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Fashion Show

Flag My Attention

Huh. I was looking out back, over the harbor yesterday, and I noticed two little nautical flags flying over the Harbormaster's office in the public landing:

I highlighted the flags to make them easier to see. 

I wanted to get a closer look, so I zoomed in on them a bit (digital zoom; not such great quality, but you can see stuff closer):

Huh. I wondered what was up. So, I looked up what the flags mean:

International meanings for nautical flags: 
A: Alpha - diver down; keep clear
B: Bravo - carrying dangerous cargo
C: Charlie - yes
D: Delta - keep clear
E: Echo - altering course to starboard
F: Foxtrot - I am disabled
G: Golf - I want a pilot
H: Hotel - a pilot on board
I: India - I am altering course to port
J: Juliet - vessel on fire keep clear
K: Kilo - I want to communicate with you
L: Lima - stop your vessel instantly
M: Mike -my vessel is stopped
N: November - no
O: Oscar - Man overboard
P: Papa - vessel is about to sail
Q: Quebec - I request free pratique
R: Romeo - reverse course
S: Sierra - engines are going astern
T: Tango - keep clear
U: Uniform - you are heading into danger
V: Victor - require assistance
W: Whiskey - require medical assistance
X: X-ray - stop your intention
Y: Yankee - am dragging anchor
Z: Zulu - I require a tug

Far as I can figure out, the flags are "O" and "D", which also mean "Man Overboard", "Keep Clear". So maybe they had a diver down there? Cuz there were no ambulances or Concerned Faces. But, there is a flag for that, "A", "Diver down, keep clear". It's still a mystery. Maybe some alert blog reader can enlighten me. 

But .... then I thought I should knit little nautical flags and adorn hats with them. I could make them removable and interchangeable. I wouldn't mind proclaiming "Keep Clear" or "You Are Heading Into Danger" or "Carrying Dangerous Cargo" or, my current favorite, "I Require a Tug". I could display a different message every day, depending on my mood or situation. And I could keep "Vessel on Fire Keep Clear" handy in my purse, in case of an emergency spontaneous human combustion occurrence. You never know, really, do you?

Gives you something to think about while you knit, anyway.  :) 



Interesting. Two flag signals are distress signals under the international code of signals, but a quick look at the book tells me that makes no sense - "OD" means "My draft is..." and should be followed by a number. It's to let people know what your draft was when you ran aground, which can't possibly apply.

Reading them as individual flags - "Man Overboard" and "Keep Clear" make more sense to me if someone had fallen off the dock, and maybe needed some time to get to a ladder and climb out.

Strange indeed.

Beth Collins

Thanks for the comment Shanti!! I am glad I am not the only one who finds it strange. And as far as I know, the flags are still there, 2 days later. hmm.


I LOVE them. There are many that fit my needs. Today I could really have used and X, Y and Z all at the same time! Kelley

Beth Collins

Yes! I think I will really have to do this. Might take a while, there are so dang many of the little buggers, but oh well :) I think we all need it!


Ask the Harbor Master about it. I'm curious too. Wouldn't OV be better? and what is the difference between D and T?

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