What does a diver-down flag look like?

I have heard many individuals as this inquiry previously: what does a diver down flag look like? or while boating, you see a red flag with a white diagonal stripe. What does this flag mean?

All things considered, let me say that you have gone to the ideal place. Today before you go, I trust you will have comprehended what a diver down flag looks like.

Quick answer – two types of diver down flags

Law necessitates that scuba divers or swimmers display a flag to mark the diving area. Vessels not engaged in diving operations must remain at least 100 feet away from areas displaying a diver-down flag.

Scuba divers and swimmers ought not to place a flag in an area already involved by different boaters or where their diving operation will block the normal progression of waterway traffic. Divers also ought to follow all of the water safety rules themselves.

Two kinds of flags are utilized to indicate diving activity:

1. Alfa flag

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A blue-and-white International Code Flag An (or Alfa flag), at least 3.3 feet (one meter) high and noticeable from all bearings, must be displayed on vessels on federally controlled waters. This flag indicates that the vessel is engaged with a diving activity.

2. Divers flag

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A rectangular warning with a white diagonal stripe must be displayed from a float during diving operations if on state waters.

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Diver down flag

According to Wikipedia, a diver down flag is also called a scuba flag and is a flag that divers use when on the water as an indication that there is a diver under the water or as it were, beneath the water.

While it is may appear to be an easy affair, it isn’t. There are kinds of flags that you should use with a clear indication of where you should utilize them.

Types of diver down flag

Apparently, there are two main styles of the diver down flag. The main sort of diver down flag is the red diver down flag. Another kind of a diver down flag is the Alpha flag.

The red diver flag

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The diver-in-the-water flag is the notable warning divided by a white, diagonal stripe. The stripe runs from the upper left corner of the flag to the lower right corner. This flag is utilized when divers are in the water to alert boats to the chance of divers near the surface.

In many locations, these flags ought to be brought down or expelled from the water after the divers have safely left the water.

Legislation in many parts of North America necessitates that diver flags be flown at whatever point divers are in the water, and the flag is perceived in many parts of the world.

The alpha flag

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The alpha flag is a white and blue flag with a triangular indent on the free end. The left half of the flag is white and the correct side of the flag is blue. The alpha flag is perceived internationally and fills an alternate need from the red-and-white flag.

The alpha flag is flown by a boat at whatever point the portability of the vessel is limited. Other watercraft ought to perceive that the boat can not move rapidly, and should yield the option to proceed to a vessel flying an alpha flag.

A dive boat must stay near the divers it is tending, so it cannot easily move from the region of the individuals under the water.

In many parts of the world, the alpha flag is perceived as an indication that divers are in the area, however, the flag has different utilizations and it is advisable to fly both the alpha flag and the diver-in-the-water flag to avoid disarray.

What is the purpose of a diver down flag?

Like we have seen above, there is no main distinction in the motivation behind any diver down flag. Apparently, the two flags play out the same kind of work.

They will advise any approaching vessel in water to avoid a particular area in the water where there is a diver down.

The main reason for doing this is the aversion of any accidents or crashes since most dive boats are regularly unable to maneuver off the beaten path. So what does a diver down flag look like – now you know?

Who displays the alpha flag?

The ‘Alpha’ flag ought to be displayed by any vessel that is engaged in the diving operations on the off chance that it is limited and is unable to maneuver.

It ought to also be utilized by a vessel with a diver down if the vessel is small in size and is unable to display the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (IRPCS) required shapes and lights.

NOTE: Even however the Alpha flag may be a decent caution sign that guards the diver, it is actually the region of the water vessel that is displaying the Alpha flag that’s important as it is the main thing that any approaching vessel will see.

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How to use the diver down flag?

On the off chance that you are planning on utilizing the diver down flag there are a couple of things that you have to remember.

These tips will assist you with maximizing the advantages of the diver down flag which is nothing other than a safety measure.  To begin with, guarantee that you get your vessel to the correct position.

This ought to be an apposition where any water vessel that’s approaching your way will have the option to see you. It ought to also be where you can see all the vessels that are approaching from any angle.

Next, you should keep one individual on the watch. It is hard to aid the diver and also stay in the lookout for a water vessel that’s approaching your course.

