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Old 02-08-2014, 02:38   #31
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Re: Flag Etiquette Question

It is with some angst that I read the replies to this thread. Flag etiquette is very important for cruisers who sail to foreign lands. One does not want to fall foul of the authorities.

Sunrise to sunset is very important and ensigns are only flown at night if lit by spotlight. (Check out your government buildings).

As Australians, we are fly our ensign from a flag staff at the stern, whenever we are out of Australian waters but do not do so locally as we have a fully enclosed cockpit (clears all round) so the ensign scratches the aft panels if flown.

We trained with the Australian Navy so think our training was top notch.

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Old 02-08-2014, 02:52   #32
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Re: Flag Etiquette Question

You should take something for that angst Sue.....otherwise it could turn into something quite serious
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Old 02-08-2014, 03:10   #33
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Re: Flag Etiquette Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by atoll View Post
idealy your ensign when flown from the stern should just touch the water when flacid....
Whilst anchored up the River Dart last week I watched shoal of school Bass jumping and biting the large flag of a Dutch yacht which was just above the water.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
I've never cared much about matters of flag etiquette, but the Finns are very, very particular, and so I felt inspired to clean up my act.

One evening in Kotka, I even witnessed a man playing the Finnish national anthem on a soprano sax while lowering his ensign at exactly 20:00!
Quite right, one should follow the example of the senior Royal Naval vessel or local yacht club Commodore whilst in harbour to judge when to lower your ensign.

Disappointed at the outrageous cost of a flag staffs in the local chandlers I went to the local home store and bought a curtain pole. It even came with a little wooden end piece for the top. Varnished up it looks just the part.

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Old 02-08-2014, 04:13   #34
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Re: Flag Etiquette Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete7 View Post
Whilst anchored up the River Dart last week I watched shoal of school Bass jumping and biting the large flag of a Dutch yacht which was just above the water.



Quite right, one should follow the example of the senior Royal Naval vessel or local yacht club Commodore whilst in harbour to judge when to lower your ensign.

Disappointed at the outrageous cost of a flag staffs in the local chandlers I went to the local home store and bought a curtain pole. It even came with a little wooden end piece for the top. Varnished up it looks just the part.

Pete
another thing.......when passing warships in harbour or at sea it is customary to "dip" your vessels ensign out of respect........then some poor bugger on the warship will have to run and dip theirs
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Old 02-08-2014, 04:33   #35
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Re: Flag Etiquette Question

I suspect europeans take this more seriously than many others. A couple of the replies above are correct. A flag should be just long enough to touch the water when flaccid. National flags are flown from sunrise to sunset. While not mandatory, it is not a social blunder to play the national anthem when raising or lowering

If possible, the courtesy flag of the country you are visiting should be higher than your national flag (generally flown at the stern).

Racing boats do not fly the national flag unless they have retired from the race (this is true of races everywhere).

Many countries do have laws requiring boats to fly their national flag. I know of one danish sailor who got stopped by the swedish coast guard, gave them a lot of lip and generally did everything he could to piss them off - they gave him a fine for not flying the danish flag.

We have two flags - one which is big enough to just touch the water when flaccid (for use in harbour, moored or on the hook) and another smaller one we use when sailing - the big one just blows into the cockpit lashing the helmsman)
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Old 02-08-2014, 07:36   #36
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Re: Flag Etiquette Question

The problem with flag etiquette is that for many countries it is just etiquette and not a law, and since boats have changed over the years the customs have changed, and not necessarily uniformly.

Apparently at one point you were not supposed to fly more than one flag on a halyard, some clubs now have rules on precedence of flags on one halyard.

Some people here have said Ensign on the stern when moored, and on the backstay while underway. Chapman's just says either location is fine while sailing. (Isn't Chapman's the ultimate source for many people?)


