Sailing Flags

Sailing Flags

Jimmy Green Marine offer the most comprehensive range of sailing flags and flag accessories:

  • 212 at the last count - UV resistant Courtesy flags in 100% woven polyester - essential when in "foreign waters"
  • ...

Subcategories

Jimmy Green Marine offer the most comprehensive range of sailing flags and flag accessories:

  • 212 at the last count - UV resistant Courtesy flags in 100% woven polyester - essential when in "foreign waters"
  • All 40 Signal code flags suppled individually or in a set, in two sizes - for relaying important messages and for frivolous crew fun
  • Red and Blue Ensigns available as printed flags or traditional sewn flags with a Premium Sewn option for the discerning yacht owner
  • Flag accessories (including wooden toggles, ingfield clips and lanyard blocks)
  • Flag staffs and flag staff fittings.

Courtesy Flags

Jimmy Green Courtesy Flags are manufactured to a very high standard in our supply partner factory in Italy.
The strict quality controls in place ensure that each flag is well crafted, neatly stitched, UV-Fade and Wind-Fray Resilient.
All Courtesy Flags are manufactured from very strong and durable 145 gram per m2 (+/- 5%) top quality 100% polyester, special knit, woven bunting to measure 45cm x 30cm (Half Yard) with colourfast screenprint patterns and motifs.

Jimmy Green Courtesy Flag Plus Factors:

  • Half yard size (traditional diagonal measurement) is nominal and may vary slightly due to the nature of the production/sewing process.
  • Screen printed on one piece of flag fabric
  • Excellent definition/detail on motifs, crests and emblems
  • Top quality UV resistant 100% polyester woven bunting
  • Colourfast and fade resistant
  • Hoist reinforced with special flag webbing tape
  • Braided line sewn into the integral hoist tape creating a loop at the top and a tail at the bottom as per the photos
  • Finished with twin stitched hems (outside edges)

Jimmy Green Courtesy Flags are not made from the shiny, cheaper nylon fabric, nor are they the smaller 20cm x 30cm size.

Jimmy Green stock well over 200 different Courtesy Flags and we will add more if there is any demand.

All Jimmy Green Courtesy Flags are available individually:
You can filter the flags by Ocean/Location.
Some Flags may appear in more than one zone e.g. Spain = North Atlantic and Mediterranean.
There is also additional local geographical information to help your search.
The Parent Country is also listed where appropriate so that you can identify whether you need a specific island flag or not:

e.g. The Netherlands or Netherlands Antilles Courtesy Flag may cover Sint Maarten, Sint Eustatius, Saba, Bonaire, Curacao
However, the feel good factor when you make make landfall and sail into your chosen anchorage flying the correct local courtesy flag will more than make up for the extra price of the individual flags :-)

Jimmy Green Courtesy Flags are also available in Bundles by Voyage Plan, Ocean Passage or Location

Any feedback on local reaction to our courtesy flags is welcomed - we will happily do some more research, update our information and even our flags if required.

Where there are different options on courtesy flags we list them separately and any first hand feedback is always welcome e.g. Bermuda is normally red and that is what is listed but they are generally welcomed on Bermuda in blue and we have some blue if you would like one.

Spain is available as the simple red/yellow/red horizontal striped courtesy (less expensive) or with the option of the correct Yacht Ensign Crest.

N.B. Foreign Yachts should fly the red ensign as a courtesy flag when visiting the UK (not a Union Jack) and may also fly the red ensign for some associated British islands, dominions and territories without causing offence.

Courtesy Flag Etiquette

As a gesture of courtesy, yachts should fly a foreign nation's flag when they enter and operate in its waters.

There are no universal rules governing courtesy flag etiquette.

Officials interpret the rules differently from country to country, region to region, island to island or even port to port.

Failing to fly a courtesy flag or flying a courtesy flag improperly may only be considered impolite in some places but in others where it is enforced by local law, officials go as far as impounding passports or imposing fines until the proper flag (which may only be available to purchase locally at great expense) is flying on board.

Flying an undersized, faded or tatty courtesy flag may be considered worse than having no courtesy flag at all in some places.

If you are in any doubt, the best thing to do is observe other yachts from your country and even ask them for guidance.

N.B. Simultaneously flying all the courtesy flags of the different countries/islands that you intend to visit on your cruise should definitely be avoided because your intentions could easily be misinterpreted and cause offence.

