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Old 16-01-2020, 09:56   #1
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At anchor signal?

When the weather is appropriate, we often put out a sea anchor and go swimming.

This seems to confuse people who are motoring in the general area. (They actually get angry)

Is there some flag or other signal I can fly to tell people I'm not moving.

I googled a little and someone said from Calder you are supposed to hang a black ball.

Alternately I could hang a diving flag and buoy, though I'm technically not diving.

What do you think?
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Old 16-01-2020, 10:03   #2
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Re: At anchor signal?

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Originally Posted by Tmacmi View Post
When the weather is appropriate, we often put out a sea anchor and go swimming.

This seems to confuse people who are motoring in the general area. (They actually get angry)

Is there some flag or other signal I can fly to tell people I'm not moving.

I googled a little and someone said from Calder you are supposed to hang a black ball.

Alternately I could hang a diving flag and buoy, though I'm technically not diving.

What do you think?
The black ball is the daytime signal that shows you are at anchor. Unfortunately, I don't think this will help you much since most Americans don't use the anchor ball and I suspect that many do not know what it means. A diver down flag would get their attention, although as you say, you are not diving.

If it really is a problem - I>'d use the diver flag - if nothing else it alerts others that there are people in the water
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Old 16-01-2020, 10:11   #3
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Re: At anchor signal?

You could fly the Mike flag - 'my vessel is stopped' or the Tango flag - 'keep clear.'

However, most boaters have no clue what nautical flags mean.
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Old 16-01-2020, 10:25   #4
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Re: At anchor signal?

Diver flag. Pop your head under water at least once. There. You're diving.

Seriously, good discussion. I think a diver flag would effectively alert others to the fact that there are people in the water. Stay within 75' of the flag. I'd use the red and white version, everyone knows that. The Bravo flag (blue and white swallowtail) could be used, but few people recognize it, at least around here. I've also seen the orange spar float some divers use. Even fewer recognize that.
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Old 16-01-2020, 10:32   #5
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Re: At anchor signal?

The black ball isn't appropriate because you're not anchored and none of the other signals other than the dive flag are well known enough to have much use. So I think the two best choices are either the dive flag or nothing at all.

But it seems to me that anyone getting mad at you and then somehow letting you know that has other, more serious issues they need to deal with than your lack of a signal that you've stopped to go for a swim.
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Old 16-01-2020, 10:55   #6
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Re: At anchor signal?

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Originally Posted by Discovery 15797 View Post
You could fly the Mike flag - 'my vessel is stopped' or the Tango flag - 'keep clear.'

However, most boaters have no clue what nautical flags mean.
The alpha flag would be more appropriate: similar but not identical meaning to a diver down flag. The alpha flag and diver down flag is taught as part of the boater education cards (USA), so they at least have a chance of being recognized.
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Old 16-01-2020, 11:00   #7
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Re: At anchor signal?

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But it seems to me that anyone getting mad at you and then somehow letting you know that has other, more serious issues they need to deal with than your lack of a signal that you've stopped to go for a swim.
Yes its odd. Its not like we are setting up a the mouth of the inlet or something. We are about 3/4 mile off shore a mile down from the inlet. Its happened twice.

They are headed toward us and about a quarter mile away they seem to get confused that we aren't moving out of their path.

One thought I have about flying the red and white diver flag is enough people might not know what even that means and come over to see if we need help.
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Old 16-01-2020, 11:38   #8
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Re: At anchor signal?

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One thought I have about flying the red and white diver flag is enough people might not know what even that means and come over to see if we need help.
If they see your diver flag, even if they don't understand it, at least they have actually seen you and that should help them not hit you, which I suppose is the primary goal of signaling. If they approach and radio whether you need assistance, then you have the opportunity to help them learn what a diver flag means.

I raise a black ball when anchoring, though I understand that is not common everywhere. Other threads debating the usefulness of that have helped convince me that overall it is worth the effort.
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Old 16-01-2020, 11:53   #9
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Re: At anchor signal?

Failing to fly appropriate signal flags on the basis that "people don't know what they mean" is a bewildering response to me.

I don't know what all the flags and combinations mean. Of course I don't. But I do have a 157-page PDF on my ipad (and other sources of information) that let me find out. What a wonder the printed page is.

If I came across a boat with some flags up I didn't immediately recognise, I'd look them up like I always do, and then I'd know what they were saying. Then I could keep clear, or watch out for their diver, or at least know that they'd stopped. Isn't that the entire point of the flags?
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Old 16-01-2020, 12:26   #10
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Re: At anchor signal?

Not under command. 2 black balls
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Old 16-01-2020, 12:26   #11
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Re: At anchor signal?

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Failing to fly appropriate signal flags on the basis that "people don't know what they mean" is a bewildering response to me.

.......I'd look them up like I always do .............. Isn't that the entire point of the flags?
Of course. In theory. But you may be giving too much credit to motor boat operators on Lake Michigan. They are likely closing fast, may or may not have the flags loaded on their iPad, and may be more focused on getting their next beer open than figuring out what the flags / symbols mean. It's all very well to say "but they should" if justified righteous indignation is your goal. If your goal is to keep yourself and your loved ones from getting chopped up by their propeller, maybe a little realpolitik is in order. I vote diver flag.
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Old 16-01-2020, 18:28   #12
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Re: At anchor signal?

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Not under command. 2 black balls
Interesting. I was going to disagree, because I always understood that to mean some exceptional mechanical circumstance.

But the definition doesn't actually say that. It says:

Quote:
The term "vessel not under command" means a vessel which through some exceptional circumstance is unable to maneuver as required by these Rules and is therefore unable to keep out of the way of another vessel.
So, is swimming an "exceptional circumstance?" I could see that argument.

But the goal is to let other boats know to keep away. If by some chance they happened to know what NUC meant, and recognized the day shape, they might come over to offer assistance.
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Old 16-01-2020, 18:58   #13
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Re: At anchor signal?

The OP is lying to a sea anchor. He is not under command.
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Old 16-01-2020, 18:59   #14
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Re: At anchor signal?

Not under command does not mean you require assistance.
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Old 16-01-2020, 19:04   #15
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Re: At anchor signal?

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The Bravo flag (blue and white swallowtail) ??
Now that would be confusing for most international seafarers......

Marine signal flag: Letter "B" (Bravo)

International maritime signal message: "I am taking on, discharging, or carrying dangerous cargo"



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intern...e_signal_flags
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