From Seattle Yacht Club (I added bold):

Reference Information - Seattle Yacht Club Etiquette of the Seattle Yacht Club

Members with sailboats are strongly encouraged but not required to have both port and starboard flag halyards. For flag etiquette or protocol issues not covered here, please refer to the section on proper display of flags in Chapman’s Piloting, Seamanship and Small Boat Handling.In the event of a conflict with Chapman’s, the Seattle Yacht Club Flag Etiquette shall control. Example: You are sailing your sloop and want to fly the club burgee and a registered private signal, in addition to the ensign. You have flag halyards on port and starboard spreaders. The ensign (flag precedence 1) would fly from the stern staff, the burgee (precedence 2) from the main starboard spreader, and your private signal from the main port spreader. If you crossed the border into Canada, after crossing into Canadian waters, you would fly the Canadian national ensign as a courtesy flag from the main starboard spreader and move the burgee to the main port spreader above your private signal.



This person states that CCA still holds to older traditions of where the club burgee may be flown.

https://www.cruisingclub.org/seamans...ship_boats.htm

The club burgee should be flown only at the masthead position, not at a spreader or other position. Several clubs, such as the Cruising Club of America (perhaps nobody does flag etiquette better than the CCA) prohibit flying the burgee from the starboard spreader. It’s not exactly right and proper to do so, but it’s becoming more of an accepted practice. One reason is because all the instruments at the top of masts these days make it a little more difficult to fit the burgee too.
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Old 02-08-2014, 09:59   #37
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Re: Flag Etiquette Question

From the Heritage Canada (gov) site:

Quote:
Flown on ships and boats
The National Flag of Canada is the proper national colours for all Canadian ships and boats, including pleasure craft. The Canadian Shipping Act states that a Canadian ship shall hoist the flag on a signal being made to her by one of Her Majesty's Canadian ships, or any ship in the service of and belonging to the Government of Canada; on entering or leaving any foreign port; and if of 50 tonnes gross tonnage or upwards, on entering or leaving any Commonwealth port.

Foreign vessels may fly the Canadian flag as a "courtesy flag" when they are berthed in a Canadian port. The flag then is customarily flown from the foremast.

General rules governing merchant vessels and pleasure craft are as follow:

the flag should be worn in harbour and in territorial waters but need not be worn while under way on the high seas unless the vessel wishes to identify her nationality to another ship;
whenever possible, the proper place for a vessel to display the national colours is at the stern, except that when at sea, the flag may be flown from a gaff;
when in harbour the flag should be hoisted at 0800 hours and lowered at sunset;
when a merchant ship and a warship of any nationality pass or overtake one another, the merchant ship should dip the flag as a gesture of courtesy. If on a staff, the lowest corner of the flag should be brought to the level of the rail and kept there until the salutation is acknowledged by the naval vessel. If flown from a gaff, the flag should be lowered to six feet (1.80m) above the level of the deck, until the salute is acknowledged;
in times of mourning, the flag may be flown at half-mast, which places the upper corner of the flag next to the staff at approximately three-quarters of full-hoist. As on land, a flag hoisted to or lowered from half-mast position must first be hauled close-up.
We also have two flags, the big one which almost reaches the water when flaccid, & the smaller one. We use the big one when sailing & the smaller one when in port. We did used to take it down at night & when not on board--now a flag is up if we're in residence. Our flags are always in good condition, including the curtesy flag, and--sorry dock head--we find it unmannerly to display a ratty ensign.

We have no doubt that Europeans take flag etiquette more seriously than those in N. America.
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Old 02-08-2014, 10:01   #38
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Re: Flag Etiquette Question

I am probably just repeating what has already been stated, but here goes anyway:

The Ensign should be flown at or near the stern on a single masted vessel.

The Ensign should be flown from sunrise to sunset or in accordance with local regulations if different. Details are usually in Pilot books.

In the UK and commonwealth countries it is courtesy to "dip" the ensign when passing a Royal Navy vessel underway and bearing the white ensign. I have done this on a few occasions and they always returned the salute.

Flying the ensign so the tip of it just touches the water in light airs may look pretty but its probably an oversized flag for the vessel in question.
For a yacht 36'-42' Ensign size should be about 4 feet.

