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Old 29-08-2010, 21:52   #1
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Q Flag for 'Foreign' Yacht Clubs

When visiting yacht clubs, would it be appropriate to display the yellow flag until such time one is "accepted" and logged in?
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Old 29-08-2010, 21:58   #2
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Q-Flag is for immigration and quarantine. Not really related to yacht clubs.

Arrival procedures vary by country so it is best to research and then ask around for specific countries as you get going.

Malaysia did not make a fuss about Q flag, Singapore did not make a fuss about Q flag. Indonesia did. So we finally got one and rigged it. Now we fly it on all arrivals until we have cleared immigration.

It is also courteous to fly your registered flag country off the stern and the flag of the country you are visiting off the spreader. Some countries will require this.

Know before you go.
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Old 29-08-2010, 22:33   #3
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I was unclear. Let's say one's a member of the Richmond (California) yacht club and has entered the San Francisco (California) Yacht Club harbor? Don't flags have different meanings in different contexts? Doesn't "Q" mean one is requesting approval/acceptance/inspection?
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Old 30-08-2010, 00:01   #4
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No - the Q flag is a specific sign under the international meaning of your signaling flags - see International Code Flags or Signaling Flags - BoatSafe.com

As a joke then maybe that would become practice within a particular area, but do not discount being approached by the authorities and being asked to explain where you ahve come from that you are requesting pratique. If the US wanted to create such a convention then a different flag should be used!

In Morocco they certainly expect it, and reentering the EU you need it too. Malta entry formalities are currently such a mess that even boats traveling within Schengen and all EU nationals and flag are advised to fly it.
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Old 30-08-2010, 00:04   #5
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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"A ship can signal a request for "Pratique" by flying a solid yellow square-shaped flag. This yellow flag is the Q flag


Pratique is the license given to a ship to enter port on assurance from the captain to convince the authorities that he/she is free from contagious disease.

The clearance granted is commonly referred to as Free Pratique"



Assuming you are free of diseases, you should be able to enter the other yacht club….But what about them!!
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Old 30-08-2010, 00:56   #6
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Technically you should fly your own club's burgee as their may be reciprocity agreements between your club and the one you are visiting. Generally, most US yacht clubs follow the lead of the New York Yacht Club's 'routine,' and it would be appropriate to fly flags in accordance with that routine.

US Yachting Flags

Use of internationally recognized flags for purposes other than their official meaning is generally prohibited or considered in bad taste, and this would include the 'Q' flag
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Old 30-08-2010, 01:11   #7
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the Q flag is understood internationally as a means to indicate arrival and inspection. I am free from plague please allow me access.
If you are even considering a boating club that hold itself in such high esteem that it expects prospective members to fly the same flag, i would pass it by.
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Old 30-08-2010, 01:35   #8
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I've sent an email asking for guidance from the US Coast Guard on this issue. If a response is received, I'll post it here.

I'm quite familiar with Chapman and NYYC guidance on flag etiquette.

A couple of USPS dictates I don't agree with:

"United States Power Squadrons believes that a state flag should not be flown on a vessel unless the vessel is state owned (where the flag would be flown as a house flag or private signal), the governor is embarked (where the flag would be flown as an officer flag), or some state business is being transacted on board (where the flag would be flown as an officer flag).
Flags are worn on vessels to convey some type of specific information about a boat or its personnel. Just like you wouldn't fly a national ensign from the stern of your vessel for patriotic reasons (the national ensign worn identifies the country of registry—which is not necessarily that of the owner or operator), you shouldn't fly a state flag just because you live in or like a particular state.

...

"It is important to point out that no matter how these laws read, the USPS ensign should never be flown on the same halyard as a state flag. Since the state flag is considered a private signal or officer flag when flown on a boat, it is not superior to the USPS ensign. If it is necessary to fly a state flag on the starboard halyard, the USPS ensign should be removed."

So, you may fly your national flag but not one's state flag? And the USPS is superior to a sovereign state to which I pay license fees and taxes? Not in my opinion. (I'm not a USPS member, so wouldn't be flying a USPS flag regardless.)
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Old 30-08-2010, 02:00   #9
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How does this relate to the Q flag question?
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Old 30-08-2010, 02:37   #10
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It doesn't. Sorry for the rant.

Perhaps a "K" signal would be appropriate when approaching a private harbor/club.
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Old 30-08-2010, 06:03   #11
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Technically you should fly your own club's burgee as their may be reciprocity agreements between your club and the one you are visiting. Generally, most US yacht clubs follow the lead of the New York Yacht Club's 'routine,' and it would be appropriate to fly flags in accordance with that routine.
Technically it requires a lot more than that. Flying a burgee pretty much gets you nothing on it's own. I still fly mine under way.

In the case of club reciprocity the whole thing is a lot more formal than just showing up. For the good clubs that offer reciprocity where you really might be anxious to stay the whole thing starts with a an exchange of letters between Commodores. The letters outline what each club will give to the members of the other club and any terms and conditions. It's all very gracious and friendly. Most commodores like to play up how nice they are and it's sort of a fun thing to do. The tradition requires new letters each year. Upon arrival you might call on the radio or at minimum check in with the dock master after having had contact before the date you arrived and requested a reservation from the dock master and find out if space was available. I have called in the morning and had good luck that same day. One local Yacht club offers free space but they never have an open slip since their membership is so large and the slip count so low. Some will let you tie up for lunch and then pay cash. Many clubs only bill the membership and can't handle cash. It's less common than it used to be. Some in FL will let you bill your own club account.

The general rule is you only get one free night and you might pay for electric. With our club you can extend the stay a few days for a modest fee and of course in foul weather no club would ever force you to leave. It also is usually a one free night per year limit. Should a local member sponsor you they may charge a guest rate much as in a daily transient rate at a commercial marina.
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Old 30-08-2010, 06:34   #12
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How does this relate to the Q flag question?
The original “Q” (& later "K" suggestion) question provide perspectives from which to judge the validity of his opinion vs that of the USPS etc.
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Old 30-08-2010, 07:27   #13
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Originally Posted by markpierce View Post
I was unclear. Let's say one's a member of the Richmond (California) yacht club and has entered the San Francisco (California) Yacht Club harbor? Don't flags have different meanings in different contexts? Doesn't "Q" mean one is requesting approval/acceptance/inspection?
No. First of all, you're the 'foreign' entity....the locals aren't.

Secondly, a Q flag has a specific definition - which you can find in the International Code of Signals book, HO Pub 102 (page 22 of the 1996 US edition):
Quote:
Q My vessel is “healthy” and I request free pratique.
It has nothing at all to do with private concerns, only the legal requirements for clearance into a different country.

If you want to fly it for some unique reason, I guess you're welcome to. However, you will be demonstrating that you don't know what you're doing. Your call.
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Old 30-08-2010, 07:30   #14
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It doesn't. Sorry for the rant.

Perhaps a "K" signal would be appropriate when approaching a private harbor/club.
How many yacht clubs have anyone looking out for signal flags?

For that matter, how many have a competent person on a radio?

And K means "I desire to communicate with you". If you want to communicate, there are simpler ways of doing it.
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Old 30-08-2010, 10:01   #15
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reentering the EU you need it too
No you dont, most med countries dont know what it means. You might as well fly your underwear on the spreaders.

As to yacht club reciprocity. Thats seems to be a US thing, ( and perhaps a British thing). MOsty European yachts clubs have no concept of such things, either they welcome visting yachts or they dont, its isnt based on any agreement. Most are often a form of country club ( especially spain) where they will turn you away irrespective of your burgee

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