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Signal Flags

Flags to represent individual letters of the alphabet to aid in signalling to or from sailing vessels

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International maritime signal flags is an Internation Code of Signals (ICS) system that uses flags to represent individual letters of the alphabet to aid in signalling to or from sailing vessels.

Below is a list of letters and their representing flag and meaning.

A Sailing Flags - Signal Flag - A - Alpha I have a diver down; keep well clear at slow speed. With three numerals, azimuth or bearing.
B Sailing Flags - Signal Flag - B - Bravo I am taking in, or discharging, or carrying dangerous goods. (Originally used by the Royal Navy specifically for military explosives.)
C Sailing Flags - Signal Flag - C - Charlie Affirmative. With three numerals, course in degrees magnetic.
D Sailing Flags - Signal Flag - D - Delta Keep clear of me; I am maneuvering with difficulty. With two, four, or six numerals, date.
E Sailing Flags - Signal Flag - E - Echo I am altering my course to starboard.
F Sailing Flags - Signal Flag - F - Foxtrot I am disabled; communicate with me.
G Sailing Flags - Signal Flag - G - Golf I require a pilot. When made by fishing vessels operating in close proximity on the fishing grounds it means: "I am hauling nets". With four or five numerals, longitude. (The last two numerals denote minutes and the rest degrees.)
H Sailing Flags - Signal Flag - H - Hotel I have a pilot on board.
I Sailing Flags - Signal Flag - I - India I am altering my course to port.
J Sailing Flags - Signal Flag - J - Juliet I am on fire and have dangerous cargo on board: keep well clear of me, or I am leaking dangerous cargo.
K Sailing Flags - Signal Flag - K - Kilo I wish to communicate with you. With one numeral, I wish to communicate with you by; 1) Morse signalling by hand-flags or arms; 2) Loud hailer (megaphone); 3) Morse signalling lamp; 4) Sound signals.
L Sailing Flags - Signal Flag - L - Lima In harbor: The ship is under Quarantine. At sea: You should stop your vessel instantly. With four numerals, latitude. (The first two denote degrees and the rest minutes.)
M Sailing Flags - Signal Flag - M - Mike My vessel is stopped and making no way through the water.
N Sailing Flags - Signal Flag - N - November Negative.
O Sailing Flags - Signal Flag - O - Oscar Man overboard. (often attached to the man overboard pole on boats). With a sinister hoist, the semaphore flag.
P Sailing Flags - Signal Flag - P - Papa The Blue Peter. In harbor: All persons should report on board as the vessel is about to proceed to sea. At sea: It may be used by fishing vessels to mean: "My nets have come fast upon an obstruction".
Q Sailing Flags - Signal Flag - Q - Quebec My vessel is "healthy" and I request free pratique.
R Sailing Flags - Signal Flag - R - Romeo The way is off my ship. With one or more numerals, distance in nautical miles.
S Sailing Flags - Signal Flag - S - Sierra I am operating astern propulsion. With one or more numerals, speed in knots.
T Sailing Flags - Signal Flag - T - Tango Keep clear of me; I am engaged in pair trawling. With four numerals, local time. (The first two denote hours and the rest minutes.)
U Sailing Flags - Signal Flag - U - Uniform You are running into danger.
V Sailing Flags - Signal Flag - V - Victor I require assistance. With one or more numerals, speed in kilometres per hour.
W Sailing Flags - Signal Flag - W - Whiskey I require medical assistance.
X Sailing Flags - Signal Flag - X - XRay Stop carrying out your intentions and watch for my signals.
Y Sailing Flags - Signal Flag - Y - Yankee I am dragging my anchor.
Z Sailing Flags - Signal Flag - Z - Zulu I require a tug. When made by fishing vessels operating in close proximity on the fishing grounds it means: "I am shooting nets". With one or more numerals, time (UTC). (The first two denote hours and the rest minutes.) (Origin of the phrase 'Zulu Time'.)