Sailors Choice
Seamanship and Navigation

Hoisting and Dousing Flags:  Usually flags (or colors as they are oft referred to) are raised (made) at 0800 at most facilities and, as the gentleman in Mary Poppins sounded his canon upon raising the Union Jack, so may a signal shot be fired.  (Just be sure to check with your local authorities first, we had the SWAT Team dispatched to our yacht club after a hysterical woman called the police as we were giving a race finisher "the gun"....  When other flags are flown from the same halyard, the U. S. flag should always be at the peak. When other flags are flown from adjacent staffs, the U. S. flag should be hoisted first and lowered last. No flag may fly above or to the right of the U. S. flag (except flags of other nations)  On board, the US flag may be set at the stern at the same time as may be the yacht club burgee and an officer flag.  As the sun sets, colors should be lowered in reverse sequence that they are set, the ensign off the stern always being the last to be secured.

The U.S. Flag may be flown from all U.S. yachts.  At anchor, all boats should fly it from the stern staff only when someone is aboard.  It is flown from the stern staff of powerboats underway. If the powerboat has a mast and gaff, it is proper to fly the flag on the gaff. On a sportsfisher, where a stern staff would be in the way of fishing, fly it from a halyard rigged just behind the tuna tower.

On most modern sailboats the flag is flown from a stern staff while at anchor and occupied or underway, but not when racing.  Sailboats under sail may fly the ensign from the leech of the aftermost sail, approximately 2/3 the length of the leech above the clew, about the same position it would occupy if it were gaff-rigged as  it is proper to fly the ensign from the peak of the aftermost gaff boats so rigged

Yacht Club Burgee:  The hours which a burgee is flown is determined by each individual yacht club.
On power boats it is flown from a bow staff and on sailboats, from the forward mast on its own halyard, usually on the starboard side.  Burgees are not flown while racing.
Officer Flags:  Color designates ranking and is blue (with white design) for senior officers; red for next lower in rank; and white (with blue design) for lower ranks and may be rectangular, swallow-tailed or triangular.  An officer flag is flown in place of the owner's private signal on all rigs of motor and sailing vessels except single-masted sailboats, when it is flown in place of the club burgee at the masthead. 
Honoring Other National Flags:  It is proper to fly the flag of a foreign nation on your boat when you enter and operate in its waters. Because there are a limited number of positions from which flags may be flow, the courtesy flag usually displaces one of the flags commonly displayed in home waters. It is not hoisted until clearance has been completed and the yellow "Q" flag has been removed, and the vessel has been granted pratique (use of foreign waters).  The following are general guidelines to follow regarding courtesy flags: 
On a mastless powerboat, the courtesy flag of another nation is normally flown at the bow of the boat. 
When a motorboat has a mast with spreaders, the courtesy flag is flown at the starboard spreader. 
On a two-masted motorboat, the courtesy flag is flown at the forward starboard spreader. 
On a sailboat, the courtesy flag is flown at the boat's forward starboard spreader.
The U.S. flag, club burgee, officer flag, and private signal are flown as in home waters.
Both American and courtesy national flags shall be displayed when entering or leaving a harbor during daylight hours, or at any other time when recognition is required. The American flag should be at least as large as the courtesy flag.
Flying at Half-Mast:  A flag is flown at half-mast (or half-staff) in respect for a deceased person and only the President or a state, territory or possession governor can order a flag to half-mast. The American flag is flown at half-mast until 1220 on Memorial Day.  Aboard, the flag is flown about 3/4 of the way up the staff mounting it to the stern.

A yacht club commodore or official of a similar organization can only request that the burgee or organization flag may be half-masted, not the American flag. Some yacht clubs fly their burgee at half-mast in mourning the death of a club member. A vessel may fly the private signal at half-mast on the death of the owner.

Great Ideas!

Have you ever taken a navigation class or are you planning to take one?  If so, you need the Coastal Navigation Tool No more frustrating formulas to remember like "East is Least" or "True Virtue Makes Dull Company" or when to Add - when to Subtract.  Now with the turn of only two dials, you can make Corrections of Variation and/or Deviation and find the Correct Course to Steer  instantly. 

Virtual Sailing!
Don't just surf the web, sail in your computer!

Suggestions? E-mail it to us at Sailors Choice
Back to Seamanship & Navigation

Cruise back to SAILORS CHOICE

copyright Makai Promotions 1997-2009FP, Web-Design by Makai Promotions