The Nautic Way Maritime Library offers a wide choice of flags, not all of them are presented in this section: countries, regions, size, ... do not hesitate to ask us.
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On a boat, the word flag does not exist, only flags are used.
The courtesy flag is a mark of respect for the country you are visiting.
It is hoisted onto the spreader halyard, on the starboard side, of the forwardmost mast. It is mandatory and must be installed as soon as you enter the territorial waters of the country visited. To hoist it to port, as some of our neighbors do, whom we will not mention, is an insult to the country visited.
It is smaller than the national pavilion. As a courtesy, we wear it from sunrise to sunset and from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. once in port.
In addition to the courtesy flag, you must hoist the free practice flag
This is flag Q (in memory of the time when ships remained in Quarantine).
We send it into the spreaders on the port side. It indicates that you are requesting the right to enter and land in the waters of the country of arrival. You must then go to the customs offices to complete the formalities, see our article on clearances. Since the creation of the European Union, this practice is no longer necessary in Europe, but remains valid in other countries. Once the formalities have been completed, the flag is lowered.