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Old 24-12-2014, 09:09   #16
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Re: courtesy vs national flag

Not entirely correct - we are Zimbabwean but resided in UK for a number of years. You can call it a piss up or any other term you care to use, does it really matter? Some prefer the more sophisticated terminology, without having to resort to cruder language. That is about personal standards. I have NEVER seen a Union flag flown from a merchantman - the skippers are too professional to commit that error.
Many countries have different marine flags to that of the national flag. How many times have we heard of the Union flag being called the Union Jack? I just ignore such statements. Be lucky you are not Zimbabwean - with all the hassles involved of trying to register a yacht and to fly our national flag (same for water as on land) and yes, we do have a large (-ish) stretch of water on our doorstep from which to sail to a foreign country. We have met several disrespectful yotties who think it is clever to try and outsmart the authorities. 90% of the time they create issues for themselves and the next yacht to arrive. Try giving the Thai authorities a hard time - we saw a New Zealander do this and, boy, did they make him suffer, for many days.
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Old 24-12-2014, 09:15   #17
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Re: courtesy vs national flag

If you are not sure what courtesy flag to fly when you arrive in a foreign port keep the Q flying until you have checked with the authorities and purchased the correct one if necessary. No point in guessing, getting it wrong and insulting your hosts.

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Old 24-12-2014, 09:25   #18
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Re: courtesy vs national flag

Reference the book: "Chapman Piloting" Flag Etiquette of Flags:

The vessel must display it's national flag on a stern staff at the stern of the vessel. it's size is suppose to be approximately equal to the size of the boat in feet divided by 12. a 32 ft yacht should have a flag 36 inches on the log horizontal side.

A Yellow (Q) Quarantine Flag is displayed before checking into the country A courtesy flag is used after checking in with the countries customs officials, which reflects such and as a courtesy to the country you are visiting. It is normally flown on a Mast or Bow (on a sailboat from the Starboard Spreader/Shroud).

Regards, Gerry
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Old 24-12-2014, 10:06   #19
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Re: courtesy vs national flag

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Originally Posted by carstenb View Post
Some places take the courtesy flag very seriously.
And some places, not so much. In the BVI, no one really cares. It is, however, well worth knowing the difference, and being aware of those places where they DO care.
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Old 24-12-2014, 10:12   #20
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Re: courtesy vs national flag

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Originally Posted by pcbdon View Post
What is the difference between flying a countries courtesy flag vs their national flag, specifically the Bahamas but all of the Caribbean for future reference.
I think you've gotten your answer, but there's a lot of confusion in this thread, so it may not be obvious! The question you asked isn't posed quite right. Countries don't have courtesy flags vs national flags. They do have various types of ensign vs national flags, and you're asking which to fly as a courtesy flag.

The answer is that you should fly the ensign if there happens to be one (usually British colonies). It's usually a red version of the countries blue flag. Google will be your friend here, and it will vary a lot by country. The flag that you have on your starboard spreader will be the same one that local (non-military) boats have on their stern.

We used to use the red ensign in Canada, but now just use the national flag, so it can change with time as well.
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Old 24-12-2014, 12:28   #21
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Re: courtesy vs national flag

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Originally Posted by Bulawayo View Post
I have NEVER seen a Union flag flown from a merchantman - the skippers are too professional to commit that error.
Its not just me that has seen this and it appears it is still happening...I refer you to post #23 .... Courtesy Flags when I visit UK from Ireland ? - Page 3

'It isn't just amateurs

I've seen two large cruise liners recently flying the Union Flag as a courtesy ensign.

Not something I get exercised about normally but I found it curiously annoying.

The other thought, of course, is if they can't get a simple thing like that right how good is the rest of their seamanship?"


Re this business of hoisting the Q flag on starboard and when cleared taking it down and replacing it with the courtesy flag... never seen that happen in the real world. The norm on big ships is to have both up on arrival. Often the courtesy ensign has to be flown when there has been no requirement to fly Q.... ie transiting Magellan Strait frinstance although that wouldn't apply to yachts as they have to check in... big ships don't.

