Divers and boaters alike should know what these flags look like and the rules that go with them. The rules associated with them are to keep everyone safe. Please take a look at the rules for Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Kansas Waters. In one of my classes, I assigned “extra homework” for a student. Here is what they came up with.
SCUBA divers or skin divers in federal waters must display a diver-down flag to mark their diving area. Those spearfishing in Arkansas state waters must display a diver-down flag and are required to stay within 300 feet of the displayed flag.
Vessels not engaged in diving operations should stay at least 100 feet away from a displayed diver-down flag.
Types of flags:
- Divers flag – a rectangular red flag with a white diagonal stripe is attached to a vessel, float, or buoy.
- Alfa Flag – A blue and white International Code Flag A (Alfa flag) is flown from a vessel on federal waters.
State law requires that SCUBA divers or snorkelers display the diver-down flag to mark the diving area. Divers must stay within a 50-yard radius of the flag. Vessel operators must not operate within 50 yards of a displayed diver-down flag. Two types of flags are used to indicate diving activity.
- Divers Flag – A rectangular red flag, at least 12 inches x 16 inches, with a two-inch, white diagonal stripe if on state waters.
- Alfa Flag – A blue and white International Code Flag A (or Alfa Flag) if on federally controlled or international waters. This flag indicates that the vessel is involved in a diving activity.
SCUBA divers and snorkelers should not place a flag in an area already occupied by other boaters or where their diving operation will impede the normal flow of waterway traffic. Divers also should follow all of the water safety rules themselves.
SCUBA divers or snorkelers must display a diver-down flag that marks their diving area. If the flag is flown from a vessel, at least one flag must be flown that is at least 3.3 feet (one meter) above the highest point of the vessel and visible from all directions.
Vessels must remain at least 150 feet away from the flag unless the vessel is engaged in the rescue of a person in that area.
A diver-down flag may not be closer than 100 yards to any functional boat ramp.
- Divers Flag – a rectangular red flag, sized at least 20×24 inches, with a four-inch white diagonal stripe.
- Alfa Flag – A blue and white International Code Flag A (or Alfa Flag) used on state, federally controlled, or international waters.
Diver Down Flags: SCUBA divers, skin divers, and snorkelers must display a red and white divers flag at or near the point of submergence. SCUBA divers must place their flag on a buoy. It is unlawful to display a diver-down flag if diving or spearfishing is not in progress. Boaters should maintain a safe distance between the flag and their vessel. Two types of flags are used to indicate diving activity.
- A red flag at least 21 inches square with a white diagonal stripe that extends from the top of the hoist to the bottom of the flag is used if on Kansas state waters.
- A blue and white International Code Flag A (Alfa Flag), at least 3.3 feet (one meter) high and visible from all directions, must be displayed on vessels on federally controlled waters. The flag indicates that a vessel is involved in a diving activity. It may be displayed in addition to the divers’ flag but does not replace the divers flag.