Wednesday October 1st. Flag Etiquette.

Written by Jack van Ommen on October 1st, 2014

I have a bone to pick with my American sailor friends.

It is very rare in Europe to encounter incorrect display of the ensign, courtesy flags, burgee and private pennants. But it is far too common here in the North West.

I estimate that at least 10% of the sail boats display the ensign improperly. I am guilty of the most common offense, not lowering the ensign at sunset and when I leave the boat. As soon as I can find the right flag staff I will correct this. In Holland, as an example, in some traditional maritime communities, the locals will rip the ensign off a visitors boat if it is displayed after dark. The next most seen offense is displaying the ensign from the wrong location, most common from the starboard spreader halyard, which is strictly reserved for the club burgee, quarantine flag, courtesy flag and owners private pennant. The port side of the spreader halyard is only to be used for a courtesy flag of the nationality of a foreign visitor aboard. Too often recent visiting sailors to Canadian waters will continue to fly the courtesy flag after leaving Canada.

These pictures were taken recently from my moorage.

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