Because recreational boats can pose a hazard to those diving or snorkeling, they play a critical role in the safety of those operating them. However, boaters are not the only ones responsible for ensuring safety in the water. The Federal and State Navigation Laws advise boaters to steer clear of the area, and as a precaution, divers must display flags to inform others that the area may be dangerous.
There is no surprise that a significant number of people wish to try diving since it is one of the most popular water activities in the world. The presence of divers in the water is always expected. Therefore, boaters must be able to recognize and react to a diver down flag. Boaters may not notice the divers’ bubbles due to factors such as weather conditions or the boat’s wake.
Fortunately, “diver down” flags are available to let boaters know that divers are present, even though the divers cannot be easily seen. Upon spotting a diver, boat operators must maintain a distance of at least 100 meters from the marked area.
Alpha Flags: A blue and white Alpha Flag measuring at least 20 by 24 inches must be displayed on the boat.
Divers-Down Flags: A Divers-Down Flag signals other boaters that a diver is close to the area. The flag is red and white on a buoy. Divers must maintain a distance of 100 feet close to the Divers-Down Flag.