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What is A Dive Flag?

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If you are planning on going scuba diving, there’s a lot of equipment that you will need.

Your regulator, tank, mask, fins, snorkel, and wetsuit are the obvious ones, but there’s more equipment and small accessories that will come in handy when diving.  

One thing is a dive flag.

In keeping you safe while you’re underwater, the dive flag is one of the most important, particularly when it comes to threats from the surface, such as boats.

So let’s take a closer look at the dive flag, different types, how much they cost, and why you definitely want to use it.  

What is a Dive Flag? 

In simplest terms, a dive flag is a flag placed on the water’s surface to indicate that there are scuba divers in the area nearby and in the waters below.

Of course, when it comes to safety, flying a dive flag is extremely important, and in most places, it’s required by law.

Dive boats are required to fly dive flags when there are divers below the surface.  

On a side note, if you are snorkeling in an area not solely reserved for swimming, you also need to fly a dive flag.

So whether you are scuba diving or just snorkeling, if you are below the surface and not an area specifically dedicated for swimmers,  you must fly a dive flag. 

Two Types of Dive Flags 

There are two different types of dive flags, but no worries because they mean the same thing.

One dive flag is red with a white diagonal stripe, and the other is a blue and white pennant tail alpha flag.  

Which depends on where you live and which is recognized in your area.

Do some research on the specific dive flag you need for where you live before buying one.

These flags can be pretty inexpensive.  

Dive Flag

What is the Purpose of a Dive Flag? 

A dive flag keeps you safe while you are diving.

Think about it this way.

If you are scuba diving under the water and there’s no flag on the surface, how is anybody else going to know that you are there?  

You could come to the surface just as a massive boat is heading in your direction.

A dive flag lets people know you are in the area and to slow down.

It’s about making sure that people know that you are there, to begin with.  

Standard Features of a Dive Flag + Optional Features 

There are a few features and variations of dive flags.

But, first, let’s look at some of the standard and optional features dive flags might have.  

A dive flag could be placed on either a pole or a floating device.

If you’re using a pole or a staff for your dive flag, it needs to be high enough so that the flag is always above the waves.

Moreover, a dive flag put on a boat always needs to be in a very prominent and easily visible location.  

On the other hand, if you’re using a float, ensure that it is buoyant enough to hold the flag (and the staff if necessary).

In addition, it needs to be stable enough so that it doesn’t flip over easily in the event of rough weather.

You may also need a simple line or a weighted line, or an auger to anchor the float. 

How Much do Dive Flags Cost? 

For the dive flag itself, you’ll pay roughly $10-$15.

However, you’ll need a way to display the flag, whether it’s on a buoy, a raft, or a pole, for mounting it on a boat.

If it’s in the water, you’ll need the line and some sort of anchoring device to keep it in place.

You can get complete systems which will cost anywhere from $40 to $200. 

Dive Flag

Choosing the Right Dive Flag 

Before we call it a day, let’s go over a few tips on how to choose the right dive flag for you.  

  • Make sure that you get the specific dive flag that is recognized in your area 
  • Make sure that the style and size of the float is ideal for the type of scuba diving 
  • Consider how you will tow and/or anchor the float 


The bottom line is that you must use a dive flag for the law and safety when scuba diving or snorkeling outside an area that isn’t dedicated to swimming.  

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