Monday January 20 2020
June 10, 2013

A Diving Icon: Diver Down Flag

If you are a scuba diver, there is no chance that you have not seen a diver down flag. As my experience shows, even majority of the non-divers know that it is something related to scuba diving when they see a diver down flag. I asked one of my fellow dive instructors while writing this article: “What do you imagine when I tell you diver down flag?”. He answered recklessly: “everything about diving“.  That’s the best answer because we see diver down flag everywhere dealing with diving. Dive centers, dive boats, dive stores, dive bags… They are all endowed with diver down flag. But what it really means?

Shape of the Diver Down Flag

Diver Down Flag has a red background color. A white stripe starts from the upper left corner and ends in lower right corner. It is also the favicon (the small icon on your browser) and a piece of logo of However, a real diver down flag is rectangle, not a square. I have created my logo and favicon like a square just for design issues.

Purpose of the Diver Down Flag

A diver down flag yells out: “Hey! There are divers below me, keep out!” Generally, you can see a diver down flag on a buoy on a dive site. This flag is attached to a rope with an anchor or a couple of dive weights. It is a “must” to make a diver down flag float if there are divers diving on a dive spot.  When a boat (it can be a dive boat, fishing boat or any other type regardless of its length) sees this flag, it should not get close to that area and should slow down. The purpose is not to damage and/or disturb the scuba divers below. And the divers on the other hand, should not get a way from the diver down flag. The laws change from country to country and state to state. In Turkey, for example, scuba divers should not get a way from a diver down flag more than 200 meters. This law is also for the boats. They should not get close to this flag more than 200 meters.

Kinds of Diver Down Flag

There are two kinds: Diver Down Flag and Alpha/Alfa (also called “A Flag” simply). The Alpha Flag is used on the dive boats. The purpose is the same: Not to bring other boats close to the diving spot. The Alpha Flag tries to say: “There are divers below man, slow down and stay out of my range“.  The diving boat with an Alpha Flag is just like a watchman for the divers. It is a blue and white flag, but you can easily recognize an Alpha Flag because it is clipped. Every dive boat should fly an Alpha Flag to be able to put out to sea in diving purposes.

I See Diver Down Flag Everywhere?

That’s true, me either. Because this flag has become everything related to diving over time. If you see someone wearing a t-shirt with a diver down flag on it, you can be sure that he/she is a diver or interested in diving. In a shopping mall, for example, if you see this flag, it is obvious that the store is selling diving-themed stuff. I have diver down flag themed key chains, pillows and even a pair of slippers.


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About Seaman


Hi, my name is Murat Demirağ. I have been diving since 1996 and teaching scuba since 2005. I wanted to share my knowledge through

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