Ramsgate Lifeboat
International Maritime Signal Flags are used to signal between two ships or between ship and shore. They can be used to spell out messages, or used singly or in combinations to convey special messages.
Alphabet Flags
Flag
Letter - Phonetic Name - Morse Code
ICS meaning as single flag
Alpha
. _
"I have a diver down; keep well clear at slow speed."
Bravo
_ . . .
"I am taking in or discharging or carrying dangerous goods."
Charlie
_ . _ .
"Affirmative."
Delta
_ . .
"Keep clear of me; I am maneuvering with difficulty."
Echo
.
"I am altering my course to starboard."
Foxtrot
. . _ .
"I am disabled; communicate with me."
Golf
_ _ .
"I require a pilot."
By fishing vessels near fishing grounds: "I am hauling nets."
Hotel
. . . .
"I have a pilot on board."
India
. .
"I am altering my course to port."
Juliet
. _ _ _
"I am on fire and have dangerous cargo on board: keep well clear of me."
or
"I am leaking dangerous cargo."
Kilo
_ . _
"I wish to communicate with you."
Lima
. _ . .
In harbour: "The ship is quarantined.
At sea: "You should stop your vessel instantly.
Mike
_ _
"My vessel is stopped and making no way through the water."
November
_ .
"Negative."
Oscar
_ _ _
"Man overboard."
Papa
. _ _ .
In harbour: All persons should report on board as the vessel is about to proceed to sea.
At sea: It may be used by fishing vessels to mean: "My nets have come fast upon an obstruction."
Quebec
_ _ . _
"My vessel is 'healthy' and I request free pratique."
Romeo
. _ .
No ICS meaning as single flag.
Sierra
. . .
"I am operating astern propulsion."
Tango
_
"Keep clear of me."
Fishing boats: "Keep clear of me; I am engaged in pair trawling."
Uniform
. . _
"You are running into danger."
Victor
. . . _
"I require assistance."
Whiskey
. _ _
"I require medical assistance."
Xray
_ . . _
"Stop carrying out your intentions and watch for my signals."
Yankee
_ . _ _
"I am dragging my anchor."
Zulu
_ _ . .
"I require a tug."
By fishing vessels near fishing grounds: "I am shooting nets."
Answering Pennant
Code
Answer
Message is understood. Also, numeric decimal point.
Numeric Pennants
0 Zero
_ _ _ _ _
-
1 One
. _ _ _ _
-
2 Two
. . _ _ _
-
3 Three
. . . _ _
-
4 Four
. . . . _
-
5 Five
. . . . .
-
6 Six
_ . . . .
-
7 Seven
_ _ . . .
-
8 Eight
_ _ _ . .
_
9 Nine
_ _ _ _ .
_
Substitute Pennants
The first substitute repeats the upper flag or pennant of a hoist, the second substitute repeats the second flag or pennant, and so on.
1st Substitute
Substitute for the first flag in this hoist.
2nd Substitute
Substitute for the second flag in this hoist.
3rd Substitute
Substitute for the third flag in this hoist.
Details on Semaphore flags can be found here.
Semaphore flags games for kids can be found here and here.
Copyright 1999-2019 by Clive Lawford (e-mail). All Rights Reserved.
You are very welcome to link to this site, though any form of duplication requires written consent from me unless otherwise stated.


A charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736).
Charity number CHY 2678 in the Republic of Ireland.