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Dive Flags

Submitted by admin on 2009-12-18 | Last Modified on 2010-04-07

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Dockery's Dive Flag

The dive flag was invented in the 1950s by a man by the name of Denzel James Dockery. During that time scuba diving was a new sport and there were still many possible developments to be made, it was a great sport for those looking to make income by the invention of new products. Denzel came up with the idea to create a flag to warm boats as to the underwater presence of scuba divers. He first designed a red flag which was the Navy's 'danger' flag, but then decided to add a white line across the flag, though this was later seen as a problem since the red flag with a white stripe through it was identical to the Austrian flag. From this he decided a diagonal white stripe on the red flag was best, and so the dive flag was born.

At first business was slow, but during the middle of the 1950s the distribution increased on the dive flags and by the late 50s Denzel's dive flags were now spreading quite rapidly between divers due to magazine publications and a local Michigan law that required divers use a dive flag.

The current, most commonly seen flag for divers in the United States is Denzel's dive flag. It has also become a symbol for diving in general and can be found in many scuba related instances.

Alpha Dive Flag

The Alpha flag is the other scuba diving flag, though this flag was not invented as a dive flag and was originally the 'undergoing speed trial' flag. The Alpha flag is now recognized as an international diving flag according to the international code of signals used in maritime situations.

While Denzel's flag is used soley to distinguish that there is currently a diver in the water, the Alpha flag on the other hand is used to tell other vessels that the dive boat is in a situation where it will be unable to manoeuvre, essentially it is a collision hazard signal. The Alpha flag is more common in European, African and the Pacific continents as opposed to America.

It is important for divers to remember the importance of the dive flag and the role it plays in diving today. It is a vital part of a divers safety and one should never enter the waters in an area of boat traffic without a dive flag to alert others as to your diving.


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