Anyway...Merry Christmas...I'm just waiting for my grand-daughter to arise so I can open me pressies....
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Old 24-12-2014, 13:11   #22
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Re: courtesy vs national flag

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Originally Posted by El Pinguino View Post
----
Re this business of hoisting the Q flag on starboard and when cleared taking it down and replacing it with the courtesy flag... never seen that happen in the real world. The norm on big ships is to have both up on arrival.....
Can't speak for big ships and the "real world", but it's common yachting practice in the USA, Bahamas, and Caribbean.
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Old 24-12-2014, 16:05   #23
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Re: courtesy vs national flag

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I've had the same question in my head.
What about on deck?
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Old 24-12-2014, 16:09   #24
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Re: courtesy vs national flag

In the Windward Islands, the courtesy flag is just a small version of the country's flag. One mistake I see a lot is the courtesy flag being flown upside down. Seems to happen a lot in St. Vincent and Grenada. If you are not sure which way is up, check the guide book, they usually have a picture of the flag right side up!
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Old 26-12-2014, 15:52   #25
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Re: courtesy vs national flag

Absolutely not true. Only a Royal Naval warship may fly the Union Flag and that is from the "jack staff" hence the term Union Jack for the UK's national flag. It would be regarded as an act of gross ignorance to fly the Union Flag as a courtesy flag.
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Old 26-12-2014, 17:19   #26
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Re: courtesy vs national flag

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Originally Posted by Meriah2 View Post
Reference the book: "Chapman Piloting" Flag Etiquette of Flags:

The vessel must display it's national flag on a stern staff at the stern of the vessel. it's size is suppose to be approximately equal to the size of the boat in feet divided by 12. a 32 ft yacht should have a flag 36 inches on the log horizontal side.

A Yellow (Q) Quarantine Flag is displayed before checking into the country A courtesy flag is used after checking in with the countries customs officials, which reflects such and as a courtesy to the country you are visiting. It is normally flown on a Mast or Bow (on a sailboat from the Starboard Spreader/Shroud).

Regards, Gerry

The Q flag practice is not nearly as common as you make it out. The process stems from the days when pratique was granted while the vessel lay at anchor.

Today it's more typical to raise the courtesy flag upon entering a nations waters. The Q flag may be glen as well till cleared in. However with most yachts today first landing and going ashore to clear in , it uses has declined


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Old 26-12-2014, 17:59   #27
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Re: courtesy vs national flag

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It would be regarded as an act of gross ignorance to fly the Union Flag as a courtesy flag.
Well, that would never happen.
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Old 26-12-2014, 23:16   #28
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Re: courtesy vs national flag

Not common practice? Really? Everywhere I have sailed, be it in South America, Africa, Europe, Australasia or Asia it is expected / required. I guess that leaves North America, the Caribbean and the Pacific Islands. Not withstanding, it is a requirement and you take your (unnecessary) chances going without a few bucks worth of flag. Etiquette and courtesy have their price and in this instance it is very cheap.
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Old 26-12-2014, 23:23   #29
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Re: courtesy vs national flag

Sadly, some people think they have the right to behave poorly and to 'insult' other nationalities / authorities by purposely displaying incorrect flags. We have met (luckily just the once) a boat that refused to fly the Q flag and who also flew his courtesy flag lower than his own ensign. It caused a bit of trouble - and unfortunately the next boat 'in' got a real hammering as their Q flag was in tatters and their own cortesy flag was home made. It is just so unnecessary, yet these people insist on 'their right' to behave thus.
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Old 27-12-2014, 02:32   #30
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Re: courtesy vs national flag

I would have thought that cruisers, of all people, having (allegedly) been exposed to distant corners of the world would be the first to realize that their standards are not world wide.

Apparently, that was a gross over estimation.
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