Can You Name These Navy Signal Flags?

MILITARY

Staff Author

6 Min Quiz

Image: Wiki Commons via David Cannings

About This Quiz

In our modern world of instant communication worldwide, where a funny cat video or gif can be bounced off a satellite and onto the other side of the world in a scant few seconds, does our navy really need ... flags? Aren't they just a misbegotten relic of a time before telecommunications? Are they just another example of how the military is full of hidebound traditionalists who need to adapt to the ever-changing real world and drop their aged, useless traditions to which they cling so dearly?


NO! The Navy Signal Flag system serves a valuable purpose, even today! First of all, they relay information instantaneously to everyone within viewing range. You don't have to filter the flag through a system of notifications or find a message in your ever-burgeoning email folder, you just know, immediately, what the flag is meant to tell you. Correspondingly, it's no surprise that many of the messages transmitted by these signal flags are important information that is meant to be relayed with all haste to anyone nearby. It's no good to tweet "man-overboard"! These flags are able to transmit need-to-know information at the speed of light, allowing all ships in range to immediately act as necessary to suit the situation.


But you already know  that, right? You're a Navy Signals expert, that's why you're here! We have in this quiz several dozen of the Navy's Signal Flags for you to apply your expertise towards. Now raise the anchor and set sail, you've got a mighty challenge ahead!

Which naval flag is this?

The signal flag for hotel means that the ship flying it already has a pilot on board. That way command does't waste time sending a redundant pilot their way.

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Which flag is this one?

Golf, on the other hand, is a way for a ship to communicate that it lacks a pilot. A more important signal than the above, simply because it is an issue that must be remedied ASAP!

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Which flag is this one pictured here?

Flags can also be used in place of numerals, which can be useful both in of itself and as a component in sending coded information. In this case, this means seven.

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What is the below flag?

The flag Echo simply communicates that the ship is turning to starboard. When electronic communication is unavailable, this information is very important for neighboring vessels!

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Which is the following flag?

Foxtrot normally means that the ship is disabled, but for carriers it means that flight operations are ongoing. This is a very important distinction to keep in mind!

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Which flag flies here?

The flag for Papa acts as a means to summon personnel back to the ship, and a warning that it is soon going to leave port!

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Which flag is below?

This flag stands for Victor, and its purpose is simple: It is a cry for help. Technically speaking it translates to: "I require assistance".

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Which signal flag flies proudly here?

This is the flag for Juliet, and it has a particularly important albeit narrow use. It says "I am on fire, and I have dangerous cargo. Stay away!" It is understandable why a country's navy would have a need for such a flag!

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Which flag is here?

The flag for Fourth Substitute could mean that it is a substitute for a number four flag, but it also can mean that the officer whose flag flies on this vessel is not currently aboard.

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Which naval flag is This?

The flag called Romeo simply means that they are "Preparing to replenish (At sea). Ready duty ship (in port)." It is a simple request for supplies.

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Which naval flag do you see here?

This flag simply means "Pennant Zero," which in this case is used in combination for various naval codes. These might vary based on the week or even the day, depending on the Navy's state of alert.

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Which flag do you see here?

The Signal Flag "Mike" refers to the carrying vessel being stopped. It means literally "My vessel is stopped, making no way." That could be due to external environmental factors, but could also be a choice of the captain's.

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Which flag flies here?

The flag for November translates to a simple "No, or negative". Consequently, it is used only in answer to the flags of another vessel.

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Which flag is deployed in this image?

The flag for Kilo means, quite simply "I want to communicate with you". So if you're browsing your online dating profile and this flag pops up, consider it an attempt at an introduction from one of our navy's finest vessels.

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Which navy flag is this?

This flag, which is a simple "Delta", means that the boat flying it is having trouble maneuvering, and spotting vessels should steer clear. A quite sensible precaution to take, given the dangers of collision when out on the ocean.

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Which flag is this one?

The flag for Zero's purpose is literally the numeral zero. It is used as a component in codes, and has no meaning on its own.

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What flag proudly flies below?

