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Old 27-01-2016, 08:55   #1
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Pilot Flag

Or should it be Pilot Jack?

Having studied Nautical matters in the past when I spot something that is not as per my previous understanding I feel compelled to get to the bottom of it!

The latest thing that is bugging me is the Pilot Flag.

Red & White yes but how are the colours arranged?

I note this flag is not in The International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea.

Look forward to replies.

Mike
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Old 27-01-2016, 08:57   #2
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Re: Pilot Flag

"H" I have a pilot aboard.

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Old 27-01-2016, 09:45   #3
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Re: Pilot Flag

Hoist is White.
Fly is Red.
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Old 27-01-2016, 10:01   #4
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Re: Pilot Flag

If you have a licensed pilot onboard, the flag which is flown to indicate this is the "H" Flag.

A Pilot Jack is a different flag altogether,and in the UK, went out of use in 1970.
For some info on the history of the pilot flag see
Pilot flag: United Kingdom
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Old 28-01-2016, 01:16   #5
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Re: Pilot Flag

Quote:
Originally Posted by nigel1 View Post
If you have a licensed pilot onboard, the flag which is flown to indicate this is the "H" Flag.

A Pilot Jack is a different flag altogether,and in the UK, went out of use in 1970.
For some info on the history of the pilot flag see
Pilot flag: United Kingdom
Thanks,

Very useful description.

My understanding has been that before modern communications a ship requiring a pilot would carry flag G (I require a Pilot)

A pilot cutter as it would be in those days carrying a pilot flag (White over Red, at least from 1808) as per the link in the above post would approach the ship and do a deal, 3 gold sovereigns, whatever.

Once the pilot was aboard the ship the ship would then carry flag H (I have a pilot on board). The ship would then not be pestered by other pilot cutters looking for business.

The thing is I have a recent training booklet indicating the correct flag for a pilot boat to carry is flag H which as you will understand is the reason for my post.

I also wonder if the pilot flag (white over red) was ever part of the IRPCS?

Thanks

Mike
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Old 28-01-2016, 02:09   #6
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Re: Pilot Flag

Pilot boats shouldn't fly the pilot flag although it is not unusual to see them doing so. The pilot on baord flag "H" is flown by the vessel being piloted

see here:

https://www.google.dk/search?q=marit...qEoPT0eynbM%3A
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Old 28-01-2016, 03:08   #7
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Re: Pilot Flag

There is no provision in the Colregs for any flag to be exhibited by a pilot boat, only the light signal White over Red.

The Pilot Flag (Horizontal White over Red) may be a local bye law requirement (incidentally, it is said that the colours of this flag represent Safety over Danger).
I know that in the UK, many pilot boats still fly the White over Red flag while on duty, here are a couple of pictures

River Mersey Pilot Cutter







Cowes Pilot Cutter



Liverpool Bar Pilot Ship (withdrawn from service in the early 1980's)
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Old 28-01-2016, 04:05   #8
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Re: Pilot Flag

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike1956 View Post
The thing is I have a recent training booklet indicating the correct flag for a pilot boat to carry is flag H which as you will understand is the reason for my post.

I also wonder if the pilot flag (white over red) was ever part of the IRPCS?
There are other "rules" beside the IRPCS that apply to ships. Download a copy of Interco from here: Maritime Safety Information
It will become clearer.
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Old 31-01-2016, 01:01   #9
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Re: Pilot Flag

Quote:
Originally Posted by nigel1 View Post
There is no provision in the Colregs for any flag to be exhibited by a pilot boat, only the light signal White over Red.

The Pilot Flag (Horizontal White over Red) may be a local bye law requirement (incidentally, it is said that the colours of this flag represent Safety over Danger).
I know that in the UK, many pilot boats still fly the White over Red flag while on duty, here are a couple of pictures

River Mersey Pilot Cutter







Cowes Pilot Cutter



Liverpool Bar Pilot Ship (withdrawn from service in the early 1980's)
Thanks Nigel,

I have previously searched for photographic evidence for the use of White over Red but had no luck. It seems it is generally obsolete but not quite!.

