What Does A Diver Down Flag Look Like

I have heard many people as this question before: what does a diver down flag look like? Well, let me say that you have come to the right place. Today before you go, I believe you will have understood what a diver down flag looks like.

But first, let us find out what a diver down flag really is. I will, therefore, give you a simple breakdown on a diver down flag and many other additional tips about diver down the flag that you should take to the bank.

A Diver Down Flag

According to Wikipedia, a diver down flag is also called a scuba flag and is a flag that divers use when on the water as an indication that there is a diver under the water or in other words, below the water.

While it is may seem like an easy affair, it is not. There are types of flags that you should use with a clear indication of where you should use them.

Types of Diver Down Flag

Apparently, there are two main styles of the diver down flag. The first type of diver down flag is the red diver down flag and comes with a white stripe that’s placed diagonally right from the top left corner of the flag to the bottom right corner of the flag.

This red with white stripe diver down flag signals any approaching vessel of a diver down. However, it is used more in the Northern America Areas.

The another type of a diver down flag is the Alpha flag. This is usually blue and white flag and looks more like a set of two blue triangles that are pointing to the right-hand direction. The Alpha flag is also called the code flag and is normally used as an international flag too.

The Alpha diver down flag is used to relay a signal that a vessel on water has a diver down. This helps the approaching vessels to either keep well clear of the area or simply ensure that they slow down to a better speed.

What is the Purpose of a Diver Down Flag?

Like we have seen above, there is no main difference in the purpose of any diver down flag. Apparently, both flags perform the same type of work. They will notify any approaching vessel in water to steer clear of a specific area in the water where there is a diver down.

The main purpose of doing this is the aversion of any accidents or collisions since most dive boats are often unable to maneuver out of the way.

So what does a diver down flag look like – no you know.

When Should the Alpha Diver Down Flag Be Used?

The code flag or the Alpha flag is used when you want to alert any approaching vessel that you have a diver down. This flag is used in all countries of the world with the exception of countries such as:

  • United States of America
  • Sometimes Italy
  • Canada
  • And other countries that follow the US diving culture

NOTE: Countries that follow the US diving culture are countries within the Caribbean areas too.

Who Displays the Alpha Flag?

The 'Alpha' flag should be displayed by any vessel that is engaged in the diving operations if it is restricted and is unable to maneuver.

It should also be used by a vessel with a diver down if the vessel is small in size and is unable to display the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (IRPCS) required shapes and lights.

 NOTE: Even though the Alpha flag may be a good caution sign that keeps the diver safe, it is actually the vicinity of the water vessel that is displaying the Alpha flag that’s important as it is the first thing that any approaching vessel will see

How to Use the Diver Down Flag

If you are planning on using the diver down flag there are a few things that you need to keep in mind. These tips will help you to maximize the benefits of the diver down flag which is nothing other than a safety measure. Here are some of them.

First, ensure that you get your vessel to the right position. This should be an apposition where any water vessel that’s approaching your way will be able to see you. It should also be a position where you can see all the vessels that are approaching from any angle.

Next, you must keep one person on the watch. It is hard to aid the diver and also stay in the lookout for a water vessel that’s approaching your course. However, if you work as a team, it will be easy to aid one another and to keep an eye out for any potential vessel.

Nonetheless, it is important that the flag is displayed properly. Without proper display, the incoming vessel may read the wrong signal. So, make sure that as you display the flag, everyone that’s in the line with incoming vessels can actually see the flag and read the message clearly for them to keep off or coming in really slowly.


It may look like one of those tiniest details that you don’t have to keep an eye out for. But actually, it is not. This simple scuba diving flag will make the difference between life and death. And while you ask; what does a diver down flag look like, you should be ready to go the extra mile and learn how it is used.

Even so, the people that have used dive flag for snorkeling and scuba diving understand why it is important and why you need a diver down flag. Thankfully, you now do too. So, before you engage in such an activity, you should ready with all your equipment including the diver down flag.

Norma A Robertson

Hey, my name is Norma A Robertson. My hobbies include paddle boarding, kite surfing, snorkeling, scuba diving, etc. I started this website to share my experience and ideas as well as review products that interest me to help everyone who reads it. I hope you find what you are looking for in my articles.

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