Dive flag regulations

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Posted by Ken Kurtis on August 22, 2005 at 13:43:23:

Seems there was another incident of divers almost getting over this weekend by boaters totally ignorant of what a dive flag means. I was talking with a friend of mine (a sailor) this monring concerning regulations and repeated my assertion that there are NO regulations on the books concerning how far away people are required to stay (as opposed to recommendations from entities like boating associations).

He didn't agree, did a little research, and sent me the following link. Given that this was a discussion thread a few weeks ago (but I don't recall seeing any documentation, mostly just opinion) I thought you might all like to see this and weigh in with your thoughts. Here's the link and my comments back to my buddy.

LINK: http://www.dive-flag.com/California.html

Thanks for the research and loved the link. But I don't think we're protected at all. As you pointed out, the alpha flag requirements deal more with the operator of the boat (gotta have red/white/red, gotta have a flag, gotta be a certain size) but it essentially says "play nice" to other boaters approaching. There's certainly nothing IMHO in the International Code that would be enforceable because it's all too vague.

Same thing with the CA code. (A) defines a dive flag. (B) says anyone flying a flag doesn't have any special rights or privileges [which seems to negate any regulatory impact]. (C) says operators will exercise precaution without defining it and notwithstanding that B and C can be interpreted to be in conflict with each other. (D) says you can only display the flag when you're actually diving which means there needs to be a lot more putting up and taking down than really happens. And (E) blithely seems to state that A-D have no teeth because we're not going to require the flag for any purpose.

So it seems to me that we're right back where we started and I would still hold to my original statement that there is no enforceable law governing how far other boats must stay from vessels displaying either the Alpha or Diver's Down flag.

- Ken
Ken Kurtis
NAUI Instr. #5936
Co-owner, Reef Seekers Dive Co.
Beverly Hills, CA

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