national Flag?

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Guest

Guest
Being an owner of a small english Gaff Cutter I would like to ask if anybody knows how the question of national flags is handled. I am german and the boat lies in Germany, but I would still like to carry the union jack as reference to the origin of the ship (we Germans have also a somehow troubled feeling towards our own national Flag). Is that possible?
And then which british flag is the right one.? Red with union jack, blue with union jack, white with union jack?
 
G

Guest

Guest
the rules are clear

you may fly a british flag only on a british vessel (british registered). the correct flag is the red ensign (union flag on red ground). the white and blue ensigns are reserved for members of certain yacht clubs.
 
G

Guest

Guest
red ensign is used as a courtesy flag only, when carried on foreign vessels. You must not use a union flag. Also a union flag if incorrectly hoisted, can be a distress signal.
 
G

Guest

Guest
Re: the rules are clear

What do you mean by registered in GB. As far as I know such a small yacht as mine does not have to be registered at all, or does every vessel in GB have to be registered? Where can I have my ship registered? The only thing official right now is my german insurance.
 

snowleopard

Active member
Joined
16 May 2001
Messages
33,647
Location
Cornwall
Re: the rules are clear

I think an unregistered boat, british owned and sailing in british waters can wear the red ensign though probably not strictly legally.

I think you are probably in the same sort of situation as the people who use national identity plates on cars as a "look where I've been" device. Not legal but who cares.

The only time you'll be in trouble is if you sailed into a british port flying a british flag on a foreign vessel.
 
G

Guest

Guest
Re: the rules are clear

I beleive that strictly, a boat has to be registered either on part 1 or on the SSR to be able to carry a red ensign. I got that from a reference book printed in the 1950s so things may have changed!
 
G

Guest

Guest
my understanding is.

A British registered vessel is entitled to wear a Red Ensign (you never fly an Ensign) if the ship or its captain is eligible they may apply for a warrant to fly a different colour or defaced. If the vessel is Un registered it takes the nationality of its captain.

One way for a German to get round this is to wear a small German Ensign over a the British Red Ensign and claimed the boat is a prize of war! Mind you if he wants to go the whole hog, how about having a new mainsail made in the colours and shapes of the Union Jack? I've seen it done on the spinnaker

Peter
 
G

Guest

Guest
Hi Martin,
To clarify.
Any vessel owned by a British national, or company,or eligible person or company(rules on elegibility are available from uk registrar of shipping-you can get their address and email from their web site) can wear the red ensign in British waters whether British registered or not. The question of British Registration becomes more of an issue in foreign waters as overseas customs and immigration authorities frequently require proof of a vessels nationality and this is usually provided by registration documents. They will require that the national ensign worn by the vessel matches the vessel's documentation. The white ensign is only worn by ships of the Royal Navy and members of the Royal Yacht Squadron. The flag of St George is only legally worn at sea by members of the Dunkirk Little Ships Club and British Admirals of the Fleet. The Union Flag should not be worn at sea except by British Warships and certain government vessels when at anchor, when it is correctly called the Union Jack. Other special British Ensigns such as the Blue Ensign are worn by eligible individuals who are usually members of 'priviledged yacht clubs'. The club holds a warrant and the member applies for a permit from the club which he must have on board all the time the vessel is wearing the priviledged ensign. Permits are not transferable from one boat to another.Those who think nobody will enforce these rules should be aware that a yachtsman was recently fined £500, and in these days when government is expecting agencies such as the CoastGuard to raise as much revenue as possible it won't be long before they catch on to the fact that this is an easy source of revenue. The Enviroment Agency and Inland Waterways Authority have already begun to enforce these rules. The French can also be very strict about such things. Probably, the easiest way to fly a union flag is to look closely at the eligibility rules of such places as the Isle of Man, the Falkland Islands and the Channel Islands and see if there is some way round. maybe you could register yourself as a British company and register the yacht as a company asset, or register the boat as jointly owned with a British citizen? There are ways around it if you want to do it badly enough.
 
G

Guest

Guest
Martin, I am also an owner of a small English gaff cutter (a Heard 23). I think that from all the other replies you have had you can see that there is no legal way you can fly the Red Ensign at the stern or from the gaff-end of your boat. If you flew the Red Ensign from your "starboard crosstrees" it would be a courtesy flag so would look silly when you were not in UK waters.

However, I do not beleive there is any rules about what you ply from the "port crosstrees" (or your port rigging if you do not have a crosstree, like me). Therefore, my recomendation is that you hoist the Union Flag in your port rigging. This would be totally unconventional and may result in people asking you why it is there, but I do not beleive you will upset anyone or break any laws! Anyone out there want to disagree?
 

vyv_cox

Well-known member
Joined
16 May 2001
Messages
25,056
Location
France, sailing Aegean Sea.
Port side courtesy flag?

This seems to be an acceptable option. I have seen a number of boats in UK and Dutch waters flying a flag of another country, especially USA, from the port spreaders. On enquiry it usually transpires that a crew member is from that country. I assume it is equally valid if the boat is from a foreign country.
 

johnt

New member
Joined
30 May 2001
Messages
206
Re: my understanding is.

It gets worse doesnt it Martin .........but to answer your questions !

1 No. registration of a vessal is not obligatory.

registration is volantary and may be done in two ways (a) small ships register (SSR) or part one of full registration.

2 can you register?.....it isnt clear,..... and you would be best advised to contact the RYA who should be able to give a definative answer.
 
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