Originally Posted by sailaway21
I suspect it is more an administrative issue than anything. The navigational day begins at noon but is of no significance to anyone but the mates. There's a trivia thread going here, a couple of pages back, and this would be a good one for it.
That makes excellent sense, sailaway21.
Here's a good summary of the traditional purpose of flags at sea: "The flags used by ships are the heraldry and the traditional language of the sea. For centuries flags were the only form of communication between ships out of hailing distance of one another, and the language of flags was developed to express several different kinds of information."
And this about the ensign and owner's private signal: "[A] ship's colours, like those of a regiment, are the symbols of its honour and identity, and naval history has its share of tales of heroic deeds 'to keep the colours flying.'" -- From Timothy Wilson, Flags at Sea
, published by Britain's National Maritime Museum (1986)
(I'm 1/4 Boston, 1/4 Newport, RI. My French ancestor settled in Newport after he came over with Rochambeau to help Americans win the Revolution.)