Spring is in the air! It’s time to work in the garden and plan an outdoor soiree. One of the best parts about the return of spring is the chance to get your boat back in the water.
As all boaters know, getting your boat ready for spring will take a little time, but then you’re set for a season of fun. After you’ve completed the maintenance checklist, consider embellishing your boat with some nautical flags. Boats and flags have a long history together, and spring is the perfect time to equip your vessel with a flag that reflects your style.
Maritime Signal Flags
The original use of maritime flags was to provide a way for ships to communicate with one another — long before the days of radios and cell phones. Ships could use flags to spell out words, and many flags had specific meanings attached to them that were recognizable to sailors.
Additionally, flags could be used to indicate the severity of distress a ship may be in. While these flags may not be as necessary as they were before the advancement of radio communication, they are still an important part of sailing and boating.
Still, let’s talk about some nautical flags that can be used to give your boat some style this spring.
Boating season is the best time to show your patriotic spirit. With Memorial Day considered the unofficial kick-off to summer, an American flag is a perfect addition to your boat. If you served in the military, and you'd like a flag that reflects the service you provided for your country, flags for the U.S. Armed Forces are another possible addition.
Flags for all 50 United States are available for your boat, and they are a great way to show where you are from, especially if you travel across the country with your boat. Boaters love talking to other boaters, and state flags can spark that conversation.
Nothing can lead to friendly banter on the lake quicker than when you come across another boat from your alma mater — with the possible exception of a collegiate rival. A collegiate flag on your boat can lead to some good-natured ribbing if you anchor next to a rival. Boaters are friendly people, and within a few moments, all that college competitiveness is quickly forgotten.
Sports Team Flags
Similar to collegiate flags, you can use your boat to show support for your favorite team. Football, baseball, basketball — name your team, and you are sure to find a flag for your boat that shows who you favor during the season.
Jolly Roger Flags
This is probably one of the most popular flags amongst boaters. A skull-and-crossbones flying from your boat has become a cultural icon.
And if you’re a boater who is involved in boat parades on your local lake, the kids love seeing the Jolly Roger fly!
Diver Down Flags
This is a more serious flag, one that is critical to have on your boat if you are a diver. This flag is recognized around the globe so that all boaters will stay clear of the area where you are anchored and slow down in the surrounding areas.
Do you love to take your boat out fishing? Is there a specific fish you are always trying to catch? Then perhaps a flag that displays your catch of choice is needed. Marlins, sailfish, tarpons, sharks, tuna and mahi are all available to fly on your boat. And this is a great way to share with other local boat captains what you may be currently catching.
These are a great way to stylize your boat, especially if you have a boat with some speed. When you are zipping across the lake with a colorful windsock or two displayed, people are going to take notice.
For the afternoon cocktail cruiser, a flag that displays your drink of choice is an amusing way to show your individuality. Whether it's a beer flag or one with a margarita on it, people will definitely know you're ready for some fun — in a responsible manner, of course — when you fly this flag.
So now is the time to spruce up your boat this spring. Let's get those motors tuned up and get those flags flying to show off your boating personality!