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Old 12-22-2014, 02:20 PM   #21
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Marin-flags do still have some import although perhaps less in the recreational world than the commercial world. Nonetheless, maritime law requires a vessel to fly the flag of its registration, consistent with that, US documented vessels are required to fly the U.S. flag. And as noted by others, many countries do take seriously the idea of flying the appropriate courtesy flag. And, virtually all countries take very seriously flying the yellow quarantine flag when entering the country. While some jurisdictions may not pay much attention, or care that much, flying the proper flags is a part of maritime law.
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Old 12-22-2014, 02:27 PM   #22
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... US documented vessels are required to fly the U.S. flag.
No they aren't, unless there is a certain size above which they are required to. But the "rules" that came with our original documentation--- which I am looking at right now--- very clearly state that documenting our boat allows us to fly the US flag. Nowhere does it say we have to fly the US flag. So we don't (very often).
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Old 12-22-2014, 02:38 PM   #23
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I'm with THD, and certainly I'm an old fuddy-duddy.

Flags provide visual information, just as navigation lights and day shapes do. I check what flags a vessel is showing and I know something about what that boat may do or not do. Properly flown flags tell me one thing, improperly flown flags tell me something else. One guy I can trust to probably do the right thing, the other guy I'll wonder about. Has no one heard of the upside down ensign?
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Old 12-22-2014, 02:50 PM   #24
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Well, see, I'm solving your dilemma. By not flying any flags I'm not giving you a cause to worry.

Besides, I don't see how flying a national ensign, courtesy flags, or a club burgee give any indication of what a vessel might do. They just say where they're from and what club they belong to.

Day shapes, sure, they have meaning. A quarantine flag, sure that has meaning. An upside down national flag, sure, that has meaning. But the plain old everyday recreational boat flag display doesn't mean squat other than offer a bit of ID, and you can get that from a computer now if it's that important to you. Which is what all the official agencies are doing these days, which renders flags even more superfluous.

To me, there are some traditions that are worth preserving and some that aren't. Flags on boats like ours is one that isn't as far as I'm concerned. There is no reason for it officially anymore other than the exceptions that have been noted. And if the governments of the US and Canada don't care, I don't care.

I don't know how Mexico feels, but since we're never going to be taking a boat there their requirements are irrelevant to us
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Old 12-22-2014, 03:34 PM   #25
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Maybe most flags...but when it comes to the National Ensign...it deserves respect.

As do other country's ensigns.

How you fly it is part of that respect...for some people...it IS a big deal....

It was deemed an honor to carry the flag into battle. Civil War color bearers suffered tremendous casualties in battle. These men did not carry any weapon except the flag. If they fell in battle another soldier would put down his weapon and pick it up. It was more important to give direction and boost morale than to shoot. It was considered to be a great dishonor if the flag was to fall into enemy hands. Many color bearers earned the Congressional Medal of Honor for their deeds - most after dying in defense of their flag.


The Honor of the Standard Bearer - Newsletter Issue 161

To some like me...it is a huge concept...not just a symbol.
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Old 12-22-2014, 03:59 PM   #26
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Maybe most flags...but when it comes to the National Ensign...it deserves respect.

As do other country's ensigns.

How you fly it is part of that respect...for some people...it IS a big deal....

It was deemed an honor to carry the flag into battle. Civil War color bearers suffered tremendous casualties in battle. These men did not carry any weapon except the flag. If they fell in battle another soldier would put down his weapon and pick it up. It was more important to give direction and boost morale than to shoot. It was considered to be a great dishonor if the flag was to fall into enemy hands. Many color bearers earned the Congressional Medal of Honor for their deeds - most after dying in defense of their flag.

The Honor of the Standard Bearer - Newsletter Issue 161

To some like me...it is a huge concept...not just a symbol.
I must say, that going to college in the flag burning days, made me a bit indifferent, until I moved to Europe in 1976.

I had a total change of heart and mind, as I saw a world not as depicted in the US media, but a world that appreciated what America had done and the sacrifices she made.

And over the next 20 years I met so many self less Americans, who were willing to sacrifice do that other's may live.

I love Europe, but I'm so.proud to be an American and as the picture above shows, I usually fly two large U.S. flags and always will no matter where I go.

We all sleep better because of U.S.

Night all
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Old 12-22-2014, 04:27 PM   #27
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Flags can make good wind vanes. So good I don't usually fly a bow burgee when the wind is still.

