While in Nashville a cruise was undertaken with a few of Glen's relatives: cousin Emily, cousin-in-law Mike, and first-cousin-once-removed Anne. The expanded crew piloted Last Dance up the Cumberland River, through the Old Hickory Lock and Dam, to Creekwood Marina. Of course, folks new to cruising boats have a passel of questions. During the question/answer session, Emily said: "Why don't you write a post on the blog about flags?" So, here is the response to the request.
One note -- Emily must not have been looking at the flags closely, as she would have recognized the affiliation indicated by one and have commented. More later.
Flag etiquette on boats and ships developed centuries ago as a means of communication. Rules remain today. The only time the United States flag can be flown lower than other flags in on a boat. The position of highest honor is at the stern, so the flag identifying the country of origin or registration of the boat is properly flown from the stern. While US boats are in the United States, there is no rigid requirement that the county flag be flown. But, in foreign countries, it is expected.
When entering a foreign country, a boat is required to fly a small, yellow flag indicating it is in quarantine. This flag is flown from the starboard spreader or the jackstaff on the bow. No one is allowed to go ashore, except the captain to immediately clear customs. When the foreign country accepts the boat and all aboard as eligible to enter the country, the quarantine flag is replaced with a small flag of the foreign country. This flag is called a courtesy flag. The route chosen for Last Dance's journey on the Great Loop will take her to two foreign countries: Canada and the Bahama Islands.
Other flags are flown on boats to indicate affiliation with organizations and groups. Flags of yacht clubs and organizations are known as "burgees" and are sometimes triangular or swallow-tailed shaped.
The burgee on the jackstaff of Last Dance indicates membership in the American Great Loop Cruisers Association. This burgee is flown by members as they cruise the Great Loop route. It is a great assistance in identifying other boats on the Loop and brings many people together. The impromptu rendezvous noted in the North Channel posting was organized because boats displaying this burgee kept arriving at the anchorage, and a party broke out.
Boats that have completed the Great Loop fly a burgee with a gold background and those who have cruised the Great Loop multiple times fly a burgee with a platinum background. http://www.greatloop.org/
The burgee with DF is the DeFever Cruisers burgee. Arthur DeFever designed Last Dance and many ocean-capable cruising boats (he does not like the term "trawler.") An association of owners of DeFever-designed boats, and those admiring his designs, provides information and camaraderie. Our Passion for Cruising - We would rather be anchored in a scenic cove than tied up in a marina. We would rather explore a deserted beach than swim in a country club pool. And we would rather share a libation on deck with fellow cruisers and enjoy a golden sunset than watch TV ashore.
Rotary International is a worldwide service organization with 34,000 local clubs. Glen has been a Rotarian many years. Rotary has some fellowship organizations comprised of Rotarians with similar interests. This burgee represents the International Fellowship of Yachting Rotarians and was originally founded in Great Britain. http://www.iyfr.net/t1/aboutus/index.php
George Dibbern's flag is a very different type of representation and message. Dibbern left Germany on a sailboat in the 1930's because he did not like the nationalistic politics. He was in New Zealand when the Nazis took control of Germany. The New Zealand authorities would not let him in port flying the old German flag and he refused to fly the swastika on his boat. His solution was to design his own flag and make his own passport, declaring himself a citizen of the world and a friend of all peoples.