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Old 21 August 2014, 16:10   #1
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Guess what this flag means?!

Just curious how many people recognise this flag and what it means to other water users?

Be interested to see who gives the best answer! No prizes I'm afraid.

Will explain more after a few replies!
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Old 21 August 2014, 16:13   #2
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I'm happy to play the game and give the obvious answer which you're about to tell me is wrong I'm sure

I've always thought that that, and a red saltire (if that makes sense!!) are flags indicating diving in process...ie keep well clear....
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Old 21 August 2014, 16:24   #3
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Okay - nothing else to do

International Marine Signal Flag A . -

Diver below (when stationary) - keep well clear at slow speed

I am undergoing a speed trial
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Old 21 August 2014, 16:24   #4
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It doesn't mean anything because nobody knows what the Alfa Flag means :P

Diver down flag is a boat attractant. I fly one when diving though.
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Old 21 August 2014, 16:53   #5
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From recent experience it means ' This boat is being helmed by a complete ass who will dump divers right on top of your fishing tackle with absolutely no regard for their safety'.

'Cee King' (a hard boat that looks very much like an angling charter boat from the bows) out of Plymouth motored up on the windward side of our drift while we were fishing Hands Deep, keeping his A-flag and passengers completely hidden.
He then turned broadside and started putting divers down right over the top of our fishing lines before we even had a chance to reel in, resulting in a 'sh*t, get your lines in' moment.
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Old 21 August 2014, 17:03   #6
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Well done. 100%.

Flag Alpha. Divers in the water, stay well clear. In the UK it should the the blue and white flag as I have posted, abroad its more commonly the red stripe flag.

It should always be treated as divers present regardless of how bizarre the circumstances or location* - keep well clear and very slow. Beware the divers may be nowhere near the boat / quay / pier / pontoon / slip where the flag is displayed. In commercial diving the diver might be 150m (or more) away from the flag right at the end of his umbilical, and in leisure diving the skipper might not be on the ball, or may be nervous of being too close to the diver 'just in case'.

*for example you may see a rib or hardboat traveling at speed out at sea flying the flag alpha, yes they may have forgotten to take it down, but also they may have more than 1 diver they are watching and the divers may have drifted apart - especially the case with scallop divers etc - in which case the skipper may be traveling quite fast back and forth between the divers marker buoys to keep tabs on both. Never make assumptions - always err on the side of caution!

I'm constantly amazed both in recreational and commercial diving how few people recognise this flag. We often have massive flags plus huge signs stating divers down, keep away in massive letters and the flags we use at work all have divers written in huge black letters on them too, yet so many people come tearing right up to us to ask sometime really stupid questions. Today we were diving very briefly in the harbour to check something and I had to politely inform several yachts what the flag meant. In the past I've even seen boats approach to ask what country we're from!

Sadly propellors always win over human flesh and bones.

Thanks for reading. Had to share this after today!
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Old 21 August 2014, 17:06   #7
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Nos4r2 - yeah of course there will always be numpties in any sport or pursuit. Its the nature of human beings. At least some of us can try to learn to do the right thing. I treat every day as a school day. It's a boring day when there is nothing left to learn
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Old 21 August 2014, 17:09   #8
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Quote:
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Nos4r2 - yeah of course there will always be numpties in any sport or pursuit. Its the nature of human beings. At least some of us can try to learn to do the right thing. I treat every day as a school day. It's a boring day when there is nothing left to learn
It's bad when it's a commercial skipper doing it though. They're paid to know and be better than that.

And yes, every day is a school day
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Old 21 August 2014, 17:20   #9
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Agree entirely, bad etiquette if nothing else. 1st come 1st served on a wreck I reckon. If i get way out to a wreck I want to dive and other people are there diving / fishing / whatever I simply go elsewhere, plenty of wrecks to see all close together on the south coast at least. Failing that I wait for them to leave.

On the positive side of today's little dip I had no idea how many boat related things people throw off their boats. Certain inspection jobs are always rewarding in Poole where things naturally accumulate as they drift down the harbour, but today we found anchors, sunglasses, winch handles, you name it, we found it!
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Old 21 August 2014, 17:38   #10
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Here is mine.....
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Old 21 August 2014, 17:39   #11
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Guess what this flag means?!

Downside with any flag is they often are not visible from certain angles depending on wind direction ,
Dive boats seriously wanting immunity ought to have a rigid flag mounted thats visible from at least different 3 sides such as triangular shaped box .

Some country also have a minimum flag size .
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Old 22 August 2014, 00:40   #12
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If you have divers down and they are all over the place surely using SMBs would be worthwhile
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Old 22 August 2014, 02:28   #13
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If you have divers down and they are all over the place surely using SMBs would be worthwhile
When surfacing away from the boat we always launch a DSMB. Most people are not capable of launching one safely from depth or their safety stop. Where there is kelp it is impossible to tow anything at the surface. It is hard enough to swim through without snagging occasionally. Some states in the USA require a dive flag be towed. Although they bring along their own hazard. PWC's think dive flags being towed are great slalom courses, and fisherman have been known to pull a diver up. (Yeah most of us know to never clip off any line to yourself, but some don't.) Dive defensively!
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Old 22 August 2014, 02:30   #14
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Boat cover guy should sort all those problems out
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Old 22 August 2014, 04:51   #15
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I often send this to my Ex-RN mate and watch him titter over his PC screen;
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Old 22 August 2014, 05:08   #16
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Is that "I need assistance, I need a tug"
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Old 22 August 2014, 07:28   #17
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ZBW;
"I require a tug, I am discharging a dangerous cargo, I need a doctor"....phnarr, chortle, chortle etc,etc.

Very imature!

Going back to Nos's point, if we pole up to a wreck with fisherman on it, we go over to them, expalin we'd liketo dive it on slack and when this will be and when it'll finish and almost always there is an amicable arrangement agreed.
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Old 22 August 2014, 10:18   #18
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As an old school BS-AC instructor and branch training officer it horrifies me to see the complete ignorance of the "A" flag on boat courses even by folk who say they are PADI instructors, and others who are doing intermediate or advanced but did their L2 elsewhere and were never told about the flag on previous courses.

We always include the A flag under IRPCS on L2 courses as well as the red plus white stripe beloved of certain folk. However the International flag under collision regs is the "A" and its not just in sport diving. When working out of Ijmuiden in NL it was a common sight to see damaged vessels leaning against the harbour wall as we came back to our berth. Divers over the side welding up the damage. Numerous A flags hanging over the side and often a guy at the bow waving an A flag frantically, mainly because the high speed boat we were running had unbaffled dry exhausts which made it sound like it was doing 20 knots even when we were crawling in.
The full meaning of the A flag is
"I have a diver down, keep clear and at slow speed"
and yes divers are a pain when we are fishing.
Flag needs pulling down when the divers are back onboard. We see dive club ribs speed past us so often with the A flag still flying like the 7th cavalry. That diver must be swimming like the clappers!
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Old 22 August 2014, 13:42   #19
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Of course, you could be really pedantic and ask if this signal complies with the IRPCS requirements and if not, why not?

Again - no prizes.
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Old 22 August 2014, 15:05   #20
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Guess what this flag means?!

T[ATTACH]98178[/ATTACH
What does this Red & yellow flag mean ?
Should it be used by dive boats picking up divers who have surfaced ?
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