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Dressing Ship & Flag Etiquette

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"Dressing Ship" is done with bunting made up with International Code Signal Flags.

Officer's flags, club burgees and national flags are not used as part of the bunting. The ship is dressed at 0800 and remains dressed (at anchor only, except for a vessel's maiden or final voyage) until evening colours/colors at sunset.

The 'hoist' is done in the following sequence . . .
1. The yacht ensign at the stern staff
2. Courtesy flag (if in foreign port) on starboard flag halyard
3. The Union Jack may be displayed at the bow staff (by custom usually on Sundays and holidays but not underway)
4. Club or fleet or association burgee on a pig stick to masthead or to the 'starboard spreader', alone, on its own and separate flag halyard
5. A rainbow of International Code flags are then arranged from the waterline forward 'up and over' to the waterline aft. Flags and pennants are bent on alternately. Since there are twice as many letter flags as numeral/repeater pennants, it is good practice to follow a sequence of two flags, one pennant, two flags, one pennant, etc. A weight is used as a sinker at each end of the string of flags at the waterline fore and aft.

The 'drop' is done in the reverse order of the above.


The sequence of the code flags can be any order but the following is the long accepted 'recommended order' to give a harmonious color pattern.

Starting from the waterline forward, to the masthead(s), and to the water line aft . . .
A B 2 U J 1 K E 3 G H 6 I V 5 F L 4 D M 7 P O Third Repeater R N First Repeater S T Zero C X 9 W Q 8 Z Y Second Repeater

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dressed ship on maiden sail
dressed ship on maiden sail
letter flags
letter flags
numeral & repeater pennants
numeral & repeater pennants