Flag, Burgee & Pennant Etiquette


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Daria Blackwell
Daria Blackwell
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The OCC Flying Fish burgee helps us identify other members wherever we are in the world. OCC Members are asked to always fly their burgees, especially when entering an anchorage or harbour. Not only do other members and port officers identify us as part of the extended family of blue water cruisers, businesses identify us as eligible for special offers and discounts.

The RYA Flag Etiquette page details the rules and customs that prescribe display of flags, burgees, and courtesy flags for UK citizens. http://www.rya.org.uk/infoadvice/regssafety/flagetiquette/Pages/flagetiquette.aspx

It is a good article for British customs and regulations, some of which do not apply to other countries. For example, whereas the yacht ensign is the correct flag to fly for UK citizens throughout the world, the US yacht ensign may be flown only in US waters. The American flag must be flown outside US territory and by all US documented vessels in all waters. Here is a good overview of US flag etiquette as updated by the US Power Squadron with input from the NYYC and USCG. http://usps.org/f_stuff/etiquett.html

John Rousmaniere, respected author of the Annapolis Book of Seamanship and many other publications, has written extensively about flag etiquette from the US perspective. A good summary can be found here ...
http://www.sailnet.com/forums/seamanship-articles/19226-flying-flag.html

So, being a truly global organization, we should create a collection of respected articles on the flag etiquette of major nations reflecting the nationalities of our membership. A discussion associated with flag, burgee and pennant terminology and etiquette may also be useful.

Just to make things really interesting, here are the Australian customs and rules which offer three choices of ensign as well as a gin pennant. http://www.foxsportspulse.com/get_file.cgi?id=2741384

And here are the rules for New Zealand. Note choice of ensign or flag. http://www.crwflags.com/fotw/flags/nz~yacht.html
http://www.nava.org/sites/default/files/NAVA_Raven_v17_2010_p047-062.pdf

Vice Commodore, OCC 
Daria Blackwell
Daria Blackwell
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Here is an article on the different conventions of different nations:
http://www.sail-world.com/UK/Flag-Etiquette-on-a-sailing-boat-today/102443

And a very funny article written by OCC Member George Curtis!
http://www.oceancruisingclub.org/index.php/publications/60-fftest2011/flying-fish-2005-1-with-pictures/61-flag-etiquette

Vice Commodore, OCC 
Alex Blackwell
Alex Blackwell
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here is a discussion on burgee etiquette we wrote a few years ago from the American perspective:
http://www.coastalboating.net/Features/Editorials/2006/Burgees.html

here is one on flag etiquette in general:
http://cruising.coastalboating.net/Seamanship/Flags/FlagEtiquette.html
Bill Balme
Bill Balme
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I love these flag etiquette discussions - primarily because I completely flaunt them! One of the first people I met after actually qualifying as an OCC member - we were in Sao Jorge in the Azores - let me know in the first sentence of our meeting, that the 'boat over there ' was flying the flags wrong. Since he was pointing to Toodle-oo! I thought I 'd best listen.

Well I guess I was committing the cardinal sin of flying more than one burgee. Indeed not one, but three! Yes folks I fly three association burgees - from the port spreader (might move to the starboard side next year since we 're sailing in home waters so no need of a courtesy flag). They are the OCC, the SSCA and CA - and they are ALL triangular (shock, horror, probe!). By flying all three I figure I have greater chance of meeting fellow cruisers who belong to one or more of these associations (with hopefully some alcohol involved in the meeting and not a flag etiquette lesson). What 's wrong with that??? OK I could buy house flags and achieve the same thing - but it 's more fun to watch people cringe as we sail by!

Just to add to our problem, I also fly the red duster (small courtesy version) under the burgees (stop the presses, he does what???) - to indicate there 's a Brit aboard this American flagged boat. I figure I 'm safe on this one though since I saw the commodore flying the South African flag in a similar location.

I did get called on the incorrect ensign - I was using the fouled anchor - completely inappropriate in foreign waters - so that particular error has been permanently remedied...

Next year, back in home waters, I 'll be joining a yacht club... that 's one more burgee up the rigging to confound everyone! ;-)


Bill Balme
s/v Toodle-oo!
www.toodleoo.com

Bill Balme
s/v Toodle-oo!

Daria Blackwell
Daria Blackwell
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Here are some points for the Republic of Ireland 's use of flags on vessels.

http://www.crwflags.com/fotw/flags/ie~yens.html#lieu

Vice Commodore, OCC 
Simon Currin
Simon Currin
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Bill,
Good to see you are safely home. One thought. You could change the Red Duster to the Union Jack to maximise the cringe factor. :ohmy:
Simon
Daria Blackwell
Daria Blackwell
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Tee hee. We have a Union Jack. We wondered why it was so hard to find. I guess we 'll have to get an ensign some day. :)

Vice Commodore, OCC 
Simon Currin
Simon Currin
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Oh dear Daria doesn 't that mean you have the Queen aboard?
Alex Blackwell
Alex Blackwell
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Actually, Simon, our Union Jack is still unflown. We did not need it in Scotland...
Bill Balme
Bill Balme
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So, with all the recent turmoil about flying the burgee, I 'm considering putting up a pig stick...

Seems it 's not possible to buy one - so I have to make one or improvise... I found a very nice description of a pretty elaborate pig stick design on the web - but at a cost of parts amounting to over $200... That 's a bit rich! http://www.tartan3500.com/uploads/3/1/1/9/3119926/pigstickrev2.pdf

What do other people use?

Is an old fishing pole (rod) a viable candidate for improvising?

Bill Balme
s/v Toodle-oo!

GO

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