Traditionally and logically, you should not fly a courtesy flag until your vessel is properly cleared by customs and immigration.
Until clearance is complete, you should only fly the yellow Q (quarantine) flag.
This is because you have not officially entered the new country until you are cleared through customs.
However, it is common practice, and generally speaking, courteously accepted in many countries, to hoist the courtesy flag above the Q flag in anticipation of clearing customs and immigration.


St Lucia over Q 

Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia is the eagerly awaited landfall

On a mast with spreaders, the courtesy flag (or Q) should be flown at the starboard spreader.

If the yacht has more than one mast, the courtesy flag should be flown from the starboard spreader of the forward mast.

On a yacht without any mast, the courtesy flag (or Q) should be flown at the bow.

N.B. Only ever your own ensign or national flag should be flown from the stern of a yacht.

The True Spirit of Courtesy Flags

In recent years yacht owners have been a little more adventurous in their approach to courtesy flag etiquette especially in relation to individual countries, Crown Dependencies and other islands within the United Kingdom including regional and even county flags.

It may actually be considered polite or even proper to fly the appropriate regional or island courtesy flag e.g. in the Channel Isles there are individual courtesy flags for each island.

There is nothing wrong with endearing yourself to the local sailors, fishermen and officials.
It is entering into the spirit of the 'courtesy' tradition.
Some locals may be particular whether it is the correct maritime ensign or the land flag but in general it is the effort that you make to be courteous which is important and therefore appreciated.

This courteous local approach is welcomed when extended bluewater cruising e.g. in the Caribbean, the Pacific and the Atlantic where French, British, Dutch, Portugese and Spanish islands have their own local flag.

If you are flying the local flag as a matter of courtesy then you will be entering into the true spirit of courtesy flag etiquette and doing the 'right thing'.

If you are on a strict flag-budget and are not interested in making your own flags, then the parent island flag will generally pass muster:

Some Examples of Islands with National 'Parent' Flags 
The French Courtesy Flag may cover e.g. Saint Martin, Saint Barthelemy, Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Society Islands, French Polynesia, New Caledonia and Nouméa - N.B. this list is not exhaustive.
The Chile Courtesy Flag may cover Easter Island.

Local Courtesy Flag Ranking

If the region or island flag is in ‘foreign waters' then it should be flown below the National Courtesy flag e.g. Brittany under France.

There may be some local exceptions to this rule e.g. Azores flag over Portugal flag, Galapagos over Ecuador.
We advise you to seek advice or have a good look around the marina or anchorage at how other visiting yachts are displaying their flags

Courtesy Flags, Club and Individual Flags flown for Fun

If you and your crew want to fly your regional or county flag or even your cruising club flag e.g. Cornwall, Devon, the ARC World Cruising Club then it is probably best to hoist these on the port spreader to avoid any confusion with your courtesy flag(s).

This is becoming much more prevalent, especially on rallies.

Flags should should always be displayed from the correct spreader, tastefully and in good spirit, to ensure that no offence is caused.

Flags Flown for Fun Courtesy and Fun Flags

Left hand photo = Portugal, flown from the starboard spreader - Cornwall (Skipper), ARC + and Devon (Number 1 Crew) flown from the port spreader - The St Mawes SC Commodore Pennant appears from somewhere.
Right hand photo = Spain over Canaries on the starboard spreader and the same representation on the port spreader

Burgees

The burgee should take the next most senior position on a yacht which is at the main masthead.
Only one burgee should be flown on a yacht.
Burgees are now commonly flown at the starboard spreaders. However, no other flag should be flown above the burgee on the same halyard.
You should not fly a burgee above a national courtesy flag on the same halyard.
Therefore if you choose to fly your burgee at the starboard spreader you will have a dilemma in ‘foreign waters'.
This could be obviated by reeving a second flag halyard to the starboard spreader but is not strictly following flag etiquette.

Sizing Flags

Selecting the appropriate size for your Courtesy Flags:

Generally, yachts up to about 60 feet (18 metres) in length look properly "dressed" with half yard (18" x 12") courtesy flags.
There is an old rule of thumb for courtesy flags: a half inch on the fly for every foot of overall vessel length e.g. 18 inches = ½ yard for a 36-foot yacht.

Selecting the appropriate size for your Ensign:

Jimmy Green Red and Blue Ensigns are manufactured in our modern supplier partner factory in Italy from top quality UV resistant 100% polyester woven bunting.

