Diver Down Flag is NOT a requirement in LA County.

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Posted by David on August 25, 2010 at 13:34:46:

Hi Divers,
I have been harassed by LA Lifeguards at Pt Dume recently on two different dates. The "sheriff" was tossed around on the last confrontation. After much research, and contacting LA Fire Dept / Lifeguard Div and talking to a Captain Moore at Zuma, this is what I have.

Bottom line. You don't need a flag when beach diving. Read on for more specifics.

Note, State law states that if you have the flag in the water and no diving is in progress, you can be sited for that.

The Los Angeles County Code is a compilation of County ordinances of a general nature which have been codified, chaptered and indexed. The current version of this Code has been updated through 7/27/2010.

17.12.470 Boating prohibited within 300 yards of shore--Exceptions.

A person shall not operate any vessel within 300 yards of the shoreline of any beach regulated by this Part 3 except:
A. When necessary to sail the vessel from or to a place of lawful mooring;
B. When necessary due to an emergency aboard the vessel;
C. When engaged in the use of a kayak, dory, surf ski or catamaran not exceeding 22 feet in length from or to the beach through the designated ocean access corridor that has been established by the director for the launching and landing of such vessels at the beach. (Ord. 85-0206 8, 1985: Ord. 9767 Art. 3 56, 1969.)

17.12.450 Swimming and other water activities--Restrictions.

A person shall not swim, bathe or immerse himself in the Pacific Ocean opposite any beach regulated by this Part 3 more than 200 yards seaward from the shore except:
A. A person who is the owner of a vessel, or who acts at the request of such owner while engaged in servicing or repairing such vessel, and then only in the immediate area of such vessel;
B. A person engaged in the sports commonly known as aquaplaning, water skiing or any derivations thereof, provided that such person is at all times wearing a safety belt approved by the director;
C. A person who dives from a vessel and who displays while diving either a rectangular flag 12 by 15 inches, orange-red in color with a white diagonal stripe three inches wide running from one corner to the diagonally opposite corner, or the lights and/or flag prescribed in Rule 27 of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea as set forth in 72 COLREGS as published with the Proclamation of January 19, 1977 at 42 FR 17112, March 31, 1977 and amended by the document annexed to the Proclamation of June 16, 1983, and published at 48 FR 28634, June 23, 1983, or as Rule 27 may be subsequently amended and accepted by the President of the United States of America, above the surface of the water in the vicinity of the dive;
D. A person may surf not more than 50 yards beyond the farthest breaking wave when such farthest breaking wave is more than 150 yards from shore;
E. A person engaged in the sport of boardsailing. (Ord. 85-0206 6, 1985: Ord. 9767 Art. 3 55, 1969.)

California Regs
California Code of Regulations Currentness
Title 14. Natural Resources
Division 4. Department of Boating and Waterways
Chapter 1. Department of Boating and Waterways
Article 6. Waterway Marking System

7008. The Divers Flag.

(a) A red flag with a white diagonal running from the upper left hand corner to the lower right hand corner (from masthead to lower outside corner) and known as the "Divers Flag" shall when displayed on the water, indicate the presence of a person engaged in diving in the water in the immediate area.

(b) Recognition of this flag by regulation will not be construed as conferring any rights or privileges on its users, and its presence in a water area will not be construed in itself as restricting the use of the water area so marked.

(c) Operators of vessels will, however, exercise precaution commensurate with conditions indicated.

(d) This flag may be displayed only when diving is in progress, and its display in a water area when no diving is in progress is that area will constitute a violation of the regulation and of section 659 of the Harbors and Navigation Code.

(e) Nothing in this section will require the carriage of a divers flag for any purpose...........!

Please post a note if you have any FACTS that indicate something different. Note likely but I am open.

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