US Flag display on private yachts and boats in another country.

Discussion in 'US Flag Display' started by GCLARK, Apr 18, 2010.


    GCLARK New Member

    This site has been very interesting and have learned allot here.

    I have a question regarding the displaying of flags on private boats while in foreign countries.

    A while back some friends and I sailed a boat to the South Pacific, and saw that many other yachts and boats would display the country they where in's flag above the U.S. Flag, and the owners where from the States. Is this proper etiquette?
  2. NAVA1974

    NAVA1974 Active Member

    That depends on what you mean by "above." There are no established rules for flying a courtesy flag, but note that your national ensign (the Flag of the United States for most of us) flies at the stern of your boat, ship, or yacht, which is the point of honor. So any other flag located anywhere else on a ship or boat, even if it is at a higher altitude than the Stars and Stripes, is actually in a subservient position to the American Flag and is not in violation of the Flag Code. A courtesy flag may NOT fly from the mast at the stern, as that is reserved for your nation's ensign alone.

  3. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    One of the major problems with the flag code is that it does not address maritime usage at all -- it was originally based on Army regulations. As Nick points out, maritime flag etiquette is very different, and this causes a lot of confusion. If they ever decide to revise the flag code, this would be a big item to consider.

    My impression (although I can't back it up with a refererence at the moment), is that the courtesy flag is normally flown at the starboard yardarm or spreader on the forwardmost mast, or at the mast head if there is no yardarm or spreader.

    Peter Ansoff

Share This Page