Jimmy Green Premium Red and Blue Sewn Ensigns are sewn and manufactured in the UK.

A UK registered vessel should fly the national maritime flag, the Red Ensign, unless entitled to fly a special or privileged Ensign

The most senior position for a flag on a vessel is reserved for the Ensign and should be flown from as close to the stern of the vessel as possible, denoting the nationality of the vessel.

Printed: made in Italy
  • From 1/2 yard up to 1 1/2 yard
  • Screen printed on one piece of flag fabric
  • Top quality UV resistant 100% polyester woven bunting
  • Colourfast and fade resistant
  • Hoist reinforced with special flag webbing tape
  • Braided line sewn into the integral hoist tape creating a loop at the top and a tail at the bottom as per the photos
  • Finished with twin stitched hems (outside edges)
Sewn: made in Italy
  • from 1/2 yard up to 3 yard
  • Component panels cut out from top quality UV resistant 100% polyester woven bunting
  • Colourfast and fade resistant
  • All panels stitched together with top stitched fell seams to form the full ensign pattern
  • Hoist reinforced with special flag webbing tape
  • Braided line sewn into the integral hoist tape creating a loop at the top and a tail at the bottom as per the photos
  • Finished with twin stitched hems (outside edges)

Premium Sewn, British Manufacture:

  • from 1/2 yard up to 3 yard
  • Component panels cut out from MOD approved 155gm m2 top quality UV resistant 100% polyester woven bunting
  • Rich colours
  • Colourfast and fade resistant
  • All panels stitched together to form the full ensign pattern
  • Hoist reinforced with special flag webbing tape
  • Braided Polyester line sewn into the integral hoist tape creating a loop to grip the varnished toggle at the top and a tail at the bottom
  • Finished with triple stitched hems (outside edges)

Traditional Yard Sizing for Flags

The yard sizing (traditional diagonal measurement) is nominal and may vary slightly due to the nature of the production/sewing process.

  • The Yard Size refers to the outside diagonal measurement e.g. from the top corner of the hoist to the bottom corner of the fly end.
  • The fly is measured along the horizontal length, top or bottom.
  • The hoist is measured down the vertical length of the left hand side next to the staff.
  • The Fly end is the opposite end to the hoist = the end that flies in the breeze.

Nominal length and height measurements are tabled in the guide below.

Flag Toggles

Top quality wooden toggles are available at a reasonable cost which can be fitted to the loop at the top of the hoist if required:

WOODEN FLAG TOGGLES

Ensign Size Guide:

As a guide, your Ensign should be proportionate to the LOA and the style/design of the yacht.
There is an old rule of thumb: an inch per foot of yacht length but this may look rather too small for modern yachts to look "well dressed".

The Ensign hoist measurement also needs to be compatible with the length of the flagstaff.
i.e. The length of the flagstaff between the truck (head) and the cleat must be, at the very least, greater than the hoist measurement so that there is sufficient room to tension the hoist line or halyard.
The gap between the bottom of the hoist and the cleat is a matter of personal choice.

A more modern interpretation of suitable Red Ensign yard size is suggested in the chart below but....

Ultimately, the size of a Red Ensign is entirely up to the owner's discretion and if it looks right then it is right.

Flag Size Chart

Yard SizeFinishFlyHoistStaff LengthYacht LOA
1/2Printed48cm32cm60cm< 7m
3/4Printed or Sewn69cm40cm60/80cm6-9m
1Printed or Sewn90cm45cm80/100cm9-12m
1 1/4Printed or Sewn104cm56cm90/120cm10-14m
1 1/2Printed or Sewn132cm70cm100/125cm12-16m
2Sewn180cm90cm125/150cm14-18m
2 1/2Sewn225cm110cm> 1.5 metres18m-20m
3Sewn274cm137cm> 2 metres>20m

Guide Reference:
Yard Size = traditional method of measurement = length of the diagonal
Finish = Sewn = individual panels stitched together to complete the flag
Fly = nominal length, may vary slightly due to the nature of the production/sewing process
Hoist = nominal height, may vary slightly due to the nature of the production/sewing process
Staff Length = the length overall of the flagstaff, not the measurement between truck and cleat which will be less
LOA = Yacht length overall

Ensign on RoshniEnsign on Max
A Yard and a Half Sewn on Roshni, Azuree 46A Yard and a half printed on Max, Moody 47

Selecting between Printed and Sewn Flags:

Printed courtesy flags are generally acceptable everywhere you may visit.

