What do International Maritime Signal Flags and Pennants Mean

by OldSailor on October 3, 2007


The aim of this post is to make you aware, the meaning of International Maritime Signal Flags and Pennants. These flags and pennants are hoisted in the mast of the ship depending on the requirement of the ship. The flags and pennants (indicating alphabets and numbers) and the meaning they convey are given below:

clip_image001A – Diver below (when stationary); I am undergoing a speed trial

clip_image002B – I am taking on or discharging explosives

clip_image003C – (affirmative)

clip_image004D – keep clear of me, I am manoevering with difficulty

clip_image005E – I am altering my course to starboard

clip_image006F – I am disabled, communicate with me

clip_image007G – I require a pilot

clip_image008H – I have a pilot on board

clip_image009I – I am altering my course to port

clip_image010J – I am going to send a message by semaphore

clip_image011K – you should stop your vessel instantly

clip_image012L – you should stop, I have something important to communicate

clip_image013M – I have a doctor on board

clip_image014N – no (negative)

clip_image015O – man overboard

clip_image016P – the Blue Peter – all aboard, vessel is about to proceed sea. (At sea) your lights are out or burning badly

clip_image017Q – my vessel is healthy and I request free practique

clip_image018R – the way is off my ship. You may feel you way past me

clip_image019S – my engines are going full speed astern

clip_image020T – do not pass ahead of me

clip_image021U – you are standing into danger

clip_image022V – I require assistance (not distress)

clip_image023W – I require medical assistance

clip_image024X – stop carrying out your intentions and watch for my signals

clip_image025Y – I am carrying mails

clip_image026Z – to be used to address or call shore stations

Answering Pennant

clip_image027Code and answering pennant.

Numeric Pennants











Substitute Pennants

clip_image038substitute 1;

clip_image039substitute 2;

clip_image040substitute 3;



clip_image003[1]N + C – I am in distress

Image Source: http://www.anbg.gov.au/flags/signal-meaning.html

Update: September 16, 2008

A chart that explains signal flags with relevant morse code is available here at Military Alphabet.

Did you enjoy this article? Please subscribe to RSS Feed to receive all the updates!

Related Posts:

  • No related posts found

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: