The USPS Flag and Etiquette Committee is the guardian of the traditions of the sea and of USPS. It bears responsibility for matters of procedure and protocol, ceremonies, uniforms and proper display of USPS flags, burgees and pennants. It responds to questions from districts, squadrons and individual members on any of these areas. Its message is: Do it right.
In 1998, USPS in consultation with the U.S. Coast Guard, Coast Guard Auxiliary, New York Yacht Club and other yachting authorities developed an updated nautical flag code, How to Fly Flags, Nautical flag Display for use on private vessels. The new nautical flag code is flexible enough to accommodate the wide variation in construction of modern pleasure craft. New configurations of boats, riggings and the like have slightly modified the traditional points of honor. Use of antennas, fishing towers, outriggers, sailboat backstays, portside halyards, and double hoisting are all new to the nautical flag code. The booklet is available from USPS Headquarters and various marine retailers around the country
50 and 75 Year Anniversary Flag Procedures
The Flag and Etiquette Committee has established a standard configuration for use throughout USPS, which will identify any squadron or district that has reached its 50- or 75-year anniversary. This configuration consists of a gold band along each side of the fly of the flag representing 50 years and a platinum band representing 75 years.
Once the change is approved by the squadron (if a squadron burgee) or the district (if a district flag), the following must be submitted:
- Certificate of approval from the commander (or secretary) acknowledging approval, with the date.
- Either a digital image of the design, with accurate portrayal of its colors, measuring approximately 7 x 10 inches or a picture of similar size that can be scanned into such an image, on the fly. Transmittal of either of these may be by any appropriate method. Should this be difficult or impossible, the assistant chairman of FECom, should be consulted who will work to achieve a satisfactory result. A FECom member will edit the depiction as required to render a suitable copy for project at a Governing Board meeting and inclusion on the FECom web page.
- A short explanation of the heraldry of the flag.
The submission should be sent to the Staff Commander of the Flag & Etiquette Committee.
District approval is no longer required for squadron anniversary burgees. While we would like to obtain the heraldry, lack of it will not hold up the approval process. The Staff Commander will notify the squadron or district when the flag is approved.
Recognizing that burgees and flags are made in several sizes and that some existing designs may have conflicts with these colors, the Flag and Etiquette Committee has made the configuration precise and universally applicable. Since the terms "gold" and "platinum" convey different things to different people, they are defined by specific color codes. If the flag's current design (or heraldry) is changed in any way not specified in these procedures, the procedures for a new or revised flag must be followed.
Specifications for a 50-year Burgee or Flag
A single band of gold (PMS 123 or equivalent) along both angled edges (the width of each band measuring 1/24 of the hoist or 1/2 inch on a 12-inch burgee) is attached outward of the original burgee or flag. In order to retain the usual 12-by-18 inch dimensions, the original burgee or flag is reduced to 11/12 of the original size. This helps retain the original heraldry and design. Should the existing burgee or flag have a significant yellow border, the anniversary band may be separated from the existing burgee or flag field by a narrow band (1/192 of the hoist or 1/16-inch on a 12-by-18 inch burgee) of a contrasting color. The contrasting color should be selected from the dominant colors of the existing burgee or flag.
(RGB 255, 198, 30)
Specifications for a 75-year Burgee or Flag
The specifications are the same as those for the 50-year burgee or flag, but instead of gold, a single band of platinum (PMS 442 or equivalent) should run along both the fly of the burgee or flag (angled edges of a burgee.)
* The above PMS colors patches will only display as accurate as the calibration of your monitor or printer.
(RGB 186, 191, 183)