Sewn courtesy flags may well prove to be far too expensive on an extended voyage.

Printed courtesy flags are lighter and therefore fly better in a light breeze.

However there are two distinct schools of thought regarding your Red Ensign (or national flag) and either is acceptable.

  1. Printed - is less than half the cost and ‘will soon be blown out anyway'.
  2. Sewn - is the only proper flag to fly, will last longer and is worth 'every penny'

Land flags

The Union flag, the Welsh Dragon and the Crosses of St Andrew, St George and St Patrick are primarily land flags and should not be flown at sea by cruising yachtsmen.
At sea the cross of St George is the flag of an Admiral and should therefore not be flown by anyone else, without special dispensation.
The St Andrew flag could be mistaken for the code flag M signalling "my vessel is stopped and making no way through the water".
The St Patrick flag could be mistaken for the code flag V signalling  "I require assistance".

Dressing Ship

Dressing Overall

On special occasions, yachts often "dress overall," displaying a decorative collection of International Signal Code flags.
Convention suggests that you bend on flags and pennants alternately. There are twice as many letters as numeral pennants, so a possible sequence would be: Two flags, one pennant, two flags, one pennant, and so on e.g. from stem to stern
AB2, UJ1, KE3, GH6, IV5, FL4, DM7, PO Third Substitute, RN First Substitute, ST Zero, CX9, WQ8, ZY Second Substitute.
Or
E, Q, 3, G, 8, Z, 4, W, 6, P, 1, I, Answer Pennant, T, Y ,B, X, 1st Substitute, H, 3rd Substitute, D, F, 2nd Substitute, U, A, O, M, R, 2, J, 0, N, 9, K, 7, V, 5, L, C, S.

To select the size of your signal code flag set for dressing overall, add the individual hoist measurement to the average gap between the flags e.g. 12" x 8" would be an 8 inch hoist + say a 4 inch gap = 12 inches and multiply by 40 = 40 feet length overall.  ½ yard would be 12 inch hoist + say a 6 inch gap = 18 inches and multiply by 40 = 60 feet length overall.
You can minimise the overall length by having a very small gap between each flag.
The maximum length overall is therefore limited by the length of cord sewn into the fly known as the distance line.
Some Signal Code Flag Sets have flags made with a loop at the top and a distance line with a toggle at the bottom. While this requires no knots, the disadvantage is that the overall length is predetermined and may not suit the dimensions of your yacht and rig.

Signal Code Flags

Jimmy Green individual Signal Code Flags are manufactured in our modern supplier partner factory in Italy from top quality UV resistant 100% polyester woven bunting.

Jimmy Green Marine stock all 40 Signal Code Flags from A - Z plus numerals and pennants, available individually or as a set with or without storage wallet.

Available in both 12" x 8" (30cm x 20cm) or Half Yard (45cm x 30cm) Size

  • Half yard or 12" x 8" size (traditional diagonal measurement) is nominal and may vary slightly due to the nature of the production/sewing process.
  • Sizing on pennants and numerals is nominal due to their different shape - dimensions are in keeping with flag size
  • Screen printed on one piece of flag fabric
  • Top quality UV resistant 100% polyester woven bunting
  • Colourfast and fade resistant
  • Hoist reinforced with special flag webbing tape
  • Braided line sewn into the integral hoist tape creating a loop at the top and a tail at the bottom as per the photos
  • Finished with twin stitched hems (outside edges)

Jimmy Green Quality and Construction

Jimmy Green Sailing Flags are screen printed in our supplier partner, state of the art, modern factory in Italy on top quality UV resistant (for reduced fading) 100% polyester woven bunting.

Printed polyester courtesy flags are lighter, size for size than traditional sewn flags and will therefore fly better in a light breeze.

This also helps to explain why sewn flags seem to last longer – they don’t fly (flap) as much as printed flags.

Jimmy Green Sewn Ensigns are sewn together using the same top quality UV resistant 100% woven polyester .

All Jimmy Green courtesy flags, code flags and ensigns have a braided distance line on the hoist with a loop sewn in at the top and a trailing line at the bottom.
N.B. Premium Ensings are fitted with a varnished toggle in the loop.