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Old 25-08-2015, 07:19   #31
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Re: Questions about diver down flag

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Originally Posted by Dr. Strangelove View Post
Having lived in FL for seven years, I can tell you that every enforcement officer I ran into had their own interpretation of the diver down flag law. It's also one of their favorite ways to pop tourists for $150 or whatever it is now.
It is weird here isn't it; we didn't get fined, but we were reprimanded for breaking the rules/law out at those rocks a couple of miles off Marathon: I was snorkelling not diving, wearing a fluorescent orange tee-shirt and towing a small diver down flag/float. My attire and personal flag were however, irrelevant; the offence was that our yacht itself on the mooring buoy, a good 200+ yards away wasn't flying a diver down flag. The Officer (no idea what department, but he had a nice hat and a gun) further amazed me by confirming that if I was to return to the boat, hoist the personal flag up to the crosstrees and even if I chose, leave the hi-vis tee-shirt there too, then come back out effectively 'unmarked'; that was OK/legal - WTF?
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Old 25-08-2015, 07:51   #32
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Re: Questions about diver down flag

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It is weird here isn't it; we didn't get fined, but we were reprimanded for breaking the rules/law out at those rocks a couple of miles off Marathon: I was snorkelling not diving, wearing a fluorescent orange tee-shirt and towing a small diver down flag/float. My attire and personal flag were however, irrelevant; the offence was that our yacht itself on the mooring buoy, a good 200+ yards away wasn't flying a diver down flag. The Officer (no idea what department, but he had a nice hat and a gun) further amazed me by confirming that if I was to return to the boat, hoist the personal flag up to the crosstrees and even if I chose, leave the hi-vis tee-shirt there too, then come back out effectively 'unmarked'; that was OK/legal - WTF?
You didn't get fined because you weren't breaking the law. There is nothing in the statute (327.331) that requires a vessel to display a dive flag when it has divers in the water. It requires divers to display a dive flag and it gives you the option of displaying a large flag from the vessel or a smaller one from a towed float. Assuming your flag on your float met the legal size requirements you were not required to have one on the vessel. Florida water cops are not hired for their legal expertise.
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Old 25-08-2015, 08:04   #33
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Re: Questions about diver down flag

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>>Additionally how does one put a 1 meter flag on a divers float?

Colregs don't say anything about a float. In colregs, flag A must be on boat. BTW, also in colregs, flag A must be "rigid" (eg not fabric).

>> Technically the alpha flag simply means that the vessel is restricted in its ability to maneuver, not that it has a diver in the water.

Mmm . . . . Fine point, but flag A does specifically imply dive operations underway (from a small boat, as there are other signals for dive ops from a bigger boat).

>>The alpha flag does not imply a safety zone for the divers.

Mmmm . . . . Again fine point, but while colregs do not set a specific safety zone size they do require common sense and common care which would require passing vessels to give sufficient room for the diving operations.
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Old 25-08-2015, 09:02   #34
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Re: Questions about diver down flag

" Why all of sudden have a red/white one?"
All of a sudden? In 1970 it was already the long-used and well-known US standard developed here (afaik) and nationally established by the industry here.
It is meant to be flown BY DIVERS, not by SHIPPING.


Blue Peter: I'd suspect that when sailors heard a cannon or saw "P" hoisted on their vessel while in port, they'd complain about Peter being blue...because half of them were in bars and the other half in whorehouses (unless they had a wife in that port) neither half terribly happy to be called back out to sea without notice.(G)


Visitors to US waters, have way more than dive flags to figure out. IALA A-vs-B buoyage schemes, US VHF radio channels (which use different frequency pairs), the scarcity of Vegemite, and except for Chicago, our police don't even wear proper "checkerboard" stripes, only the airport baggage handlers and taxis do!
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Old 25-08-2015, 09:02   #35
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Re: Questions about diver down flag

The red and white dive flag is what you will see in FL, it may not carry the force of law, but it is the industry standard, almost everyone knows what it means when they see it.
The "Alpha" flag may carry the force of law, but I doubt many local powerboaters in Fl would know what it meant. At least in FL, I'd fly the red and white dive flag.
Dive flags are pretty often ignored to be truthful, I wish I had a quarter for every time I was tied into a "wreck" diving with my dive flag displayed, to have a fishing boat run right up and drop anchor right where we are diving, then drop their invisible lines with sharp kooks on them.
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Old 25-08-2015, 09:06   #36
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Re: Questions about diver down flag

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" Why all of sudden have a red/white one?"
All of a sudden? In 1970 it was already the long-used and well-known US standard developed here (afaik) and nationally established by the industry here.
It is meant to be flown BY DIVERS, not by SHIPPING.

