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Old 18-08-2011, 15:48   #1
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Is Flying Your Ensign a Requirement ?

Or can you just fly the quarantine flag upon arrival, and then the courtesy flag after going through customs?

Although I've seen plenty of posts here where people say they haven't had any major incidents, I've also been hearing from some land lubber travelers that overall people really seem to be hating Americans more and more.

Maybe I can just fly a Conch Republic flag? Or what about a UN flag?

On the other hand, I guess being out on the water, anchored in a foreign port, your biggest concern is theft...and they could care less where you're from.
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Old 18-08-2011, 16:22   #2
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Re: Is flying your ensign a requirement?

You are kidding with this question, right?

Against the possibility you are not, one is expected to fly the correct flag or ensign of national origin/documentation so that, in a foreign port, local Customs and Immigration Authorities know what they are dealing with before they come aboard.

One flies the yellow Q ("Quarantine") flag upon arrival in a foreign port to indicate to others that the yacht/ship has not been cleared in and that vendors etc. may not approach the yacht/ship. It also indicates to Customs/Immigration that one is seeking "Free Pratique" or clearance and admission to the country. Once "cleared in" one flies the "Courtesy Flag" of the host country to indicate that the yacht has been cleared in. It "ain't" just a courtesy.

If one shows up at, eg, a south American entry port with some BS flag and is asked "Que Bandera" by the harbor master one is likely to set oneself up for a serious PITA. Once in awhile it makes sense to understand and respect traditions. They don't exist for no reason...
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Old 18-08-2011, 16:29   #3
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Re: Is Flying Your Ensign a Requirement ?

I believe you may only fly the UN flag if your vessel is conducting official business for the UN. Depending on where you are from you should, but are not necessarily required to fly you country's flag. An interesting point, though, is that while you may not be required to fly your national ensign in normal day to day sailing, you will probably be required to hoist it if challenged by a warship or civil authorities vessel. If you do fly an ensign, I believe local laws and customs generally require the ensign to be that of your vessel's registry.

Some countries require the courtesy flag to be flow the moment you enter their waters, not necessarily only after clearing customs. In bygone days, the failure to hoist a courtesy flag was a sign of belligerency.
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Old 18-08-2011, 16:51   #4
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Re: Is Flying Your Ensign a Requirement ?

No Requirement to fly your country flag when you get here, - we do have some draconian clearance processes, but flying your flag isn't one of them.
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Old 18-08-2011, 16:51   #5
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Re: Is Flying Your Ensign a Requirement ?

i do not fly usa flag. i only fly the flag of country i am visiting, q flag when entering a new port. that is all required.
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Old 18-08-2011, 16:55   #6
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Re: Is Flying Your Ensign a Requirement ?

On the sport fisher I work on we never fly our ensign or Mexican courtesy flag when we go into Mexican waters. The Mexican Navy has never hassled us about it. When I take my own private boat, we have both the ensign and the courtesy flags up. My own belief is that if you act like a professional mariner who's obeying custom and convention (and in some cases, laws) you'll be treated accordingly.
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Old 18-08-2011, 17:13   #7
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Re: Is Flying Your Ensign a Requirement ?

Generally, it would be better not to fly your country's national ensign than to fly that of another State. Sailing under false colours usually carries the implication of being up to no good. Of course, if you are up to no good, it serves little purpose to advertise it.
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Old 18-08-2011, 17:55   #8
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Re: Is Flying Your Ensign a Requirement ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by grunzster View Post
Or can you just fly the quarantine flag upon arrival, and then the courtesy flag after going through customs?
A charter boat full of Canadians didn't like the French flag on their Moorings boat so hauled it down and put up the Maple Leaf. They changed their minds after they were fined US$2,000

T'was in the Caribbean somewhere but forget where.
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Old 19-08-2011, 07:16   #9
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Re: Is Flying Your Ensign a Requirement ?

svHyLyte - I'd recommend against telling someone South of mile marker 100 that Conch Republic is a BS flag!

...yes that part of the question was a joke.
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Old 19-08-2011, 19:31   #10
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As someone who lived and sailed the Keys for 8 years, I flew the US ensign from the stern and the Conch Rep. From the star. spreader.
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Old 20-08-2011, 08:28   #11
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Re: Is Flying Your Ensign a Requirement ?

I thought novelty flags were for the port spreader and courtesy, Q and other signals were for the starboard.

National flags or their civil ensign equivalent, where applicable, were for a staff off the transom or a jackstaff on the bow, and club burgees were for a pigstick at the masthead.
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Old 20-08-2011, 08:34   #12
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pirate Re: Is Flying Your Ensign a Requirement ?

Every flag/or lack off.. tells... or should tell your story.. so to speak...
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Old 20-08-2011, 08:43   #13
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See the post by Grunzster- Conchs don't consider a Conch Rep. flag to be a "novelty" flag.
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Old 20-08-2011, 08:48   #14
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Re: Is Flying Your Ensign a Requirement ?

Hylyte has got it right, and I have seen boats pulled over in the Caribbean for not flying an ensign--the local patrol boats want to know who they are dealing with.

That being said, we didn't fly our US ensign up the Red Sea, and no one bothered us.
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Old 20-08-2011, 08:49   #15
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Re: Is Flying Your Ensign a Requirement ?

Proper flag ettiquit is like good table manners. Some people have them, others do not.
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