What Are Dive Flags Used For?
Most people are familiar with the iconic red and white flag that divers use; typically these flags are printed on shirts, stickers and other scuba related items. For many divers, the flag is a perfect symbol to represent their love of diving to the public. These flags are much more than symbols; they are practical devices that are used to ensure the safety of divers.
What are dive flags used for?
Dive flags are used to alert boats and vessels about the presence of divers in the area; when a boat operator sees one of these flags, they know that divers are near. Hopefully, when the boat owner sees one of these flags, they will avoid the area. Dive flags are an easy way to alert boat owners; this prevents collisions and accidents.
What do they look like?
There are two different kinds of dive flags: the alpha flag and the diver down flag. Each flag has a different use:
Alpha Flag andndash; The alpha flag is blue and white; the left side of the flag is white and the right side is blue. The flag is thrown from a boat; it shows that the boat's mobility is restricted. When other boats see this flag, they realize that the boat can't move; this gives them the opportunity to change their course.
A dive boat needs to stay near the divers it is tending; in most parts of the world, the flag signifies that there are divers close to the boat.
Diver Down Flag - The diver down flag is red with a white stripe; the flag is used by divers to alert boats that there are divers near the surface. In many areas, it is against the law to dive without one of these flags; this is especially true if there are boats in the area.
When should you use a dive flag?
Dive flags need to be used when there is a possibility of boat traffic near your dive site; basically, the flags need to be flown all the time. When diving, it is important to always stay within a couple hundred of feet of the flag. When a boat owner sees a dive flag, they are required to stay 50 to 300 feet away from it. When diving, always be careful; it is not uncommon for distracted boat owners to completely miss dive flags in the water. Always visually check the surface and listen for any boats before surfacing from a dive.
Dive flags are a way to alert boats and vessels about your presence; hopefully, when they see one of these flags, they will steer clear of the area. When you are diving, always try to surface near your dive flag; the closer you are, the less likely is that there will be a boat near you. Remember, not all boat owners are familiar with dive flags. Before surfacing, make sure to be aware of your surroundings. It never hurts to visually check the surface and listen for any boats in the area.