Code Signal Flags

A Brief History of Code Signal Flags

Code signal flags have gone through many variation over the centuries and have be used by a variety of organizations to communicate from sender to receiver. There were many forms of code signal flags. One of the unique features of the code signal flags is the spoken code word for each letter; examples are Echo for “E” and Romeo for “R”.

According to Wikipedia, the modern code signal flags began in 1855 by the British Board of Trade. It was published after two years in 1857 as the Commercial Code. It has been modified several times as improvement proved necessary. After 1969, the International Signal Code was simplified to so that the same codes could be used around the world. There are now one, two and three signals, each with a specific meaning. Single letter codes are usually urgent, or common. Two letter codes are used to another set of messages. Three letter sets are used for medical signals.

For instance, the letter "Q" Quebec, is used to indicate a Quarantine situation is present. The letter "Q" is a solid yellow flag and is easily identified.

The current code signal flags are available in English, French, Italian, German, Japanese, Spanish, Norwegian, Russian and Greek.

The code signal flags are sometimes referred to as boat signal flags. Other terms for code signal flags are marine signal flags and medical signal flags. References to boat signal flags occurs mostly with recreational boaters. Weekend boaters will fly a few letters spelling out the their vessel name. Boat signal flags may also refer to a set of marine flags used by recreational boaters with can cross over into fish flags or fishing flags or fun flags. One of the most popular boat signal flags is a flag emphasizing relaxation and socialization, such as a flag with a beer mug or martini glass emblem.

About Our Code Signal Flags

Gettysburg Flag Works offers code signal flags in several sizes, from size “0” to “14," and can be purchased individually or in complete sets. A complete set of code signal flags includes 26 letters, ten numbers from 0 to 9, and 4 substitute flags.

Other Uses of Code Signal Flags

Code signal flags are used in the medical field in marine environments. The code signal flags are used for the medical signal code to message medical requirements, urgent medical needs and even medications. The medical signal code is found in Chapter 3 of the International Code of Signals.

When referring to boat signal flags, the hurricane warning flag is normally mentioned first. While not one of the letters or numerals in the code signal flags found in the International Signal Code, it is widely used and can be purchased separately. The hurricane warning flag is not required in the minimum required safety equipment, but is good flag to have in the tropics.

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