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Marine Signal Flags

These flags are international signals used by ships at sea to spell out short messages, or more commonly, used individually or in combination they have special meanings.

Flag
Letter
Meaning
a-flag
Alfa
Diver below (when stationary); Keep clear 
see note...
b-flag
Bravo
I am taking on, discharging, or carrying dangerous cargo
c-flag
Charlie
"Yes" or "affirmative"
d-flag
Delta
I am maneuvering with difficulty; keep clear
e-flag
Echo
I am altering my course to starboard
f-flag
Foxtrot
I am disabled, communicate with me
g-flag
Golf
I require a pilot
h-flag
Hotel
I have a pilot on board
i-flag
India
I am altering my course to port
j-flag
Juliet
I am on fire and have dangerous cargo; keep clear
k-flag
Kilo
I wish to communicate with you
l-flag
Lima
You should stop your vessel immediately
m-flag
Mike
My vessel is stopped (Not international but commonly used: Doctor on board)
n-flag
November
"No" or "negative"
o-flag
Oscar
Man overboard
p-flag
Papa
All personnel return to ship; about to sail - the Blue Peter
q-flag
Quebec
Ship meets health regulations; request clearance into port
r-flag
Romeo
None (previous meaning: The way is off my ship. You may feel your way past me)
s-flag
Sierra
I am moving astern
t-flag
Tango
Keep clear (Not international but commonly used: Request for club launch)
u-flag
Uniform
You are standing into danger
v-flag
Victor
I require assistance (not distress)
w-flag
Whiskey
I require medical assistance
x-flag
Xray
Stop carrying out your intentions and watch for my signals
y-flag
Yankee
I am dragging anchor
z-flag
Zulu
I require a tug
Combination Example
n-flag
c-flag
There are many flag combinations with additional meanings. Here's one that we hope you won't have to use: N + C

I am in distress

Diver Down
diver-flag The red flag with white diagonal stripe, while not international, is commonly used to indicate a diver in the water. Many states now require this flag. It is usually exhibited on a float to mark the diver's approximate location whereas the "A" flag should be used on the vessel.

Please email all questions or comments with this site to Technical Support.

- http://www.ecophotoexplorers.com/contacts.asp?subject=Technical Support#form

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Last Modified: December 03, 2005

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