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Buyer's Guide

Choosing the Right Boat Flags

The history of boat flags dates back to as early as 16th century, when flags were created to warn enemy ships of their impending doom. Nowadays, they are primarily used to compliment the hull, size and design of a boat. With boat sales and decorative trends on the rise in recent years, buyers guide for boating accessories have become increasingly popular.

A boat flag is a flat black flag which is affixed to the stern of the boat with a special hook to allow for a 'burgee flag' to be hoisted. Burgee flags are typically made from high quality canvas material, which makes them highly durable enough to fly even in strong winds on high waters or over open seas. All the major pirate flag pole flags are constructed using high quality weather-resistant material, and all are screen printed on the back and front side for easy identification. The design of the flag, as well as the size and material used, depends upon the size and purpose of the boat.

The boat flags used for commercial as well as private purposes are available in a variety of sizes, shapes, colors and designs, which make them ideal for almost any occasion. While there are specific requirements, such as size and shape, there is no prescribed uniformity in the design of boat flags. A popular choice for commercial uses is the 'fishbone' flag, which depicts a great variety of marine life in its natural habitat, such as sharks, rays, penguins and much more. Another popular design is the'sea snail' which depicts a snail laying eggs, with the underside having the image of a creature crawling out of the egg. There are also other designs such as the swallow which signifies the country of the owner, the red pennant featuring the flag of the USA and the black pennant which represents the Black Country.

For personal use, there are many different styles to choose from as well. Some of the popular designs include the flame with crown, flag with flames, pentagon, anchor flag, pennant with anchor, boat flags with swallow, fish, and wave. All have distinct looks and are extremely eye-catching. The swallow depicts a flight of birds, an image reminiscent of the sea. The pentagon, which features a stylized compass, is an excellent choice for anyone who wants to showcase hisautical knowledge and background.

Boat flags serve the dual purpose of adding personality to the boat and of announcing to the people on board that the boat is sailing the seas. These dual purposes make the boat flag a very important addition to the boater's wardrobe. Boats without an appropriate flag are prone to be disregarded by other boaters. An easy way to announce your boat is with an ensign flag which can be raised on deck or in the hold.

There are other types of flags such as courtesy flags, which are usually hoisted or blown in the hold. These flags are used to show that the boat is being safely handled. When these flags are flown at the front of the boat, boaters can always be assured that they are being safely approached by other vessels. This safety feature is often overlooked by newer boaters, but is extremely important to newer ships and newer boat owners.

The material from which your boat flags are manufactured has other important characteristics which will affect their longevity. The type of material will dictate how long the flag pole will last and whether it is more resistant to wear than other materials. UV resistant materials are typically very durable and will stand up to the sun and the salt air. The material will also need to be extremely lightweight for portability, and strong enough to withstand winds. When purchasing your boat size flag pole you will need to inquire about the rod being used so that you will get the right material that is designed for your portability needs.

There are also flag systems available for boating which provide you with a private signal as well. These systems typically allow you to send out a photo or written indication which is readable from further away than your boat. Private signals are not meant for commercial use and are generally only allowed by government vessels and public airports, but they do provide a unique way to identify boats when you are not using a public signal.

Additional Information

What does the flag indicate on a boat?

The A (Alpha), for example, means "diver down and keep clear." The W (Whiskey), however, indicates that the boat is in a medical emergency. Combining the D (Delta), and V (Victor flags means that you are in difficulty and need assistance.

Where do flags go on a boat?

On all motor and sailing boats except single-masted sailboats where the owner's private signal is used, the officer flag is worn in lieu of the owner’s private signal. An officer flag can be flown from a radio antenna on motor boats that do not have a signal mast.

How are nautical flags used?

The purpose of nautical flags is to communicate in safety-related situations. It is an international code system that allows two or more boats to sign to one another. Each flag has a specific meaning.

Can you fly a pirate flag?

The Jolly Roger flag can be flown in the United States without any restrictions. However, it is possible to fly one. Jolly Roger, or a "pirate flag" in layman's terms, could be easily combined with a black banner containing a white skull with crossbones. It could therefore be identified easily.

What color is quarantine?