I am aware it is not in the current IRPCS ref my original post but am wondering if it ever was, say pre 1972?

Mike
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Old 31-01-2016, 14:02   #10
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Re: Pilot Flag

Interesting that the white over red pattern is also commonly used to mark the pilot ladder area on the ship http://www.ecomaritime.com/demonstra...Card_large.jpg

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Old 02-02-2016, 01:41   #11
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Re: Pilot Flag

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Originally Posted by Vasco View Post
"H" I have a pilot aboard.

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Having followed Nigels link about the history of the Pilot Jack I now understand that flag "H" will be correct in parts of the USA.

However I am in UK and the Distinguishing Pilot Flag in UK is White over Red.

Thanks

Mike
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Old 02-02-2016, 01:44   #12
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Re: Pilot Flag

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Originally Posted by carstenb View Post
Pilot boats shouldn't fly the pilot flag although it is not unusual to see them doing so. The pilot on baord flag "H" is flown by the vessel being piloted

see here:

https://www.google.dk/search?q=marit...qEoPT0eynbM%3A
carstenb,

Thanks for that. I note you say pilot vessels should not fly the pilot flag. I would appreciate it if you could guide my to a link to support this statement.

Mike
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Old 02-02-2016, 07:57   #13
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Re: Pilot Flag

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike1956 View Post
carstenb,

Thanks for that. I note you say pilot vessels should not fly the pilot flag. I would appreciate it if you could guide my to a link to support this statement.

Mike
The pilot flag "H" is flown by a vessel having a pilot on board. The pilot boat cannot fly this flag since even though the pilot boat has pilot(s) on board they are not performing their pilot function. (I'm not sure what the situation is if the pilot boat is leading a ship through a strait or similar and the led vessel does not physically have a pilot on board- then the pilot does a have a pilot on board performing the pilot function) -

Nigel or Lodesman - can you clear that up?

The flags shown on Nigels pics show a horizontal white over red flag - this is a traditional flag meaning the boat is a pilot boat.

The "H" pilot flag is vertical side by side white and red - not the same flag
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Old 02-02-2016, 08:14   #14
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Re: Pilot Flag

Its all a bit confusing is it not.

By tradition, pilot boats needed some sort of ID, but I guess thats less so nowadays, especially with AIS, and that a lot of pilot boats are pretty distinctive.

To be honest, I do not recall seeing a pilot boat with the H flag hoisted, but I have heard that some do.

BTW, I found a reference in the 1854 Merchant Shipping Act which states that a pilot cutter/boat is to display a flag, white horizontal band over a red band.
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Old 02-02-2016, 10:08   #15
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Re: Pilot Flag

Interestingly, the Colregs define nighttime lights for Pilot ships, however, they do not define any daytime shapes or flags. See below

29. Lights for pilot vessels
(a) A vessel engaged on pilotage duty shall exhibit:
at or near the masthead, two all-round lights in a vertical line, the upper being white and the lower red;
when underway, in addition, sidelights and a sternlight;
when at anchor, in addition to the lights prescribed in subparagraph (1), the light, lights, or shape prescribed in Rule 30 for vessels at anchor.
(b) A pilot vessel when not engaged on pilotage duty shall exhibit the lights or shapes prescribed for a similar vessel of her length.

I'm going to hazard a guess and say that a boat merely transporting pilots would not show the above lights. It would ony show the lights, if it were leading the main vessel

Interestingly, I can find no regulation that stipulates that a piloted vessel fly "H" (I have pilot on board) "G" means "I require a pilot"

Makes me think that the system started before radios (naturally) and ships flew the "G" asking for a pilot to come out and "H" to tell the competing pilots that the ship already had one and therefore the competition could stay away
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