Author Topic: Maritime Signal Flags (CAD)  (Read 18532 times)

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Offline darkskye

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Maritime Signal Flags (CAD)
« on: October 16, 2011, 19:13:58 »
Hi,

I am trying to study my maritime signal flags, but I am having a hard time finding the Canadian version.

I found the international maritime signal flags, but not the Canadian version.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_maritime_signal_flags

Anyone have a link to what I am looking for?

Thank you!
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Offline Ex-Dragoon

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Re: Maritime Signal Flags (CAD)
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2011, 20:05:05 »
I am not a naval communicator but I am pretty sure there is not a specific Canadian version. I am sure someone will verify that soon.
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Offline Occam

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Re: Maritime Signal Flags (CAD)
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2011, 20:28:23 »
They're called "international" for a reason.  There is no Canadian version.

Offline darkskye

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Re: Maritime Signal Flags (CAD)
« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2011, 20:33:00 »
They're called "international" for a reason.  There is no Canadian version.

Don't be sarcastic with me.

There are international meanings and Canadian(CF Specific?) meanings. I am looking for the non-international meanings.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2011, 20:39:36 by rezz »
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Offline Monsoon

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Re: Maritime Signal Flags (CAD)
« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2011, 20:38:21 »
Don't be sarcastic with me.

The signal flags can have two meanings an international and Canadian(CF Specific?).
He's not being sarcastic.

But you're right that there are two meanings: international and NATO-specific (though not all international flags have NATO significance).

In doing the brief amount of Googling needed to find a link, I discovered that this information was included in the very Wikipedia page you referenced in your original post. The Wikipedia entry giving the NATO meanings of the signal flags is here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naval_flag_signalling

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Re: Maritime Signal Flags (CAD)
« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2011, 20:43:42 »
"When your draught exceeds your depth, you are most assuredly aground"

All opinions stated are not official policy of the CF and of a private individual

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Offline Occam

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Re: Maritime Signal Flags (CAD)
« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2011, 21:05:44 »
Don't be sarcastic with me.

There are international meanings and Canadian(CF Specific?) meanings. I am looking for the non-international meanings.

Let me try this again.

There is no Canadian specific meaning to the flags.

If you hoist Alfa, it means the same in Canada as it does in India.  It means you have a diver down.

If you start getting into other situations, other books (called Allied Tactical Publications - the pub number starts with ATP) come into play.  You string a couple of flags together and it means something to another Naval vessel.

There's another code book (the name escapes me) which says flag Kilo means "Man Aloft".

There's yet another code book which says that Romeo at the dip, sent by the receiving ship, means "I am ready to make my approach".

These are all INTERNATIONAL meanings.

Offline Pusser

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Re: Maritime Signal Flags (CAD)
« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2011, 14:34:16 »
It is good to know the flags and pennants and their names.  Over time (and fairly quickly at that) you will learn the meanings of certain flag signals (e.g. hoisting flag OSCAR means man overboard), but you  are NOT expected to learn all the flag signals.  In fact, trying to memorize them is actively discouraged for two reasons: 

1)  there are far too many of them to effectively do this, so trying is a colossal waste of time; and

2)  thinking one has memorized the signals can lead to horrific blunders if one makes a mistake and remembers it wrong (you can put an entire fleet out of position within minutes that will take hours to correct).  People coding or decoding signals are expected to consult the book everytime.  Memorization is not required.

For naval signalling, the RCN uses the NATO system of signal flags and the common NATO signal publications (ATP).  Although individual signals are not classified, the ATPs themselves are as a whole, so you will not (or at least should not) find them on the internet, nor can any of us provide them to you.

In short, if you want to get ahead, learn the flags and their names and then relax.  We'll teach you the rest in good time.  There really isn't anything else you can or need to do.
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Offline Dolphin_Hunter

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Re: Maritime Signal Flags (CAD)
« Reply #8 on: October 17, 2011, 17:01:30 »
This is a good website.

http://www.navy.mil/navydata/navy_legacy_hr.asp?id=273

Both navy and international meanings.

Offline RemembranceDay

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Re: Maritime Signal Flags (CAD)
« Reply #9 on: October 17, 2011, 18:01:11 »
It is good to know the flags and pennants and their names.  Over time (and fairly quickly at that) you will learn the meanings of certain flag signals (e.g. hoisting flag OSCAR means man overboard), but you  are NOT expected to learn all the flag signals.  In fact, trying to memorize them is actively discouraged for two reasons: 

1)  there are far too many of them to effectively do this, so trying is a colossal waste of time; and

2)  thinking one has memorized the signals can lead to horrific blunders if one makes a mistake and remembers it wrong (you can put an entire fleet out of position within minutes that will take hours to correct).  People coding or decoding signals are expected to consult the book everytime.  Memorization is not required.

For naval signalling, the RCN uses the NATO system of signal flags and the common NATO signal publications (ATP).  Although individual signals are not classified, the ATPs themselves are as a whole, so you will not (or at least should not) find them on the internet, nor can any of us provide them to you.

In short, if you want to get ahead, learn the flags and their names and then relax.  We'll teach you the rest in good time.  There really isn't anything else you can or need to do.

Really? I've always been told that you must know them (Well, Alphabetic and Numeral 5). It's like a language though, you don't use it, you lose it. I spent several weeks on them over the summer, and I can only remember a few key ones. Semaphore too, same thing. Don't use it, you lose it.