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Old 12-22-2014, 04:37 PM   #28
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When I feel especially perturbed by my governments:

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Old 12-22-2014, 05:00 PM   #29
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Turkish open fishing boats will fly their ensign (shown here in Bosphorus/Istanbul waters).


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Old 12-22-2014, 06:32 PM   #30
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I don't connect a flag with patriotism or how one feels about a country. I travel all over the world in the course of my work--- I and my crew just had to have 12 pages added to our passports because the original pages are totally full.

I think the US is a great country and there is no other place I'd rather live. I happen to believe the US is in a downward spiral and its best days are well behind it now, but that's an OTDE topic. But given all the places on the planet I've been and experienced, for now the US is the best of the lot with regards to the kind of life I want to live.

I've met people in Australia and England and France and Malaysia and Canada and China and the UAE and Malta and the Seychelles and Brazil and the list goes on who all feel exactly the same way about their country. And I believe they have good reason to.

Flags have squat all to do with this. When we're overseas and I see a US flag I don't feel a swell of pride or anything like that. All it means is that I now know where the embassy is or whatever.

Richard talks about flag burning. I remember when that was a big deal and people made a huge fuss over how terrible they thought it was. I never saw it as anything to get upset about. If they'd been burning it because they thought it was a crap design from a graphics standpoint, I'd have agreed with them, frankly. But as a political statement, it's no different than standing on the corner yelling and screaming about how horrible one thinks the US is. I'd rather they burn a flag--- it's a lot quieter.

With regards to flags on boats, I've never put any stock in symbols. I put stock in actions. I think about the sacrifices people have made to preserve the right for an individual to be one, and that means something to me. In the early 90s I was asked to produce a half-hour documentary for the 50th anniversary of the B-29. To this day I regard it as the best thing I've ever written and directed because it honors and tells the story of a bunch of amazing men who did things that, frankly, I don't think teh citizens of the US today would be capable of doing.

I don't need a symbol to understand and appreciate what these people were all about. In fact, I think symbols diminsh the impact of reality.

Which is why when it comes to boats like ours, which flags one flies, where one flies them, and even if one fles them, are totally irrelevant as far as I'm concerned. If there are legal reasons to do it, fine, we'll comply with them. But in US and Canadian waters, there aren't, so we don't fly anything (usually).

I certainly don't denigrate people who do fly flags, or their reasons for wanting to do so. It's an individual's preference. But I personally don't view it as having any meaning or value with regards to operating a boat, and from a philosophical point of view, I believe that one's actions are far more important and significant than simply hanging a flag from a halyard.
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Old 12-22-2014, 06:59 PM   #31
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I don`t buy the (paraphrasing) " piece of colored cloth" approach. The flag of a country has significance.
Here we have another issue, to fly the standard flag with a blue background, or the red ensign, with red background, which though faded, came with the boat?
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Old 12-22-2014, 07:36 PM   #32
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Flags on boats are fun and informative (without relying on a computer). Those that ignore flag etiquette reflect poorly of their knowledge of boating. ... Lots of information here:





(Foreign boat - Princess Lines - at a US-Alaskan port with pilot aboard.)
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Old 12-22-2014, 07:56 PM   #33
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I don`t buy the (paraphrasing) " piece of colored cloth" approach. The flag of a country has significance.
Some people think they do, some don't. While flags used to be important devices to be able to tell one bunch of soldiers or ships from another, that use has long since disappeared. Hell, the stars and bars on our military planes are in two shades of dull gray these days. They might as well not be there at all as far as ID is concerned.

So really the only value of a flag these days on land is to help identify governmment buildings (federal, state, county, and city). They look nice in parades, too. Outside of that, I think they're just pieces of colored cloth.

On ships it tells you the country of registry, although that's painted across the stern so you don't need a flag for that anymore. And commercial vessels are all in a myriad of databases so if you can read the name you can find out everything you need to know about it if you care or need to know, indluding where it came from, where it's going, and what's in it.

I can see the value of a quarantine flag as it warns people away from the vessel if they don't know it's in quarantine. The upside down national ensign is a recognized distress signal but I daresay that even this function has been rendered obsolete by the prolifieration of VHF, mobile phone, and satellite communications.

The courtesy flag is a courtesy nobody official cares about. At least not here and in Canada. As a previous poster said, I think that they are more important to the boater when they come back from antoher country than when they're in it. "Look at us, we were in Canada and you weren't" sort of thing.

So when one gets right down to it, flags on recreational boats are display items for the pleasure of the boat's owner. Sort of like the Christmas lights some of the owners in our marina have put on their boats.