Pretty sure it was the late 40's, but was being adopted by many by the early 50's. It has been long established, pretty much since the very beginning of sport diving.
My Parents first started diving in the very early 50's, I've got a bunch of 16mm film somewhere of them diving


On edit, apparently the 1950's
http://www.floridadiveconnection.com...ver-down-flag/
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Old 25-08-2015, 09:11   #37
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Re: Questions about diver down flag

The best 'diver down' flag I have seen to date:

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Old 25-08-2015, 09:21   #38
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Re: Questions about diver down flag

The striped dive flag is in fact required by Florida law for divers.
I tried to upload petroglyphs of my 100x-great-grandparents diving, but YouTube said the format was incompatible, something about only accepting igneous rock at this time. (G)


"Florida water cops are not hired for their legal expertise. "
Are cops anywhere?
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Old 25-08-2015, 09:25   #39
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Re: Questions about diver down flag

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" red/white flag" . . . . . In 1970 it was already the long-used and well-known US standard developed here (afaik) and nationally established by the industry here.
Hmmmm . . . . not really . . . .

"The U.S. federal government has no rules about using the red-and-white dive flag. However, most U.S. states do, and so do some local governments.

There is no consistent, simple rule in the U.S. It often depends on where you are, how far off-shore you are, and whether you're diving from a boat. Moreover, it's often not easy to find the law that applies to you. Generally, the first place to look is in the rules governing boating, often published by the state department of natural resources." Source: Dive Flag Law

BTW the Florida law says "4. Any divers-down flag displayed from a vessel must be displayed from the highest point of the vessel or such other location which provides that the visibility of the divers-down flag is not obstructed in any direction." That would imply (in Florida) the masthead is a proper/legal place to fly it on a sailboat.
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Old 25-08-2015, 09:30   #40
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Re: Questions about diver down flag

The dive flag is an Industry established "rule"
Really just like a "Visual Inspection" for your tanks, you'll find no law of any kind that requires your tanks have a VIP sticker (I don't think), but try to get them filled without one.
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Old 25-08-2015, 09:46   #41
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Re: Questions about diver down flag

Dive shop "VIP" rules are bunk. In fact there IS one law on the books. The DOT requires a visual inspection before any hydrostatic test is performed, which means that when a tank is hydro'd and stamped, a VIP has also just been done, conforming to federal safety standards. And the VIP that the dive shop adds for another $20? Now THAT'S A TRUE RIP-OFF since the tank has just had a federally mandated VIP performed on it!


The US dive industry is full of crap like that, as bitter dive shop owners find out the hobby they loved is not necessarily a good way to earn a living. Not unless you're in a resort area and can book lots of business.


"There is no consistent, simple rule in the U.S."
And there isn't supposed to be. Remember? The Federal Republic (like the Confederation before it) was formed to coin a common currency, fight the British, and do a few other things that have no relevance to sport diving. We're supposed to have separate sovereign states providing alternative options on everything else.
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Old 25-08-2015, 10:08   #42
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Re: Questions about diver down flag

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Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
" red/white one?"
It is meant to be flown BY DIVERS, not by SHIPPING.
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Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
. We're supposed to have separate sovereign states providing alternative options on everything else.
Well, I am not going to debate federalism here (I think you lost that war a long ago). . . But I will just point out that the US colregs do apply to ALL U.S. vessels, not just Shipping, and that most definitely includes dive boats. And the colreg's very clearly lay out dive signals, and they are not the red/white one. You may need (due to "sovereign" state laws) or choose (because of sport convention) to fly the red/white one also, but the colregs are not optional.
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Old 25-08-2015, 10:21   #43
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Re: Questions about diver down flag

Red and White made even more popular in the early 80s by this famous album:

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Old 25-08-2015, 10:40   #44
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Re: Questions about diver down flag

According to some people on some scuba forums, rule 27(e) has been interpreted in a court somewhere to only apply to situations where the divers are attached to the boat via lines or compressed air hoses. Unfortunately I don't have a reference at this time. The logic being that free swimming divers do not restrict. the ability of the vessel to maneuver.
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Old 25-08-2015, 11:06   #45
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Re: Questions about diver down flag

^^

Official interpretation: "A vessel engaged in diving operations, whether underway or at anchor, is usually considered restricted in its ability to maneuver if divers are attached to the vessel while diving. If divers are swimming free, it is the responsibility of the operator to determine if the vessel's movements are restricted by the diving operation. If the vessel cannot keep out of the way of other vessels as required by the Navigation Rules, the vessel must exhibit, by day, the "A" flag signal. "

So, essentially it is your choice if the divers are unconnected, but you would (usually) be foolish not to fly the flag as it gives you privileges and allows you to maneuver to cover and protect the divers.

Further from that official interpretation . . . .

"It is reaffirmed the need for and sufficiency of the "A" flag signal as a means of
indicating that vessels engaged in diving operations were restricted in their ability to maneuver. The red-and-white flag may not be used in lieu of the "A" flag signal because it does not serve as a navigation signal and does not indicate that a vessel is restricted in its ability to maneuver. The Council strongly recommended that, during diving operations, the red-and-white flag be exhibited on a float in the water to mark the location of divers, regardless of whether, in the determination of the operator, his or her vessel was required to exhibit the "A" flag signal. "
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