Yachts, Burgees and Yacht Club Signal Flag Etiquette

Yachts, Burgees and Signal Flag Etiquette

I heard the term Burgee the other day and wondered what it was. After doing some research about yachts, yacht clubs and how they use maritime signal flags I thought it would be great to share some info on my blog.

The Club Burgee. An owner who is a member of more than one club should fly the burgee of the club in whose waters he is cruising at his masthead. A second (or more) club burgees can be flown from the starboard yardarm – if the particular club rules permit. If the yachts are outside the home waters of any of the owners clubs, then the flag and the ensign of the senior club should be flown.

Dressed overall for private occasions – such as an Open regatta day. Yachts dressed overall make a wonderful spectacle and add to the atmosphere of any regatta. At the mast head the correct burgee with an appropriate ensign should be worn; if the yacht has two masts then it may fly a house flag at the mizzen truck.

According to the USPS it does matter. starting at the waterline forward to the waterline aft, by way of bow spirits, and mast heads. Flags and pennants are bent on alternately rather then indiscriminate manner. 2 flags, 1 pennant,2 flags, 1 pennant. Starting forward AB2, UJ1,KE3,GH6, IV5, FL4, DM7, PO third repeater, RN first repeater, ST Zero, CX9, WQ8, ZY Second repeater. S/V Trinity

Full set signal flags bow to stern

Full set signal flags bow to stern

Yacht club burgee- Yacht club burgee
This picture shows an actual burgee

Burgee of Barrachois Harbor Yacht Club, Nova Scotia, Canada

Burgee of Barrachois Harbor Yacht Club, Nova Scotia, Canada
Members belonging to a yacht club or sailing organization may fly their club’s unique triangular burgee both while underway and at anchor (however, not while racing). Traditionally, the burgee was flown from the main masthead, however it may also be flown from a small pole on the bow pulpit, or even the starboard rigging beneath the lowest starboard spreader on a flag halyard.

Traditionally, the first time a member of one club visits another; there is an exchange of burgees. Exchanged burgees are then often displayed on the premise of each, such as at a club office or bar.

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13 thoughts on “Yachts, Burgees and Yacht Club Signal Flag Etiquette

  1. Pingback: Yachts, Burgees and Yacht Club Signal Flag Etiquette | Boating Beauties

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  5. in a yacht club should the burgee be hung vertically or horizonatally. I can’t find a google answer to this etiquette question

  6. I had trouble myself finding an answer. I found the following taken from this site:
    http://www.burgees.com/burgeeframe.htm

    “Almost every Yacht Club has a unique Burgee (flag) that identifies their member’s boats. There’s a lot written about etiquette on how to fly your Burgee depending on vessel type. Modern sailing vessels fly the Burgee from a lanyard under the starboard spreader on the mast, while older sailing vessels fly the burgee from the main masthead. Power boats fly the Burgee off a short staff on the bow.
    Yachtees love “Opening Day” when they get to parade their yachts and fly their Burgees.”

    In pictures I have seen the burgees in the yacht club hung vertically. Thanks for asking and if I find out more info I will let you know.

    Kathy

  7. On your site you state that when dressing ship There is no single correct order for code flags used in dressing overall. According to the USPS it does matter. starting at the waterline forward to the waterline aft, by way of bow spirits, and mast heads. Flags and pennants are bent on aternately rather then indiscriminate manner. 2 flags, 1 pennant,2 flags, 1 pennant.Sarting forward AB2, UJ1,KE3,GH6, IV5, FL4, DM7, PO third repeater, RN first repeater, ST Zero, CX9, WQ8, ZY Second repeater. S/V Trinity

  8. Thanks for letting me know that and I corrected the post. When I researched this subject I think I used Wikipedia but don’t remember for sure. Thanks again,
    Kathy

  9. Hi – you state “On a national occasion, it becomes correct to fly an ensign at the masthead. If abroad it would be correct etiquette to fly that countries ensign on the taff rail.”

    It is NEVER permissable to fly anything other than the maritime ensign of the ship’s country of registration at the taffrail – this is where she wears her Colours and displays her nationality. To do as you suggest is in fact a breach of the UN Convention of the Sea, and in the UK a breach of the 1995 Merchant Shipping Act and of the Queen’s Regulations for the Royal Navy (which in this respect covers all British vessels).

  10. I am of the old school – I object to seeing a yacht club burgee flying from the starbaord spreader. With all the “stuff” at the mast head these days, I recognize the need for an alternative solution. I have proposed to my yacht club that we authorize a flag with the burgee inscribed within the rectangle with a border matching the one on the burgee. I’ll gladly send a picture to anyone who e-mails me at jmbaker@bestweb.net. I’d like this to actually become a recognized standard. (Remember when sailboats couldn’t carry the ensign at the taffrail? I actually stitched it three-quarters of the way up the leech of my mailsail before it was okay to carry at the taffrail under sail.)

  11. First of all I want to say awesome blog! I had a quick question which I’d like to ask if you don’t mind.
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  12. Don’t know if this will help but tend to write when I have plenty of time and no distractions and sometimes it takes 10-15 minutes to formulate it all. Thanks for liking my blog.

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