While Boating, You See A Red Flag With A White Diagonal Stripe. What Does This Flag Mean?

Imagine yourself cruising on the water in your powerboat, taking in the scenery. Then a crimson flag with a white diagonal stripe appears out of nowhere. Do you have any idea what to do?

You’re approaching a group of scuba divers if you see a red flag with a white diagonal stripe while boating. Slow down and maintain a 300-foot buffer between your boat and the flag.

It is critical to be conscious of others when it comes to maintaining the water safe for everyone. This means you’ll need to be able to recognize and interpret numerous signs and flags used to direct boat traffic.

dive flag

After all, boating safety includes safe driving and avoiding submerged risks. In our guide, you can learn the whole meaning of a red flag with diagonal white stripe. By the end, you’ll know more than what it means, but also what to do when you are near a red flag with white stripe. (Find the Best Kayak Anchor Pole)

When You See a Red Flag Or Buoy With a White Diagonal Stripe?

If you are new to boating of any type, you’ll often wonder what does a white diagonal stripe mean on such red flag.

Denzel James Dockery and Ted Nixon of US Divers invented the Diagonal Striped Flag in 1956, and it quickly became famous across the United States. A scuba flag, or diver down flag, is a flag in the water to signify a diver below. There are two types of flags in use.

The white and blue alfa/alpha code flag is used internationally to show that a vessel has a diver down and that other vessels should remain well clear at a slow speed.

It is traditionally a rectangular red flag with a white stripe from the upper left corner to the lower right corner in North America.

You may notice a red flag with a white diagonal line while canoeing or kayaking and wonder what it symbolizes. A diver down flag is the name given to this flag. It informs other kayakers, divers, or boat drivers that scuba diving activity in the area is from potential scuba divers in the water.

This flag should always be displayed on a boat, kayak, or floating buoy where other divers, kayakers, and boat drivers may see it. The white diagonal stripe is constructed of reflective material to help it stand out at night.

The diving limit is approximately 300 feet from the flag, so boats and owners know where to go and are aware of where not to go with their boats.

Following are some guidelines:

  • To avoid any form of accident, boaters should first search for other visible drivers in the water, even if they don’t display a diagonal stripe flag.
  • Ensure you have the right equipment, such as life jackets, on board for any first aid situations, along with oxygen units.
  • Turn off the motor near the diver to avoid propeller accidents.
  • Look for diver down flags in the water; as any glare, large waves, or bad weather may obscure divers.
  • Be careful when water skiing in a particular location, such as open waters. Your approach speed could be too fast for you to see areas where divers are or other kayakers and boats where operators are diving or fishing. The owner or operator of a boat/vessel must store or carry certain safety equipment (USCG).

red with white stripe flag

What Is The Red Flag With The Diagonal Stripe?

As a boat driver or vessel owner, you must understand what it means and how critical it is for the safety of everyone on the water. Here are some helpful hints:

  • Keep your boat at least 300 feet (91 meters) away from the flat or any diving operation to avoid injuring anyone.
  • If you are familiar with the area and are driving the boat, you may tell where people frequently come to dive. Take it easy in some areas as people make mistakes and can break the law, so it’s possible you don’t see the flag all the time, which violates the law.
  • If someone gets too close to your boat, try to communicate. Let them know you’re approaching and tell them to keep a safe distance.
  • Check the back of your boat just before starting it to be sure no one is close or under your propeller.
  • Always double-check that your vessel has the necessary first-aid kit, oxygen units, and other essential safety equipment.
  • Besides the Red Alpha Flag, check for SMB or DSMB (Surface Marker Buoy) buoys, which a scuba group may use instead of the classic mariner’s red flag.

When should you stay away from anchoring?

Anchoring in places with strong currents should be avoided if at all workable, especially if the bottom is unlikely to protect you from dragging anchor in such areas as sandy or rocky bottoms. Also, avoid anchoring near submerged objects such as sunken ships or submarine cables.

When You See a Flag With a White Diagonal Stripe?

Affixed to floating loads, a kayak, or ship, this flag is frequently flown so that other divers and kayakers, when fishing, can see it while paddling. The flag’s white diagonal line is made of reflective material, making it easy to see at night. (Learn How Many Calories Burned Swimming 30 Minutes)

You might come upon a red flag with white diagonal stripe while kayaking and ask, “What does this flag mean?” The flag is the diver down flag and informs other boaters and kayakers when divers are in the water.

  • The red flag with white diagonal stripe is not an international flag, yet it is now state law in several states. The “A” flag should be used on the vessel, even though it is flown on a float to show the diver’s approximate location.
  • Divers-down flags must be at least 20 inches by 24 inches and be supported by a stiffener to stay unfurled. A dive flag with a diagonal stipe should be at least 12 inches by 12 inches to be carried on floats.
  • Finally, diver-down flags must be displayed above the vessel’s highest point, with no obstructions to the flag’s visibility in any direction.
  • A diving flag may not be shown when divers are out of the water.
  • Never enter the water with a boat’s engine running, or you can face injury. Let the engine come to a complete stop before jumping in.
  • On open waters, vessel operators must keep a distance of at least 300 feet from divers-down flags and at least 100 feet from flags when fishing in rivers, inlets, and navigation channels.
  • Vessels must slow to idling speed within 300 feet of diver-down flags in open water and within 100 feet of them in rivers, inlets, and navigation channels.
  • In case of injury, make emergency plans and stay safe.
  • Keep away from alcohol before diving or kayaking in Florida, and your alcohol level is above 0.0, and your respiratory alcohol level is higher than .02.
  • Alcohol plays a major role in 50% of all boating accidents.

Any time on the water, you always need to maintain vigilance in case you see such flags, as other boaters should do if you raise a red flag with a white diagonal.

While Boating, You See A Red Flag With A White Diagonal Stripe. What Does This Flag Mean (1)