involved and also fairly complex, yet it’s greater than most entertainment boaters have to understand. A full immersion in the steeped conventions of using flags on the high seas is hardly ever essential in close quarters of a coastal marina or anchorage.

When I see the confusion that still exists where this practice in recreational boating is worried, I don’t assume I’m alone. Whatever the factor, sailors could need a little clarification because the vagaries on the subject. To make sure, there are a myriad of types of maritime flags with differentiating shapes and marks, but in this discussion I’ll narrow the field to recreational watercrafts, power as well as sail, and also concentrate on the basic rules of flag placement.


The most elderly placement for a flag on a vessel is at its strict. It continues to be a location 13plastics-articlelarge-v2of honor on a vessel to this day and also it’s where the nationwide flag or derivative of it can be happily displayed.

The ensign, the national colors, is rectangle-shaped in style, usually a 1:2 or 3:5 proportion of width to size. It must be flown from a team off the strict unless it hinders the operation of the vessel like a boom that extends over the stern. Need to this hold true it can be flown from a backstay from the aftermost mast, at the peak of the gaff * or the leech ** of an aftermost sail. (see terms below).

The ensign ought to be flown, according to tradition, in between 8:00 a.m. and sunset. , if you prepare to leave your boat and don’t expect to return before sunset you must take it down; the ensign should never ever be flown at night.

A couple of examples of ensigns flown in the western hemisphere are the following:.

The United States: The 50-star “Old Splendor”, destiny and also Stripes or the U.S. Luxury yacht Ensign, a fouled support over a circle of 13 celebrities.

The United Kingdom: The “Union Jack”, the national flag, with its 3 laid over red and white crosses on a blue background is booked for battleships. The “Red Ensign”, the flag of much less engaging maritime traditions, is the ensign for entertainment sailors. It’s a red flag with the “Union Jack” displayed in the upper left quadrant.

Canada: The Maple Fallen leave, the nationwide flag, is the preferred ensign for all Canadian vessels. It consists of two upright bands of red with a red maple leaf centered and emblazoned on a white background.


The burgee is generally triangular in shape, your normal pennant, embellished with the distinguishing characteristics of the luxury yacht club or boating company it represents. In a powerboat, the burgee flies off a short staff on the bow.


bahamas_022Courtesy flags,worship flags are usually flown in international waters or in waters in which you attend; they are a token of regard. On a sailboat its flown on the watercraft’s starboard spreader. , if your burgee is on the starboard spreader you could relocate it to the masthead.. In a powerboat it’s displayed on a bow personnel displacing the burgee which could be put on the portside spreader or antenna.


All various other flags: burgees, others and courtesies need to be around 1/2 to 5/8 inch for every foot of total watercraft length (LOA). If your watercraft is 30 feet in length, your flag ought to be 15-19 inches long. For recreational boaters we’ll maintain it basic: all flags must be roughly 1/2 the size of the ensign.

Flag rules isn’t as made complex as numerous make it out to be. Knowing what flag is what and just what flag goes where is all you require to know. Bear in mind, nationwide colors to the demanding, the most vital area on a watercraft with burgees as well as politeness flags to starboard for seafarers, to the bow for power.

Terms (see asterisks above):

* Gaff: the outer end of the spar( a sailing ship’s boom, mast or backyard) extending aft from the main pole.

** Leech: The vertical back side of a sail.

BOATING, whether in a sailing boat, angling ski, cruiser or watercraft boat suggests something various to each watercraft owner. Watercrafts get us to our preferred angling spots, draw water skiers, take us to destinations throughout the water. It’s concerning some of my other half and my boating experiences.

To be sure, there are a myriad of kinds of maritime flags with differentiating shapes and also marks, however in this conversation I’ll narrow the field to leisure boats, power as well as sail, and concentrate on the standard regulations of flag placement.

All other flags: others, politeness and burgees must be about 1/2 to 5/8 inch for every foot of total boat size (LOA). If your boat is 30 feet in length, your flag needs to be 15-19 inches long. Recognizing exactly what flag is what and exactly what flag goes where is all you need to recognize. Keep in mind, nationwide colors to the strict, the most vital location on a boat with burgees and courtesy flags to starboard for seafarers, to the bow for power.


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