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International Maritime Signal Flags; Flag Meanings

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The international maritime signal flags represent an internationally, worldwide-accepted, system of representing individual alphabet letters in signals to, or from, ships. The international maritime signal flags are component of INTERCO (International Code of Signals). Continued below; scroll down for maritime flag meanings

The flags are used by ships while at sea. A ship can use the flags to spellout messages, and, if used in combinations, the flags have special meanings (see the flags below).

Generally, flags can be used as signals through several methods, as follows: a) Each flag stands out for an alphabetic message; b) Individual flags have specific meanings; c) One or more flags can form a code

The alphabet is the same used by NATO: Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo, Foxtrot, Golf, Hotel, India, Juliet, Kilo, Lima, Mike, November, Oscar, Papa, Quebec, Romeo, Sierra, Tango, Uniform, Victor, Whiskey, Xray, Yankee, Zulu. Actually, the alphabet was developed by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) - and it was subsequently adopted by many other international and national organizations, some of which are NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation), IMO (International Maritime Organization), ANSI (American National Standards Institute), FAA (Federal Aviation Administration).


Meanings of International Maritime Signal Flags

alpha maritime signal flag   A Alpha = Diver below (when stationary); I am undergoing a speed trial

bravo maritime signal flag   B Bravo = I am taking on or discharging explosives

charlie maritime signal flag   C Charlie = (affirmative)

delta maritime signal flag   D Delta = keep clear of me, I am manoevering with difficulty

echo maritime signal flag   E Echo = I am altering my course to starboard

foxtrot maritime signal flag   F Foxtrot = I am disabled, communicate with me

golf maritime signal flag   G Golf = I require a pilot

hotel maritime signal flag   H Hotel = I have a pilot on board

india maritime signal flag   I India = I am altering my course to port

juliet maritime signal flag   J Juliet = I am going to send a message by semaphore

kilo maritime signal flag   K Kilo = you should stop your vessel instantly

lima maritime signal flag   Lima = you should stop, I have something important to communicate

mike maritime signal flag   M Mike = I have a doctor on board

november maritime signal flag   N November = no (negative)

oscar maritime signal flag   O Oscar = man overboard

papa maritime signal flag   P Papa = the Blue Peter - all aboard, vessel is about to proceed sea. (At sea) your lights are out or burning badly

quebec maritime signal flag   Q Quebec = my vessel is healthy and I request free practique

romeo maritime signal flag   R Romeo = the way is off my ship. You may feel you way past me

sierra maritime signal flag   S Sierra = my engines are going full speed astern

tango maritime signal flag   T Tango = do not pass ahead of me

uniform maritime signal flag   U Uniform = you are standing into danger

victor maritime signal flag   V Victor = I require assistance (not distress)

whiskey maritime signal flag   W Whiskey = I require medical assistance

xray maritime signal flag   X Xray = stop carrying out your intentions and watch for my signals

yankee maritime signal flag   Y Yankee = I am carrying mails

zulu maritime signal flag   Z Zulu = to be used to address or call shore stations

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