The British Ensign should never be struck before a neighboring Royal Navy vessel strikes hers, also applies to a Royal yacht clubs ensign, both of which have a "flag officer" who will perform these duties and one should follow his lead.

TIP:
If you are running flags up halyards a nice touch is to tightly roll them and take a cpl of turns around the middle of the roll and then thread a small bight under the turns, stick a match stick through the bight and slowly pull the lower part of the halyard tight. Now you can haul it up the halyard to the close-up position and give a firm tug, the match will snap and the flag will unfurl at the top of the mast. This is very useful in very windy conditions. If you have a few flags to fly, you can haul them all up and tie them off then break them out in quick succession which looks really neat.....

some might say this is going a lil too far.....

Oh and when lowering Ensigns, try not to let them touch the deck and NEVER stand on them.

cheers,
JJT
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Old 02-08-2014, 10:05   #39
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Re: Flag Etiquette Question

I was of the opinion that the club bergee should be flown from the port shrouds the country courtesy flag and the Q flag from the starboard shrouds and the boats flag as close as practical to the stern. I admit I fly my ensign off the wind generator pole and it Flys til it falls apart. When it starts to be unrecognizable I change it out.

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Old 03-08-2014, 06:19   #40
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Re: Flag Etiquette Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
My boat was built with a short flagstaff incapable of carrying an ensign appropriate to the size of the boat. I got tired of the stupid little ensign and bought a bigger one. Since it wouldn't fit the flagstaff, I tied it to the backstay. And that looked stupid in its own way, drooping on the deck when there's no wind.

But then I saw a Finnish boat with the ensign hauled half way up the backstay -- and I thought it looked terrific! So I hauled my ensign up on a halyard, with a downhaul.

Is this permitted? I remember reading somewhere the permitted positions of the ensign on a single-masted yacht, but can't remember them, or where to find it.
They look far better and it is more correct on proper pole - at least off the stern. And big. I hate the look of those tiny flags the French particularly seem to prefer. That said these things are another avoidable maintenance chore as they self destruct and fade into a shameless condition in no time. They make a racket and whack anyone who gets near. Mine is for worn for best and Sunday service only.
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Old 03-08-2014, 06:32   #41
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Re: Flag Etiquette Question

I have always compared flag etiquette to table manners. Some people have them some do not. Improper flag placement is like wearing a baseball cap at the dinner table!
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Old 03-08-2014, 06:36   #42
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Re: Flag Etiquette Question

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Originally Posted by Tingum View Post
I have always compared flag etiquette to table manners. Some people have them some do not. Improper flag placement is like wearing a baseball cap at the dinner table!
It's like wearing a baseball cap at any time (except when you are playing baseball).

Couldn't agree more with the analogy to good table manners
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Old 03-08-2014, 07:02   #43
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Re: Flag Etiquette Question

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Originally Posted by Tingum View Post
I have always compared flag etiquette to table manners. Some people have them some do not. Improper flag placement is like wearing a baseball cap at the dinner table!
Agreed!
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Old 03-08-2014, 09:12   #44
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Re: Flag Etiquette Question

Please don't fly a ragged US flag, they are cheap and easy to replace, or just don't fly one. This is a good one that will last quite awhile. For some it matters.
http://www.amazon.com/Annin-Tough-Te.../dp/B001PMV9O8
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Old 03-08-2014, 11:01   #45
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Re: Flag Etiquette Question

Flag size on sail boats.

Ensign - 1 inch for each foot LOA
All others - .5 inch for each foot LOA

Position

Ensign - staff on transom or leach of aft most sail
Club burgee - pigstick at masthead or port spreader (bow on some power boats)
Q flaq and courtesy flag (a requirement not a courtesy) - starboard spreader
Private signals - port spreader

Race boats do not fly national ensigns.

Rousmaniere has a good section in the Annapolis Boat of Seamanship, Chapman's has a good section as well. They discuss much more.
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