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Old 28-11-2020, 14:03   #1
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How Big Does Our Flag of Registry Need to Be?

Finally got my boat registered. Do I actually need to put a flag on it for legal reasons? I don't mind courtesy flags but on a small boat a flag showing country of registry seems kind of annoying as it will get in the way. If it is necessary can I just use a courtesy flag sized one?

Canadian citizen registered in Canada but will travel potentially worldwide.
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Old 28-11-2020, 14:25   #2
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Re: How Big Does Our Flag of Registry Need to Be?

Not sure about other countries, but Canada does not require you to fly a flag. (But registered boat DOES require name and port (with minimum size and legible font.)

I've seen all sizes of flags, and recall a recommendation something like 1" for each foot boat length. Really, your choice while in Canadian waters.

This past covid19 summer, we saw quite a few USA boats up here NOT flying their flag...
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Old 28-11-2020, 14:27   #3
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Re: How Big Does Our Flag of Registry Need to Be?

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Not sure about other countries, but Canada does not require you to fly a flag. (But registered boat DOES require name and port (with minimum size and legible font.)

This past covid19 summer, we saw quite a few USA boats up here NOT flying their flag...
Oh good, I won't get one for Canada then

Thanks
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Old 28-11-2020, 14:30   #4
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Re: How Big Does Our Flag of Registry Need to Be?

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Oh good, I won't get one for Canada then

Thanks
Well, some countries might insist.

I know my sailing colleagues here in Vancouver appreciate a boat flying its flag of registry.
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Old 28-11-2020, 14:31   #5
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Re: How Big Does Our Flag of Registry Need to Be?

Flag is not required in the US either.

The convention for choosing to fly one is 1" long per 1' of boat length. My personal preference is that results in a flag too big for flying from the transom and too small for one flown from the backstay.
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Old 28-11-2020, 14:35   #6
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Re: How Big Does Our Flag of Registry Need to Be?

For my backstay halyard, I lashed a block to it with a Blake's Hitch, tied a downfall to the Main Halyard and used it to slide the block up the backstay. I'm quite pleased with myself at the ingenuity. You mentioned you didn't want the flag in your way, the backstay would solve that.
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Old 28-11-2020, 14:44   #7
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Re: How Big Does Our Flag of Registry Need to Be?

As to when you are supposed to fly the flag ... This is what the Canada Shipping Act says:

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Obligation to fly flag
(2) The master of a Canadian vessel, other than one registered in the small vessel register, shall ensure that it flies the Canadian flag
  • (a) when signalled to do so by a government vessel or a vessel under the command of the Canadian Forces; or
  • (b) when entering or leaving, or while moored at or anchored in, a port.
There seems to be no mention of size, but I guess it ought to be properly visible.
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Old 28-11-2020, 14:49   #8
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Re: How Big Does Our Flag of Registry Need to Be?

Different places have different rules, and it can sometimes be difficult to find them out, just like different yacht clubs have different orders for dressing ship.

In Indonesia, for example, one's flag of national registration may not be as large as one's Indonesia courtesy flag.

Normally, one's own registry flag should be at the least the same in inches on the long dimension as the length on deck of the vessel. By that standard, we should fly a national flag of 48" in length, as 46 in. ones are not made. But in practice, we don't: our flags are 36", and even then, in some conditions they foul on our solar panel arch.

As to not flying the registry flag, it probably depends, legally, on what the local's rules are. The flags wear out pretty fast, and it is easy to be caught without. It's not hard to anticipate for a season, or even a year, but on an open ended journey, you may want a flag book and fabric from which to make the courtesy flags to have ready to display after clearing in. In our case, we obtained spinnaker cloth remnants from sailmakers, to use for the fabrics, and one courtesy flag made from that cloth will last about 3 months. If you add a net spoiler to the outer vertical edge, they will go longer. It is always that edge that fails first. Some people consider that defacing a flag; others think it is "taking better care of it."

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Old 28-11-2020, 14:50   #9
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Re: How Big Does Our Flag of Registry Need to Be?

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Originally Posted by Heathenly Twins View Post
Canadian citizen registered in Canada but will travel potentially worldwide.
Foreigners will think you are American, its difficult for us to tell the difference. For that reason alone I would fly a Canadian flag if travelling.

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Old 28-11-2020, 16:14   #10
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Re: How Big Does Our Flag of Registry Need to Be?

^^^^Touche'!
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Old 28-11-2020, 16:19   #11
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Re: How Big Does Our Flag of Registry Need to Be?

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Foreigners will think you are American, its difficult for us to tell the difference. For that reason alone I would fly a Canadian flag if travelling.

Pete

Funny we can always spot a Brit!
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Old 28-11-2020, 17:18   #12
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Re: How Big Does Our Flag of Registry Need to Be?

People assume I'm from the USA everywhere anyway, lol.

I should fill my sentences with gratuitous use of the word 'eh' so they know ��
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Old 28-11-2020, 17:31   #13
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Funny we can always spot a Brit!
Then why was I always asked if I was an Aussie or S African when I was there..
Mind.. in Portugal everyone asks if I am Dutch or German..
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Old 29-11-2020, 10:02   #14
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Re: How Big Does Our Flag of Registry Need to Be?

Big enough to be visible to the authorities but small enough to not look stupidly large on your boat.

The rule of thumb is 1inch per foot LOA but that means on our 40ft the flag is over 3ft along the long edge. Given we only have a small flag staff and a 3ft flag would be nearly trailing in the sea we decided to go half sized. It is still easily visible and doesn't tend to get snagged on things.

Wether we need to fly the Red Ensign or not we fly it as we are proud Brits and what to show where we come from. If you don't fly your national ensign are you basically saying you are not proud of your nation??

The origin of the practice of lowering the ensign at sunset and raising again at sunrise dates back to the 1700's when a junior clerk at the Admiralty noticed the amount of money being spent on flags. He came up with the idea to halve the flag bill and it has stuck. Not that I personally bother with it myself.
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Old 29-11-2020, 10:20   #15
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Smile Re: How Big Does Our Flag of Registry Need to Be?

From my experience, if you are American or Dutch as big as possible but not quite trailing in the water. For all other according to the size of the flag staff.
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