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Old 12-01-2010, 07:30   #1
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Another Flag Etiquette Question

Yes, I read the "sticky".

The "sticky note" says that the national ensign is flown from the backstay or other staff on the stern if you have one. Then it says to fly it from the main, or spreader or other high point on the main mast.

Am I correct in that the sticky note is listing 2 positions, referring to when moored and when underway?

In the U.S. Navy (submarines), we shift colors from the jackstaff on the stern, to a staff up on the bridge when we get underway. Same thing applies, right?
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Old 12-01-2010, 08:02   #2
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Anyone remember when you had to dip the ensign when a warship passed? Do they still do that?
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Old 12-01-2010, 08:07   #3
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Our manuvering watches were so intense, that I don't recall ever doing it except when passing other warships, and rarely even then.
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Old 12-01-2010, 08:09   #4
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On many vessels larger vessels including all US military vessels, the US flag is flown from the transom when not underway. This is called the Holiday Ensign. When underway, the US flag is flown from the mast. This is called the Steaming Ensign. Submarines at the surface when steaming do show the flag. Yachts can follow the same etiquette if they choose to, but are not required to.

Chapman's has a description of proper flag etiquette.

http://www.amazon.com/Chapman-Piloti...3309240&sr=1-1
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Old 12-01-2010, 08:31   #5
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Vasco, I had an experience with dipping ensigns:
When we were living on our ketch in Gibraltar a lifetime ago, we passed the Polish sail training square rigger Dar Pomosa heading into Gib’. I dipped my blue British ensign, with no response from them.
They had an open day a few days later and we went aboard, and I just mentioned it to one of the officers. He immediately fetched the captain who apologized profusely and threatened to keelhaul the cadet who missed the etiquette. We went into the officers mess and had a snuffter, and then he asked if we would like a personal tour of the ship.
I said, “Of course, but I would also like to take a picture of it from the topmast.”
This caused quite a bit of consternation—in Polish—but they finally produced two harnesses and I and an officer climbed right to the topmast of the main, outboard of the futtock shrouds I might add, no lubbers hole for me in those days. I then went up the Jacob’s ladder to the ballpin, where it looked a very very long way down, (about 180 feet if I remember correctly), and even though the ship was moored, the masthead was still swaying. I was so scared I daren’t aim my camera to take the shot. I took one on the Royal yard, but that was not the same.
So be careful when you dip your ensign, especially to a square rigger.
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Old 12-01-2010, 08:34   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David M View Post
<snip> Yachts can follow the same etiquette if they choose to, but are not required to.
<snip>
Ah, that simplifies things.

On the sub, the Holiday ensign was the largest one, flown on Sundays and holidays. "Holiday colors" referred to the largest ensign and Union Jack set we carried.

Every other day of the week (when moored), we flew one of 2 smaller sizes, depending on the expected wind. We had a very small "storm" set for really windy days.
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Old 12-01-2010, 08:48   #7
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Vasco, I had an experience with dipping ensigns:
Yes, we always used to do it when I was at sea, many years ago. We'd get the quartermaster to go aft, blow a whistle (not the ship's whistle but a small whistle like what a referee uses, a deck officer always had one in his pocket) when the warship was abeam, the quartermaster would dip the flag and when the warship dipped theirs and up again, we would raise ours again. These were the days when we had 43 bodies on a 10,000 ton ship. Nowadays they run them with a dozen so I think the days of flag dipping are gone. We aways had one quartermaster on the wheel and one standing by.
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Old 12-01-2010, 13:41   #8
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I've always dipped colors to warships, no matter what country they are.
I'd say they return the dip about 95% of the time. After all, they can't be staring at you all of the time to see if and when you dip your colors..
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Old 12-01-2010, 15:25   #9
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Recreational vessels don't have to shift colors from pierside to underway. I believe the various locations are mentioned as boats have different configurations.

An interesting note on ensigns: the holiday ensign is usually the biggest in the set and as mentioned, is only flown on Sundays, holidays, and other special occasions. However, many warships also carry a battle ensign that is bigger still.

Normally, it would be a very insulting breach of etiquette to hoist another flag over the ensign on the same halyard. But there is one flag that belongs there. Can anyone name it?

Brett
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Old 12-01-2010, 15:33   #10
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Normally, it would be a very insulting breach of etiquette to hoist another flag over the ensign on the same halyard. But there is one flag that belongs there. Can anyone name it?

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Old 12-01-2010, 17:08   #11
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Old 12-01-2010, 17:55   #12
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Growing up in the UK my Dad would steer close to the warship while I dipped our ensign and we then watched the rating run to the stern and respond. Of course, my Dad was a "pongo" or army man in Royal Navy speak and he always got a chuckle out of this.
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