Yellow flag A yellow flag that designates the letter Q in International Code of Signals. It can be flown alone to indicate that a ship is healthy and asks for a pratique or combined with another flag to indicate that there are signs of disease aboard a ship. Also known as yellow flag.

What does a black flag mean on a ship?

A black flag, also known as a racing flag, is used to signal disqualification of a driver. When the black flag is displayed together with the preparatory sign in sail racing, any boat that crosses the starting line within the first minute of the signal is immediately disqualified.

What does a black flag mean?

In general, black flags are used by enemy forces to signify that enemy combatants are going to be killed rather than taken prisoner--essentially, the opposite of the white flag used to represent surrender. ... The majority of black American flags are completely black, making it nearly impossible to see stars and stripes.

What does a yellow and black flag mean on a boat?

Years ago, the International Code of Signals (ICOS), which was published in 1916, contained signals that indicated vessels suspected of harboring or could harbor contagious disease. Brown's 1916 edition included the L (Lima), a flag consisting of black and yellow squares that indicated that there was or could be an infectious disease aboard.

Why do ships fly flags in port?

Merchant ships are expected to fly the national flag of the country they visit when they enter or leave a foreign port. As a sign of respect, the port control can provide the details regarding the timings and flying of such a flag.

What does a yellow flag mean on a boat?

Quarantine flag Medical Definition: A yellow flag that is raised by all ships in order to ask for practice upon entering a harbor. It can be used by any ship to indicate that it has a contagious or infectious disease aboard or by a ship that was quarantined. Also known as yellow flag or yellow jack.

What does blue flag mean in boating?

Diverse activity There are two types of flags that can be used to indicate diving activity. To mark the location of diving, a rectangular red flag is attached to a buoy with a white diagonal stripe. A blue-and white International Code Flag A (or Alpha) must be displayed on all boats participating in diving activities.

What is the meaning of a white and blue Marine flag?

The international code flag alfa/alpha is a white and blue symbol that indicates that a vessel has a diver onboard. Other vessels should avoid the diver and keep to a safe distance at slow speeds. When divers are in water, vessels that are accompanied by divers must display the Code Flag "A"

Do you have to fly a flag on a boat?

It is a good practice to fly the flags of foreign nations on your boat when you are entering or operating on its waters. Flags are limited in their ability to be displayed from a few positions.

What are pirate flags called?

Jolly Roger: A symbol of terror and pride tells the story of a skull and crossbones flag commonly known as the Jolly Roger. It has been associated for centuries with pirates. Jolly Roger's title is believed to be derived from the French phrase "joli Rouge", which means "pretty pink".

Do you have to fly a flag on a boat in international waters?

Fly your flag if you are taking your boat to international waters. Ensign flags can now be flown from the stern. This is a good way to display your ensign flags.

What does a pirate flag upside down mean?

Distress "Any flag that is flown upside-down is considered distress... Mutiny, Piracy, Sinking, Rebellion of the People or Government. Flags that are upside-down can be used to protest. Flags are a symbol for control and superiority.

Why are pirate flags Black?

The flag was clearly meant to signal their presence. Pirates, being enterprising men, soon discovered that their banners could communicate their intent to all ships passing by their path. Black flags indicated they were pirates and would consider giving quarter to the smugglers. A red flag bearing...

What does it mean to fly a pirate flag?

Jolly Roger, the English term for flags used to identify pirate ships about to attack during the Golden Age of Piracy's early 18th century, is the original English name. ... This flag became the most popular pirate flag in the 1720s. However, other designs were also used.

What size flag should I fly on my boat?

A flag should be 1" in length for every 1' of the boat's length. This will give you pleasing proportions. The flag staff should be twice as long as the flag's vertical edge. A 33' boat could fly a 24"x36" Yacht Ensign nautical flag on its flagstaff.

Why is the flag yellow?

Contagion (yellow flag) is a symbol of yellow fever, which was traditionally displayed on ships to signify the presence or absence of disease (obsolete). It can also be used in some cities to commemorate a recent death in a particular neighborhood.

Which country has a yellow flag?

For example, the most popular shade of yellow is found in flags of Vietnam, Columbia, Ghana and St. Lucia, which gives it a foothold across five continents. It also makes it the third most-popular individual shade.

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