Offline Dolphin_Hunter

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Re: Maritime Signal Flags (CAD)
« Reply #10 on: October 17, 2011, 19:30:44 »
While I was a 00299 I had to memorize the meanings (of the flags), both Naval and International, I don't think that has changed.

It is the tactical signals you don't want to memorize, which I learned the hard way.  I brought in the Algonquin to standard distance on our STBD beam, I should have had it at double standard distance, the OOW was not too happy and neither was the Senior Comm, he had to get up from his nap so I could tell him what a fuktard I was.



Offline Oldgateboatdriver

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Re: Maritime Signal Flags (CAD)
« Reply #11 on: October 18, 2011, 14:09:59 »
I believe that many people on this thread have so far answered from the point of view of their trade/MOC only.

For instance, Pusser, who is a logistics officer, did not have to learn single flag meanings save for those in the subset he needed to get his harbour watch-keeping qualification. Boatswains would only be required to learn the ones for their trade, such as the boat signals and the ones used in RAS and ceremonials. Etc.

Naval communicators and MARS officers, on the other hand, are required right from their first trade qualification course to learn and retain ALL the international and Naval single flag meanings.

By the time a MARS officer stands her own watch on an operational ship and by the time a Naval Communicator has completed his last trade qualification course, they have also learned the frequently used multiple flag international meanings and also  the various important and frequent tactical signals without the need to look them up.

This said, the bridge naval communicator is nevertheless expected to always look up the meaning in the appropriate tactical publication, in case she gets a brain cramp and mixes two signals up, or even worse - in case the CO and the Yeoman chatting on the bridge wing get a whiff of the mistake and round up on the poor signalman. The "interpretation" of the signal reported to the OOW usually serves as a "check" on the OOW who has (most of the time) already decoded in her mind what was signalled, hence the importance of making sure by looking it up. 

Don't know if they still do this, but in my days (pre-dinausors extinction) when too many signals had been mixed up by junior officers and/or signalman in a squadron/division/sub-division, we used to provide extra training by carrying out OOW manoeuvres by flag only. :D
« Last Edit: October 18, 2011, 14:19:06 by Oldgateboatdriver »

Offline Pusser

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Re: Maritime Signal Flags (CAD)
« Reply #12 on: October 18, 2011, 14:20:04 »
I believe that many people on this thread have so far answered from the point of view of their trade/MOC only.

For instance, Pusser, who is a logistics officer, did not have to learn single flag meanings save for those in the subset he needed to get his harbour watch-keeping qualification. Boatswains would only be required to learn the ones for their trade, such as the boat signals and the ones used in RAS and ceremonials. Etc.

Naval communicators and MARS officers, on the other hand, are required right from their first trade qualification course to learn and retain ALL the international and Naval single flag meanings.

By the time a MARS officer stands her own watch on an operational ship and by the time a Naval Communicator has completed his last trade qualification course, they have also learned the frequently used multiple flag international meanings and also  the various important and frequent tactical signals without the need to look them up.

This said, the bridge naval communicator is nevertheless expected to always look up the meaning in the appropriate tactical publication, in case she gets a brain cramp and mixes two signals up, or even worse - in case the CO and the Yeoman chatting on the bridge wing get a whiff of the mistake and round up on the poor signalman. The "interpretation" of the signal reported to the OOW usually serves as a "check" on the OOW who has (most of the time) already decoded in her mind what was signalled, hence the importance of making sure by looking it up. 

Don't if they still do this, but in my days (pre-dinausors extinction) when too many signals had been mixed up by junior officers and/or signalman in a squadron/division/sub-division, we used to provide extra training by carrying out OOW manoeuvres by flag only. :D

I actually was a MARS officer once.  However, I was referring to tactical signals vice, single flag meanings.  Having said that, other than a handful of single flags (e.g. ALPHA, BRAVO, GOLF, KILO, OSCAR and ROMEO), I still maintain that one does not need to get too worked up about this.  When was the last time anybody actually hoisted flag PAPA to recall the ship's company or QUEBEC to indicate sickness on board?
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Offline Oldgateboatdriver

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Re: Maritime Signal Flags (CAD)
« Reply #13 on: October 18, 2011, 14:40:23 »
Sadly, Pusser, you are probably right: After semaphore and CW radio morse code, the signalling flag era (save for ceremonial purpose) is probably coming to an end soon. Soon,when you pass by a ship in harbour fuelling or with divers down, it will just send a signal to your AIS or your Blackberry to tell you to slow down and be mindful :) .

To think that I was in the last group of MARS officers that was required to learn both morse signalling by light AND semaphore.

Offline Pusser

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Re: Maritime Signal Flags (CAD)
« Reply #14 on: October 18, 2011, 16:11:00 »
I hated flashing light.  Oddly enough, I could read a person flashing at me alright, but that silly machine at VENTURE baffled me no end.
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Offline Oldgateboatdriver

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Re: Maritime Signal Flags (CAD)
« Reply #15 on: October 19, 2011, 11:11:22 »
Ditto on hating the Venture machine.

I actually think its such a poor system that it is detrimental to learning flashing light. Within a week of being at sea on the Ol' MACKENZIE, my reading speed shot up to 10 wpm from 5-6 at Venture. I think it has something to do with the fact that the "always on" 10inch signalling lanterns used at sea make for crisp, consistent and well defined  duration of light or darkness intervals, while the Venture "switched on/off" light bulb takes time to light up (especially in cold damp weather) and makes for undefined durations that some times even left you confused as to wether they meant to flash anything at all.