By Land or By Sea: Flags Are More Than Decorations

sail-flagThe open ocean has undeniable appeal, especially in today’s hectic, loud, busy world. The simplicity of a valiant sailing ship running before a brisk wind in silent elegance encapsulates a glorious idea of escape. One does not often find a quiet haven disturbed only by the rush of wind and water and the crying of seabirds. Even better, when it enables you to explore the greater world around you in unexpected and glorious ways. Full sails and salt spray hearken back to the earliest adventurers and traders looking upon the mysterious shores of a New World.

Modern day sailing is an interesting and challenging art that requires both physical effort and careful study—and is becoming more and more popular as a delightful warm-weather hobby. The perennial popularity of the Boston Sailing School on the Charles River in Massachusetts is testimony; children of all ages learn to set sail and love the open water. Each year hundreds of young people grapple with every level of challenge, from beginners to advanced racing techniques, and even nighttime navigation.

The Eastern Seaboard teems with opportunities for unique adventure, far from the dubious delights of fast food and social media. Sailing, it seems, can be for almost everyone, as these sea-going beauties come in all sizes. Even tiny solo sailboats command as much respect as luxurious multi-bedroom yachts when it comes to sheer accomplishment and skill. In one respect, however, they all have a beautifully uniting feature: They all fly colors.

A flag is an identity at sea, a statement of who you are and where you are from. One flies the flag of one’s country in pride and honor, but there is also a vibrant, beautiful language of smaller flags utilizing an internationally recognized code for communication. Using 26 pennons to represent the letters of the alphabet that are described in NATO phonetic terms (A=alpha, B=bravo, C=charlie, etc.) these small, brilliant flags help international ships pass quick, efficient messages.

Making the whole concept a little more complex is the idea that each of those letter flags also has a specific meaning in and of itself, so “A” is also “diver down, keep clear.” A celebration of Tall Ships would hardly be the same without the brilliant buntings training from the mast. It’s also fascinating to see the messages they post for other ships to see—a conversation right in front of us that only very few know how to interpret.

Luckily enough, AmericanFlags.com carries the entire 40 piece package of these International Code flags. The total 26 piece alphabet is supplemented with the complete eleven piece set of numeric flags, an answer flag, and three “spacers” to help with signal clarity. Though the mastery of this art requires diligence and persistence, the effect of sailing into port with the Stars and Stripes billowing and a carefully worded “Happy 4th of July” has an undeniable cachet. Not only does a sailing vessel look more festive with international code flags, they also instill a sense of pride in one’s self for mastering a unique form of communication. A little bit of satisfied smugness could be justified from such a display of unusual artistry.

Carefully constructed of long wearing, double seamed nylon, these International Code flags are available in six different sizes to suit the magnitude of your vessel. American made and tested by AmericanFlags.com themselves, these flags are guaranteed to last and stay beautiful. Appropriate ropes and fittings are included with each set, as is a durable storage duffle to keep your collection safe and organized.

Colors are brilliantly dyed, fade-resistant, and of internationally approved combinations and patterns. Designed to withstand the harsh conditions found at sea, this attractive collection can also be used to add flair and identity to the homes of proud Navy families, and is a beautiful, patriotic addition to the Stars and Stripes.

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