I think it's ironic (and very telling of the state of today's world) that almost all the US flags made today are made in China. And very probably the flags of most other nations. That right there shows you how trite they've become. I bet the people making them don't care what they are, either.

I don't notice US flags anymore, here or overseas. In a world of in-your-face visuals, I find them far less impactful than the KFC, McDonalds, and Starbucks signs that cover the world like a blanket. Or right now in the Puget Sound area, the blue, white, and green "12" flags and banners that are literally everywhere.

To be fair, when we're in China, I don't notice the Chinese flags that are all over the place, or the flags of any other nation when we're there.

To me they truly all are just bits of colored cloth. Now if governments were smart, every ten years or so they would come out with a completely new design for the country's flag. That would make them more interesting and noticeable. Right about the time everyone was getting really bored with the thing, out would come a new one. They could even have contests for the design with a big cash prize as an incentive. Pump some life back into the whole flag thing.

But until they do that, our (Chinese made) US flag will keep living in the locker on the boat.
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Old 12-22-2014, 08:03 PM   #34
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Flags on boats are fun and informative. Those that ignore flag etiquette reflect poorly of their knowledge of boating. ... Lots of information here:
True, but it's all information that can be had off a computer if you really need to know it. Of off a mobile phone since you're near land. And none of it makes any difference whatsoever to that vessel getting from A to B.

It's outdated tradition, but more important and relevant, it's probably written into someone's union contract that they get to raise and lower flags and nobody else can, therefore they get another $5 an hour.

Next time you're on a cruise ship, Mark, ask them if they carry a lead line. That probably has more potential for being useful than those flags.

Flags can be pretty, and depending on the vessel design, they can make a nice, little colorful "period" on the end of a boat. Sort of like a retriever's feathered tail. A polished mahogany classic runabout does look nice with a flag on the stern in contrasting colors. So as decoration they can look very nice, no question. They don't add anything aesthetic to our boat, so we generally don't bother with them, but on some boats they look great.

PS-- We carry a lead line, a genuine one with the star-shaped sample cup in the bottom. We've actually used it a couple of times for information that we needed. So it's already proven to be far more valuable to us than the flags we drag around with us in the aft locker.
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Old 12-22-2014, 08:15 PM   #35
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Well.....no matter where I see it...it is way more than a piece of cloth to me....

I am proud to PROPERLY fly it aboard my vessel.
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Old 12-22-2014, 08:42 PM   #36
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True, but it's all information that can be had off a computer if you really need to know it.

...
I don't carry a computer. And outside the USA, the charges would be high.
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Old 12-22-2014, 08:49 PM   #37
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When I rode the then-brand-new roll-on/roll-off ship Matsonia across from Oakland to Honolulu and then Hilo in the course of filming a Matson television commercial, when I wanted to know what was going on at various times, particulary when leaving and entering a port, I simply asked the captain or the helmsman. Or in some cases, the pilot when we had one on board. They were more than happy to tell me and explain stuff.

I've done the same thing on the BC ferries on a few occasions. Nothing like hearing it from the folks in charge.....
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Old 12-22-2014, 10:43 PM   #38
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The "sports" version of an English car, the Triumph Herald, featured a pair of crossed flags on the rear fender(mudguard in England and Aust). The flags were reputed to indicate "1) I am moving astern, and 2) I am in need of a tow. The interpretations are almost certainly wrong, but you get the idea.
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Old 12-22-2014, 10:51 PM   #39
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I think it's ironic (and very telling of the state of today's world) that almost all the US flags made today are made in China. And very probably the flags of most other nations. That right there shows you how trite they've become. I bet the people making them don't care what they are, either.

But until they do that, our (Chinese made) US flag will keep living in the locker on the boat.
That explains it.
When buying flags for my boat, I purposely made sure to buy American made flags. Of all the things to save a dollar on, the flag of my nation, not a chance.

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Old 12-23-2014, 12:35 AM   #40
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The "sports" version of an English car, the Triumph Herald, featured a pair of crossed flags on the rear fender(mudguard in England and Aust). The flags were reputed to indicate "1) I am moving astern, and 2) I am in need of a tow. The interpretations are almost certainly wrong, but you get the idea.
My mum had one, I don't think you are far off the mark.

My sister borrowed it when she came up to Sydney for uni, and the poor old herald died on the harbour bridge in the middle of peak hour, never to be seen again.Mum was not pleased.
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