Meanings of International Maritime Signal Flags A - Diver below when stationary ; I am undergoing a speed trial B - I am taking on or discharging explosives C - affirmative D - keep clear of me, I am manoevering with difficulty E - I am altering my course to starboard F - I am disabled, communicate with me G - I require a pilot H - I have a pilot on board I - I am altering my course to port J - I am going to send a message by semaphore K - you should stop your vessel instantly L - you should stop, I have something important to communicate M - I have a doctor on board N - no negative O - man overboard P - the Blue Peter - all aboard, vessel is about to proceed sea. At sea your lights are out or burning badly Q - my vessel is healthy and I request free practique R - the way is off my ship. You may feel you way past me S - my engines are going full speed astern T - do not pass ahead of me U - you are standing into danger V - I require assistance not distress W - I require medical assistance X - stop carrying out your intentions and watch for my signals Y - I am carrying mails Z - to be used to address or call shore stations Answering Pennant.
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Two sailing ships dressed overall with their signal flags Tender Donau A 69 in German with signal flags hoisted. Starboard halyard: F-H-G. Port halyard: International maritime signal flags are various flags used to communicate with ships. The principal system of flags and associated codes is the International Code of Signals. Individual flags have specific and standard meanings;  for example, diving support vessels raise the "A" flag indicating their inability to move from their current location because they have a diver underwater and to warn other vessels to keep clear to avoid endangering the diver s with their propellers.
One or more flags form a code word whose meaning can be looked up in a code book held by both parties. An example is the Popham numeric code used at the Battle of Trafalgar. In yacht racing and dinghy racing , flags have other meanings; for example, the P flag is used as the "preparatory" flag to indicate an imminent start, and the S flag means "shortened course" for more details see Race signals.
NATO uses the same flags, with a few unique to warships, alone or in short sets to communicate various unclassified messages. Being swallowtails, they are commonly referred to as the " C-pennant " German: C-Doppelstander , " D-pennant ", and " E-pennant ".
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Two sailing ships dressed overall with their signal flags Tender Donau A 69 in German with signal flags hoisted. Starboard halyard: F-H-G. Port halyard: International maritime signal flags are various flags used to communicate with ships. The principal system of flags and associated codes is the International Code of Signals.
International maritime signal flags
Meanings of International Maritime Signal Flags
International Code of Signals