In any case, on the off chance that you function as a team, it will be easy to aid each other and to watch out for any potential vessel. In any case, it is important that the flag is displayed appropriately.

Without legitimate display, the approaching vessel may read an inappropriate signal. Thus, make sure that as you display the flag, everybody that’s in the line with approaching vessels can actually observe the flag and read the message clearly for them to keep off or coming in really gradually.

How close can boats get to your dive flag?

Boats and other watercraft should stay well clear of dive flags should decrease their speed when approaching an area where a flag is noticeable. The exact distance varies with location – usually between 50 to 300 feet of the dive flag.

How should a diver carry a dive flag?

In situations that require a diver to fly his own dive flag, the diver should tow the dive flag above him during the dive. Commercially available dive flags usually accompany a float or inflatable raft to keep the flag upstanding at the surface.

The diver tows the flag utilizing a line attached to a reel. The reel ought to contain a length of line multiple times longer than the anticipated profundity of the dive.

Never cut the reel to your buoyancy compensator or dive gear when it is attached to a dive flag because you hazard getting entangled in the line or dragged along behind a flag snagged by a boat.

Divers who are utilizing a dive flag ought to also carry a line-slicing gadget to cut the line in case of entanglement. Finally, all dive flags ought to be sufficiently solid to remain spread out and obvious without the breeze.

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What should you do if you have to surface far from your dive Flag?

In an ideal world, divers would always surface just underneath their dive flags or exceptionally near the dive boat. In any case, it is conceivable that a diver may get muddled or have a crisis, and have to surface away from the dive flag.

Thus, it is a smart thought to carry an inflatable surface marker float at any dive site where there is the chance of boat traffic.

The float ought to be attached to a reel and ought to be inflated and sent to the surface before the diver attempts to surface.

A diver surfacing far from his dive flag or boat ought to always scan the surface of the water and tune in for boat traffic before surfacing.

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Flags protect diver safety!

Dive flags alert boat traffic to the nearness of divers so as to avoid a crash. A diver should take care to surface near his dive flag or dive boat anytime there is the chance of boat traffic.

Be that as it may, not all boaters are familiar with the utilization of dive flags, or sufficiently aware to see their essence.

Prior to surfacing, divers ought to always look and tune in to affirm that no boats are passing overhead. The white-on-red scuba flag is a cultural artifact, but on the other hand, it’s an essential bit of survival gear for any diver. In case you’re on the water and see a diver flag, give that area a wide billet.

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History of the diver down flag

Planned and presented in 1956 by Navy veteran Denzel James Dockery. After making a homemade scuba gear he discovered he required a way of warding inquisitive boaters off and planned the red and white divers-down flag. The reality is somewhat confounded. The expectation isn’t. Keeping boats and divers safe.

So in North America where the red and white diving flag is perceived (and regularly required) it ought to be displayed conspicuously by all game divers. Setting up the Alfa flag as well does no harm at all however will probably not be perceived by all boaters.

Somewhere else on the planet the International Alfa flag is broadly perceived and ought to be flown, it is usually the law to do so anyway.

Adding the red and white flag does no harm and isn’t usually precluded. On the off chance that you are diving in a nation where you are not familiar with the custom and law, ask a local dive shop. If all else fails fly the two flags.

Commercial divers and remote ocean divers with air hoses will display the alfa flag not exclusively to warn of divers underneath yet, in addition, to warn different vessels that the boat has confined developments because of divers attached to airlines.


It may look like probably the littlest detail that you don’t have to watch out for. However, it isn’t. This straightforward scuba diving flag will make the distinction between life and death. And while you ask; what does a diver down flag look like, you ought to be ready to go the extra mile and learn how it is utilized.

All things being equal, the individuals that have utilized dive flag for snorkeling and scuba diving understand why it is important and why you need a diver down flag.

Thankfully, you presently do as well. Along these lines, before you engage in such an activity, you should ready with all your hardware including the diver down flag.

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Sara Jonson photo

Author: Sara Jonson

Hey! I’m Sara, diver passionate about exploring the world and sharing tips along the way. I have been lucky to dive in unbeliveble places over the globe and i hope all of the info you find ib my diving blog will help you to plan your next dive adventure:)