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Old 02-04-2009, 19:27   #1
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BVI or British Ensign ?

My boat is registered and documented in the BVI, I read somewhere in the past that I can fly the British Flag or the British/BVI flag at my choice? Can somebody clarify this to me please?

Thanks in advance,
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Old 02-04-2009, 21:51   #2
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Yes, the plain red ensign is allowed and much cheaper. We also have a nice BVI one with the virgin etc. which we use sometimes when we feel the boat looks clean enough for it ;-)

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Old 02-04-2009, 21:55   #3
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Thanks for your reply, I wanted to make sure before going to the marina chandlery as the one with the virgin is already on the boat but kind of worn out and I noticed too that the plain red ensign is 40% less expensive so I go for that.
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Old 03-04-2009, 03:41   #4
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According to the Encyclopædia Britannica The undefaced Red Ensign is proper for locally registered vessels and as a courtesy flag, although in practice a version defaced with the BVI coat of arms is used.”

flag of British Virgin Islands (British overseas territorial flag) -- Britannica Online Encyclopedia
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Old 03-04-2009, 05:51   #5
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Thanks Gord, I am surprised 99% of the flags I see here have a red blackground contrary to what I read on the link submitted by you (blue blackground) I have not even seen the bluebackground ones at the local marine stores.

In short Gord the most proper way to go would be to fly the one described at the Encycolopedia Britannica right? But I could also wear a red background one without the BVI coat of arms and still be correct? I know that the local authorities here are very helpful but one can also get surprised with a citation if not doing the proper things.
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Old 03-04-2009, 10:18   #6
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Locally in the BVI the BLUE back ground flags are for LAND use and denote the Land Based Government. On the Water the RED back Ground is proper.

Although the formal British Flag is considered acceptable, you may find that locally it is often considered an affront to the semi independent British Virgin Islands government. Those with the "virgin" are more acceptable.

In the recent past, several measures to totally change the BVI flag from the near British Flag have been considered but were defeated.

I fly the BVI flag as my courtesy flag. I have know some cruisers to be verbally reprimanded but no citation given by some "officials" for flying the British Flag in place of the BVI flag.

When I originally started coming to the BVI I asked many people about the blue and red flags. 90% had no idea what the differences were but those with an opinion (including customs and immigrations officials) were generally in agreement that the red was for the seas and blue used by government officials only... this is NOT true. Many of the locals don't know anything about the blue background flag, and think it is for another country.

Bottom line is it does not appear to actually matter to most people... but a few do get their dander up about what is considered by them to be an affront. This appears to be avoided by those few by using the BVI flag with red background
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Old 04-04-2009, 07:24   #7
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On a boat, I know/think the blue background is for skippers/owners that are ex Royal Navy.

cheers,
Nick.
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Old 04-04-2009, 07:52   #8
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Thanks for the info, very valuable Reality Check and Nick.
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Old 08-02-2012, 16:57   #9
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Re: BVI or British Ensign ?

from Flag Advisor
"Courtesy flags are usually Civil Ensigns—not the national flag of the country. Not every country has a civil ensign. However, most former British colonies do; it is usually the red variant of the flag. It’s considered a horrible breach of etiquette to fly the blue national flag. So, if the flag that we catalog doesn’t look exactly like the national flag that you remember, it’s probably a civil ensign. "
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Old 10-09-2012, 08:09   #10
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Re: BVI or British Ensign ?

Does anyone know where i can buy a 16x24 BVI red ensign flag. My boat is registered there, but I am in the US. I can only find courtesy flags online. A link with sales and hopefully quick shipping would be great
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Old 10-09-2012, 08:37   #11
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Re: BVI or British Ensign ?

Is your boat 24 feet long?
Might as well get a proper one inch flag per one foot of boat length?
( I make my own , acryllic art paint, dacron scraps)
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Old 10-09-2012, 08:45   #12
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Re: BVI or British Ensign ?

Did you try the local chandlerys ? Here is a list of a few. You want the BVI red ensign - definitely not the blue one.

BVI - Chandlery
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Old 10-09-2012, 10:35   #13
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Re: BVI or British Ensign ?

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Originally Posted by savoir View Post
Did you try the local chandlerys ? Here is a list of a few. You want the BVI red ensign - definitely not the blue one.

BVI - Chandlery
Thanks, but I am in the US at the moment. Cruising. I would like to get it overnighted to me from the US mainland if possible. I just have a red ensign bvi curtesy flag at the moment.

Should have included that info. Thanks anyway!
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Old 10-09-2012, 10:37   #14
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Re: BVI or British Ensign ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bruce smith View Post
Is your boat 24 feet long?
Might as well get a proper one inch flag per one foot of boat length?
( I make my own , acryllic art paint, dacron scraps)
my boat is 34, or 36 LOA. Looking at this Guide to boat flag sizing according to mast height and boat length it sais 16 x 24 for that size?
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Old 10-09-2012, 10:58   #15
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Re: BVI or British Ensign ?

Quote:
my boat is 34, or 36 LOA. Looking at this Guide to boat flag sizing according to mast height and boat length it sais 16 x 24 for that size?
Unfortunately, you need to look at the "US Ensign" section. The website assumes that you are an American flagged vessel, the list above is for every other flag (courtesy, etc.), the "US Ensign" section is for the vessel's ensign.
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