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post #1 of 37 Old 05-01-2008 Thread Starter
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Flag Etiquette 2.0

Here is a topic I havent seen mentioned before. Can the First Navel Jack (see avatar) be flown on a recreational vessel? If so, where?

It is a historical flag that some say is not 100% acurate. The Navy has flown it on the oldest serving ship in commission, in place of the "Stars and Stripes". The First Navy Jack is currently flown in place of national ensign on ALL Navy vessels for the duration of the "War on Terror".Are there variations of this (the red and white striped jack w/o snake) that can be flown recreationally?

More info here: First Navy Jack: Don't Tread on Me

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post #2 of 37 Old 05-01-2008
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I hate to play sematics (okay, some would say it's a hobby of mine) -

Are you asking can you, may you, or should you?

Certainly you can. In fact you may (no law against).

Should you goes back to the entire etiquitte issue. If you are flying an ensign from the jack staff or backstay (the correct place for an ensign) You 'should' fly an historically accurate private yacht ensign (13 stars surrounding an anchor in a field of blue, red white stripes), or the actual ensign.

I would not fly any other than the actual ensign (Stars and Stripes) if I was outside U.S. waters as I am not a US Navy vessel. Ensigns are not just about pride, but also a recognition signal. The private yacht ensign is not a recognized, authoried extra-US waters ensign.

The 'Don't tread on me', 1st Navy Jack etc.. ensign is indeed a 'revived' ensign. Flown in 1976 and revived 9/11 2002 as you stipulated. Traditionally the Navy Ensign is stars on a field of blue - I'm sure you know that.
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post #3 of 37 Old 05-01-2008 Thread Starter
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Good point. I should have asked, Is it proper to fly the First Navy Jack from a recreational vessel? If so where?

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post #4 of 37 Old 05-01-2008
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Thought I was clear.
From a etiquitte POV, no it's not proper. It's not proper because as of 9/11/2002 the SECNAV has mandated it be worn and recognized as the Navy Ensign.
Your vessel is not a U.S. Navy warship and should not wear the color's of one.

On the other hand, no one but stuffed shirt rednecks would care, if it tickles your fancy wear it (in order of 'properness' on a jack stay off the stern, on the back stay (1/3 up) or the starboard spreader on a flag halyard, as the upper most flag.
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post #5 of 37 Old 05-01-2008
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If the rattlesnake had long been a symbol of resistance to British repressive acts in Colonial America, then my view is that any sailor who chooses to fly it on his boat, "recreationally" or otherwise, does so to resist repression.

So, why should he care what others may think?

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post #6 of 37 Old 05-01-2008
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You can fly what ever you want to from your boat.
Remember, we have that right.

The stars and bars has to be the highest hoisted flag.
If its under your spreaders, than no other flag should be hoisted higher.

I love the "Don't tread on Me" flag. I thought the original was on a solid yellow background like in TB's link?

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post #7 of 37 Old 05-01-2008
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Could I change the topic a bit and return to "Flag Etiquette 1.0" for a second? Silly me, but this flag stuff is a pet peeve of mine.

Two weeks ago I was aboard "Intuition" in the Abacos. In the marina where we were tied up there were all sorts of boats, both big and small. Everyone seemed to have a different flag display. What bothered me the most was that in some cases the American flag was flown from the port side flag halyard. Heck, this is where your supposed to display your Sailnet burgee, or your pirate's flag, not your nation's symbol. In another case, the American flag was displayed below the Bahamian courtesy flag.

It is my understanding that outside the U.S., the port side flag halyard is used to display pennants and other non-governmental flags. The starboard halyard is used to display the courtesy flag of the country you're visiting. The American flag should be displayed toward the stern of the vessel, or at the least, abaft of all other flags. If I'm correct in this, why is it so difficult for some cruisers to display their flags correctly? This is pretty simple stuff.

I know that we now live in a self-indulgent society where "Do your own thing" defines much of our behavior. However, some things should still be universal, like flag etiquette used to be.

Thanks, I feel much better now!

Last edited by AlanBrown; 05-01-2008 at 10:15 AM. Reason: spelling error
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post #8 of 37 Old 05-01-2008
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I think your analysis is correct, but playing with flags seems to becoming more popular.

Lots seem to insist that the skipper can (properly) fly his national flag as an ensign when the boat is registered in another country, rather the ensign showing the registry of the boat.

Other foreigners are keen on flying local courtesy flags rather than the national ensign of the waters they ply. (Cornish, Scottish, etc..)

And the defaced EU flag is becoming popular as an ensign too.

Although not illegal, it can lead to some interesting delayed passage stories, if the local coast guard / customs / immegration decide that a little investigation is needed.

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post #9 of 37 Old 05-01-2008
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My above post is in regards to T34C's local cruising grounds. I know that he sails out of Egg Harbor Wisconsin and that his body of water is Green Bay.
Differnet set of rules if we are talking International, in which case, I have no idea what you guys are talking about. Sorry for the confusion.

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post #10 of 37 Old 05-01-2008
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Not to appear as too stuffy a shirt, but the question was etiquette. The simplest solution, in local waters is to wear a properly sized National Ensign from the stern and then fly any other flag or pennant you want from anywhere else you want. International cruisers really should follow the legal conventions, it's not just etiquette then, it's law. Traditionally wearing the national ensign of a nation invokes a right of protection from that nations naval forces.

I regularly wear no ensign whatsoever simply because I haven't found a pigstick I like yet (altho I was gifted one this xmas so I think my search is over). I hoist my yacht clubs pennant as the upper, Gemini pennant as next and Sailnet as lowest all from my starboard speader. When I attend a Gemini raftup I switch out upper and 2nd, when I attend a Sailnet event I will hoist that as the upper pennant.
From the port spread I fly what ever fun flag I want for the day; or if I'm working as race committe I fly the RC flag under my YC pennant and the race signals from port.
Nautical speak is important when one discusses ensigns, one wears an ensign, one hoists a pennant, one fly's a flag I take great pride in flying my "surrender the booty" pirate flag.
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