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Old 23-12-2014, 12:12   #1
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courtesy vs national flag

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.
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Old 23-12-2014, 12:23   #2
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Re: courtesy vs national flag

As far as I know the courtesty flag is the national flag, but flown on the starboard spreader in a size proportional to both the boat and the ship's ensign. The chandleries all around the Caribbean sell courtesy-flag-sized flags for all the other Caribbean nations.
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Old 23-12-2014, 12:38   #3
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Re: courtesy vs national flag

Actually the two are different flags for the Bahamas.
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Old 23-12-2014, 12:45   #4
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Re: courtesy vs national flag


Name:   bahamas courtesy flag.png
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Name:   bahamas national flag.png
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I've had the same question in my head. Are the national/courtesy flags different for DR, and the windward/leewards?

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Old 23-12-2014, 12:57   #5
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Re: courtesy vs national flag

There are two stickies about this on CF

The long one:

Flag Etiquette Question

The short one

Flag Etiquette

This is not as simple as it seems at the outset.

but here are the answers.

nice christmas read (when you are nursing a full stomach or hangover
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Old 23-12-2014, 12:58   #6
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Re: courtesy vs national flag

"Courtesy flags are usually Civil Ensignsónot 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. Itís considered a horrible breach of etiquette to fly the blue national flag. So, if the flag that we catalog doesnít look exactly like the national flag that you remember, itís probably a civil ensign."

Courtesy of Kettlewell Cruising and the search button.

Bahamian Courtesy Flags
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Old 23-12-2014, 13:08   #7
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Re: courtesy vs national flag

So, go with the national flag?
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Old 23-12-2014, 13:33   #8
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Re: courtesy vs national flag

Go with what you have...

What is being called the bahamian 'civil flag' here is actualy the ensign that Bahamian registered ships fly... its called their 'civil' ensign to distinguish it from their 'naval' ensign.
Flag of the Bahamas - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This issue also comes up with many other countries including the UK. The norm there is the mercantile red ensign but some ships ( mainly from 'eastern bloc' countries ) will fly the union flag

I don't think they will send you to jail.
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Old 23-12-2014, 13:36   #9
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Re: courtesy vs national flag

Thanks to all, I assumed the national was the way to go, and since they haven't locked me up yet just wanted to be sure.
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Old 23-12-2014, 17:53   #10
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Re: courtesy vs national flag

Courtesy flags are intended to be flown by visiting yachts, so if you are a visiting yacht ----
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Old 23-12-2014, 21:20   #11
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Re: courtesy vs national flag

Quote:
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.
The flag that you fly for a courtesy ensign is the country's merchant marine ensign.

For example, the US' national, merchant marine and naval ensigns are the same. The UK's ensigns are different, their merchant marine flaq being the red ensign.

What's the difference between flying the merchant marine vs national flag? I'd bet any country would be happy to see either one on a yacht.
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Old 23-12-2014, 23:14   #12
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Re: courtesy vs national flag

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Originally Posted by Seymore View Post
What's the difference between flying the merchant marine vs national flag? I'd bet any country would be happy to see either one on a yacht.
If you have access to the civil ensign it is much safer to use that .

In some countries, not adhering to strict protocol can be considered a mark of disrespect or at best a mark of ignorance. Don't even think about flying the Union flag as a courtesy flag in the UK!
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Old 24-12-2014, 01:06   #13
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Re: courtesy vs national flag

I'll repeat my experience from Gibraltar. We arrived and the marina hand helped us get the lines up to the boat. The first thing he said after giving us the lines was
"ONce you have tied off - you will fly the UK courtesy flag - raise it before you do anything else"

Later that day I was walking by the Port Captains office and there was a notice on the board.

"No boats will be allowed to dock unless they are flying the courtesy flag. They are to be denied entrance to the marina until they have learned to show the proper respect"


Some places take the courtesy flag very seriously.

Read the two threads I linked to above - It is worthwhile to do it correctly.
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Old 24-12-2014, 03:26   #14
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Re: courtesy vs national flag

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Originally Posted by carstenb View Post
I'll repeat my experience from Gibraltar. We arrived and the marina hand helped us get the lines up to the boat. The first thing he said after giving us the lines was
"ONce you have tied off - you will fly the UK courtesy flag - raise it before you do anything else"

Later that day I was walking by the Port Captain's office and there was a notice on the board.

"No boats will be allowed to dock unless they are flying the courtesy flag. They are to be denied entrance to the marina until they have learned to show the proper respect"


Some places take the courtesy flag very seriously.
That probably has a lot to do with Spanish yachts arriving and flying no courtesy ensign cos they reckon they are still in Spain.

Same thing happens with RG yachts arriving in the Falklands.........they are also trying to make a statement.....

Only place I have had an issue was in Mar del Plata.... arrived at 04dark... at 07notquitesodark some Malvanista was putting on an act ( I had no flags up... hadn't even hung out me washing..)...... he didn't bother the French flagged yacht astern of us who flew no courtesy ensign at all throughout his stay.

Today is the first time I have seen the expression 'civil ensign'. The national flag is the 'civil flag ... the one being called the 'civil ensign' here is in fact the mercantile ensign.

Re the UK... on big ships nobody gives a monkey's if a ship flies the Union flag... its only down at the 'royal' yart clubs that you will hear a member of the G&T set saying ' I say old man..... thats not right....'

Did you know that the poms call a pissup a 'drinks party'?
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Old 24-12-2014, 03:40   #15
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Re: courtesy vs national flag

Quote:
Originally Posted by El Pinguino View Post
...............
Did you know that the poms call a pissup a 'drinks party'?
Now that is good

for the thread drift Pcbdon
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