Re: Flag etiquette

Ian Park

I belong to the Royal Welsh Yacht Club and fly a blue ensign. It is perfectly fine to fly it from the stern.

It makes life easier to comply with British flag etiquette as I have to take it in at sunset or 9.00 p.m. whichever is earlier. This was introduced by Samual Pepys when he was Secretary for Admiralty and saw how much money was being spent on flags. So he decided that taking them down at night when no-one could see the anyway would immediately half the annual expenditure. And so it became ‘the tradition’.

Yes, the burgee should be flown at the highest point of the boat.

BUT, as so many aerials etc are also up there it has been officially accepted that it should be flown on the starboard crosstrees.

EXCEPT, where you may be required to fly a courtesy flag it should take precedence on the starboard cross trees and your burgee and house flags transferred to the port crosstrees.

And it is illegal in UK to fly the Union Flag. It can only be flown on a Royal Naval Vessel and is called a Union Jack. However, this is flown on the bow of the ship as the White Ensign is always flown at the stern.

We are allowed to fly the Union Flag on the bow of the boat in Harbour, but it must be edged all round in white!

Bet you wished you’d never asked!

Ian and Linda
Ocean Hobo SN96

Yacht Clubs were first given warrants to be ‘Royal’ and fly the blue ensign on the understanding that all members’ boats could be commandeered for use in time of war.

Now not all Royal Yacht Clubs are given warrants, those holding warrants are more ‘Senior’ - and now it gets complicated........

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