The Ins and Outs of Flying the Canadian Flag on a Registered Pleasure Craft

Registered Pleasure Craft

As a proud Canadian citizen, perhaps you want to fly the country’s flag on your boat. While having a registered pleasure craft allows for this, you must do so properly. Both to show your reverence to the flag, but also to adhere to safety and boating standards while on the water. In accordance with the Canada Shipping Act, we’ve put together this guide to help you determine how and when to fly your Canadian flag on your boat. 

General Rules for Flying a Canadian Flag on a Registered Pleasure Craft

The most important thing to keep in mind is that all recreational and commercial watercraft in Canada can fly the flag. In some cases, a pleasure craft is required to wave the Canadian flag on board. Those instances include the following:

  • When asked to do so by the Canadian government or a Canadian military ship.
  • Anytime you enter or leave a port.
  • Anytime you are anchored or moored in a port. 

In terms of registering and licensing your boat in Canada, there are a couple of other requirements that you need to be aware of, as they could apply to you.

  • Fly the flag when in harbor.
  • Fly the flag in territorial waters.
  • Take the flag down when under way on the high seas, as it’s not required at this time. 
  • Fly the flag from 8:00 am until sunset, when in harbor. 
  • The flag should always be flown at the stern of the vessel. 

When You’re in Other Countries

It is a courtesy to fly the flag of the country you are visiting anytime you leave Canadian waters and enter foreign waters. For example, in the United States, their flag must be flown at the highest position, above all other flags. The American flag must be flown on the starboard flag halyard. Many other countries have similar rules.

  • The American courtesy flag should be flown from the cross trees using the flag halyard.
  • The Canadian flag would be flown from the stern.
  • On a powerboat, the courtesy flag replaces all other flags. 

Traditional Rules

In many cases, there is tradition that plays a role in how a flag is flown. In the case of the Canadian flag, there are a few regulations to be aware of. 

  • If a merchant ship passes a military vessel, it dips its flag in recognition. 
  • In times of mourning, the Canadian flag is flown at half mast. 
  • Anytime three flags fly at the same time, the Canadian flag should be in the center. 

Registered Pleasure Craft

Disposing of a Flag

In some cases, you will need to dispose of your Canadian flag. There are some rules for this:

  • Return to a participating retail store for proper disposal.
  • If made of natural fibers, burn the flag in a dignified manner (privately and without a ceremony). 
  • If made of synthetic materials shred the flag and place it in a bag for disposal. 

If you need more information on flying the national flag on your registered pleasure craft, contact the Canadian Vessel Registry today for all the help you are looking for.