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Old 11-03-2019, 08:23   #1
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Are signal flags still relevant?

I'm trying to decide if my set of signal flags is still worth carrying on board. I had never purchased a set, but our current boat came with one. I have never used them and can't seem to come up with a scenario where I would use them.

I tried searching previous post but could not find previous discussions.

Opinions?
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Old 11-03-2019, 08:43   #2
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Re: Are signal flags still relevant?

It depends. If you are inland/coastal...IMHO they are virtually worthless since most pleasure boaters have no clue what the various flags mean.

If you travel internationally, then the Q flag is a courtesy/required in some countries until you clear immigration and customs.

I only carry 4 as I expect commercial ships and military ships /port authorities will understand them as the need arrises.
Alpha - diver down
Foxtrot - vessel disabled
Quebec - pratique
Whiskey - need medical assistance
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Old 11-03-2019, 08:59   #3
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Re: Are signal flags still relevant?

Other than the Q flag I don't see much value in them other than for decoration on public holidays. On the other hand you have a 50 footer. How much room can they take.
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Old 11-03-2019, 09:06   #4
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Re: Are signal flags still relevant?

What? You never find occasion to display TGIF or WTF?
In any case, it might be worth pulling them out and inspecting to see if they’re still even any good. The compact set sold at WM is notoriously not color-fast, unless you take them out and spray them with a waterproofing agent. IIRC, someone has posted directions for doing so in the “reviews” section on that site.
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Old 11-03-2019, 09:55   #5
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Re: Are signal flags still relevant?

I don't have flags myself, but I do have a copy on board of what they mean in case I see them.
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Old 11-03-2019, 10:30   #6
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Re: Are signal flags still relevant?

Quote:
Originally Posted by AiniA View Post
How much room can they take.
My set packed up to roughly the size of a 24 carton of beer. I'd carry them unless I was really lacking storage space.
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Old 11-03-2019, 11:09   #7
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Re: Are signal flags still relevant?

I'm with the rest. For US coastal cruising, sell them on eBay, and use the coin to buy something useful for the boat. As to that list the Discovery gave, I'd think that Foxtrot and Whiskey would be unrecognizable or meaningless to 95% of the US boating population. I would add that everyone knows Oscar, even if they don't know that it's actually a letter flag.
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Old 11-03-2019, 11:13   #8
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Re: Are signal flags still relevant?

Thank you all for the replies. I've now washed and repacked this set for a second time. My concerns were both storage space and mildew. I will vacuum seal these and send into bilge storage.
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Old 11-03-2019, 11:35   #9
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Re: Are signal flags still relevant?

I've wondered if there is any reasonable method or value to flying some indication of how long your anchor rode is. This could be easily possible with the number flags, and help to inform incoming neighbors of your swing radius.
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Old 11-03-2019, 12:44   #10
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Re: Are signal flags still relevant?

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I've wondered if there is any reasonable method or value to flying some indication of how long your anchor rode is. This could be easily possible with the number flags, and help to inform incoming neighbors of your swing radius.
That could save a lot of radio traffic. Like the guy in Georgetown a few weeks ago who would announce to everyone who came close that he had 160 feet of chain out (in 15 feet of water). He could have saved a lot of trouble if he just flew (Juliet Echo Romeo Kilo) flags.
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Old 11-03-2019, 13:31   #11
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Re: Are signal flags still relevant?

Quote:
Originally Posted by billknny View Post
>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
He could have saved a lot of trouble if he just flew (Juliet Echo Romeo Kilo) flags.

need a more waterproof keyboard...


Fantastic!!!
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Old 11-03-2019, 13:56   #12
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Re: Are signal flags still relevant?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stu Jackson View Post
need a more waterproof keyboard...


Fantastic!!!



Tee hee
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Old 11-03-2019, 14:05   #13
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Re: Are signal flags still relevant?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Discovery 15797 View Post
It depends. If you are inland/coastal...IMHO they are virtually worthless since most pleasure boaters have no clue what the various flags mean.

If you travel internationally, then the Q flag is a courtesy/required in some countries until you clear immigration and customs.

I only carry 4 as I expect commercial ships and military ships /port authorities will understand them as the need arrises.
Alpha - diver down
Foxtrot - vessel disabled
Quebec - pratique
Whiskey - need medical assistance

I've been carrying them for decades, but never used them except for Q flag (frequently), and keeping ready the ones mentioned here, and maybe Uniform ("You are running into danger"). But other than the Q flag, it's kind of hard to imagine when you would really use these instead of gtting on the radio, so I don't actually use other than the Q flag, other than dressing ship (last time for the Queen's Jubilee), or for fun, like Charlie Oscar First Substitute Kilo Tango India Lima Sierra Space Alpha Second Substitute One Seven. I guess that's some slight justification for their existence, but I wouldn't blame anyone for not thinking it worthwhile.
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Old 11-03-2019, 15:13   #14
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Re: Are signal flags still relevant?

> Charlie Oscar First Substitute Kilo Tango India Lima Sierra Space Alpha Second Substitute One Seven


What's a cocktil ?
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Old 11-03-2019, 15:31   #15
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Re: Are signal flags still relevant?

I was is Eden on the NSW south coast, behind the navy wharf, a naval ship was loading/unloading some sort of ammunition, we were told we should not look at what was happening, I then asked why they were changing flags at various times(I have an old copy of Browns Signaling), I need to look through binos to see the flags!! Navy could not explain.
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