For your safety and especially when required by law, you need to display a dive flag that is either a blue-and-white pennant flag (Alfa or Alpha flag) or a red rectangle with a diagonal white stripe (diver-down flag). The dive flag signals to any boats in the area that divers are in the water. Use the following guidelines when you use or see a dive flag.
- Shore-entry diving: Attach the flag at least 1 meter/3.3 feet high off your float.
- Boat diving: Attach the flag to the highest point for maximum visibility.
- General rule of distance: The diver must stay within 15 meters/50 feet of the flag, and boats should stay about 50 meter/164 feet away from the flag. (Don’t assume boaters will follow this guideline; therefore, ascend carefully and listen for boat traffic.) Check in your diving area because there may be marine laws that determine safe distances from boats and other hazards.
If you are not sure how far away you are from your anchored flag, carry a reel and SMB and inflate it well before you surface.