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 ...
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
Vice Commodore, OCC