dipping the flag at sea?

Discussion in 'Other US Flag Etiquette' started by sailor, Jul 7, 2008.

  1. sailor

    sailor New Member

    It has long be a custom to dip the flag to a passing US. flag vessal on the high seas. This is the only place that ever head the the flg shoud not be diped. This country did not exist, except in the heart and minds of it people untill a french vessal dip its flag to a US. vessal
    I think this needs some clarification
  2. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    Greetings, Sailor!

    You are correct about dipping the flag to ships of other nations. The rules are spelled out in US Navy Regulations, Chapter 12, section 1263:

    "1. When any vessel, under United States registry or the registry of a nation formally recognized by the Government of the United States, salutes a ship of the Navy by dipping her ensign, it shall be answered dip for dip. If not already being displayed, the national ensign shall be hoisted for the purpose of answering the dip. An ensign being displayed at half-mast shall be hoisted to the truck or peak before a dip is answered.
    2. No ship of the Navy shall dip the national ensign unless in return for such compliment.
    3. Of the colors carried by a naval force on shore, only the battalion or regimental colors shall be dipped in renderiag or acknowledging a salute.
    4. Submarines, or other ships of the line in which it would be considered hazardous for
    personnel to do so, shall not be required to dip the ensign."

    The problem is that the "flag code," although it was designed for use by civilians, was originally modeled after an *Army* regulation. US colors carried by troops on shore are *never* dipped (see section 3 above). Section 8 of the flag code spells this out:

    ". . . the flag should not be dipped to any person or thing. Regimental colors, State flags, and organization or institutional flags are to be dipped as a mark of honor."

    This is actually one of the big problems with the flag code -- it completely ignores the use of the flag on ships and boats, the customs for which (as you know) are very different from the ones used ashore.

    Glad to have you aboard!

    Peter Ansoff

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