How To Fly Your Fishing Flags Properly: Tips From Fishing for MD

The protocol for flying your fishing flags from your boat can be complicated. Depending on whether you want to sport a signal flag or a pennant, national flag or burgee, the rules regarding where and how they should be displayed can vary. Today, we’re going to talk about how to properly fly different types of flags from your sport-fishing boat, which generally utilize naval and yachting protocol. Learn all you need to know in today’s blog.

The rules about flying fishing flags are a little bit complicated.

How To Fly Your Fishing Flags Properly: Tips From Fishing for MD

National flag (ensign)

The national flag you display should reflect the country in which your boat is registered (i.e. if your vessel is documented in the U.S., you would fly an American flag). In order to prevent the flag from getting in the way of fishing operations, sport-fishing boats fly ensigns from a high tower in the center of the boat.


These flags signify your membership to a fishing or yacht club. If you have a bow rail, your club burgee should be flown from it. If you don’t, your burgee should be flown underneath your house flag on the portside flagstaff of your sport-fishing boat.

House flag

Also known as a private signal, a house flag is a boat owner’s personal emblem which signifies that the owner is aboard. These unique flags are designed for each owner and they are flown from the port flagstaff.

Fish flag

Fish flags offer the opportunity to communicate what type of fish you have caught that day and allow charters to advertise what can be caught. Because a number of fish flags may be flown at one time, it’s important to order them properly so that the flags are visible. Flags should be hung from the rigger in order of species size from largest to smallest.


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