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Signal Flags

Though most of us use them only to dress ship, signal flags are still an important method of communication for the cruising sailor. The individual flags represent the letters of the alphabet, numbers and other things as well. Many flags also have special meanings, which are particularly important when cruising outside US waters. (For a full listing of the special meanings, please refer to "Publication 102" - see below.) These may be your only means of communication, when trying to communicate with a foreign vessel or when entering a foreign port.

A list of the signal flags, their meaning and some fun educational tools are available here. Learn how to spell your vessel’s name, how to send ‘secret’ messages to your friends on another boat, or simply how to correctly request assistance when (not if) your VHF fails.

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