Coast Guard Urges Boaters to Exercise Caution in Vicinity of Dive Flags

HONOLULU – The Coast Guard is urging boaters to exercise caution in the vicinity of dive flags and familiarize themselves with those activities that require the use of dive flags. Recent incidents in which divers were injured as a result of vessels operating too close to divers have brought to light the need to educate boaters and divers alike.

Flags identifying dive operations are required by both Federal and State law. The state law also prohibits other vessels from operating within 100 feet of the diver down flag. The use of either of these two flags indicates to other mariners that a vessel is restricted in its ability to maneuver and there are people in the water. Careless operation of vessels in the vicinity of these flags can result in serious injury and death. When diving from a vessel, the International Code flag Alpha (blue and white) shall be displayed at all times during dive operations. The State of Hawaii requires the use of the diver down flag (red background with white diagonal stripe) during all dive operations; including diving from vessels, platforms or shore.

Boaters are advised to steer clear of dive operations and to maintain a sharp lookout and safe speed when transiting areas where dive and snorkel operations are common and flags are present. Divers are advised to display dive flags whenever dive operations are in progress and make every effort to surface only within 100 feet of the diver down flag. For additional information on boating safety please visit the Coast Guard’s Office of Boating Safety website.

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