This flag simply indicates "Pennant Five", which is a component in an overall coded message.

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Which flag is shown here?

The flag called "Third Substitute" can indeed be a substitute flag, but its more important message is "Absence of commanding officer, in port." Knowing such info at a glance can be very helpful.

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Which Navy signal flag is here?

The flag above stands for "Charlie," which in this instance is a simple reply in the affirmative. Obviously, not much use unless a conversation is going on!

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What flag do you see here?

Oscar's message indicates the classic seaborne emergency: "Man Overboard!" If you see this, start scanning the waves, as every moment counts!

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Which flag do you see here?

The signal flag that stands for Alfa means "I have a diver down, keep well clear and at a slow speed." This has obvious importance- given the limitations of human maneuvering under water, those boats better stay very slow indeed!

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Which flag do you see waving here?

The flag for the number "Nine" is only unusual in its pronunciation: it is spoken NINE-ER. You may have seen this on television or in movies!

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Which signal flag do you see here?

This signal flag simply translates to "Pennant Four."

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Which important signal is shown here?

This signal flag translates as "Uniform," and it is very important that one recognize it, as it means "You are heading into danger!" Whether combat, a storm, or Scylla and Charybdis, it's time to turn around!

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Which signal flag is this?

This signal flag translates to "Four", and as such is used in tandem with other flags to send information and codes. The more you know!

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What signal flag do you see here?

This flag, meaning Code or Answer, either refers to the following flags representing a code from the international code of signals, or alternately that an answer to the requested query is forthcoming.

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Which important signal flag is here?

The above signal flag, Bravo, is a flag with an important purpose: It communicates to the onlooker that the vessel is carrying, taking in or discharging dangerous cargo. Beware!

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What flag do you see flying beside this question?

The above flag stands for Lima, a flag with a serious purpose: It is requesting (or ordering!) the ship viewing it to stop immediately. It includes no mention of purpose, so it could be for many potential reasons.

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What signal flag for the American Navy is shown here?

The flag shown here translates to "Whiskey," and it is a very important tool to have in a ship's arsenal, as it is an immediate request for medical assistance. Is there a doctor on board?

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What flag do you see here?

This flag translates as "First Substitute," which either means that the vessel lacks a flag officer or unit commander while in port, or that the flag is simply acting as a substitute for the first flag in that particular hoist.

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Which Flag do you see here?

The flag flown here translates as "Xray," and it is an immediate order to another vessel to cease its current action. After this flag is flown, another one will follow with new instructions.

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Which flag do you see here?

The flag shown flying here, "Zulu" has a short and sweet meaning: "I need a tug." It does not give a reason why, which makes sense- restore mobility now, explain later!

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Which Navy signal flag is this?

This signal flag simply means "Pennant Six," and is used to mean the numeral of the same name.

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Which flag is this?

Pennant Eight is just what it sounds- a pennant simply meaning the number eight. Useful in communicating a number of things, as well as speaking in code.

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Which naval flag do you see here?

This flag means the number three. Not exciting in itself, but somewhat more than two. Less than four, however.

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Which naval signal flag do you see beside this text?

The Sierra flag shown here can either mean that you are conducting a flag hoist drill, or that you are proceeding astern, depending on the context, and you better be sure which is which!

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Which signal flag flies high here?

This signal flag stands for "India," which can have two significantly different meanings: either that the flag-bearing vessel is coming alongside, or that they are directing their course to port.

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What flag do you see here?

This signal flag, which means "Tango," is surprisingly narrow in purpose: it only means "Do Not Pass Ahead of Me." No, that is not an invitation to play chicken!

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What flag do you see on this pole?

The above flag stands for "Quebec" and befitting a province with a complex history, it is a complex flag. On the one hand it can mean "Boat recall; all boats return to ship," but it can also mean "Ship meets health regs; request clearance into port."

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And what final flag is portrayed here?

This flag has the meaning "Yankee," and like most of the alphabet flags it has dual meanings: either "Ship has visual communications duty" or "I am dragging anchor." If the latter, watch out!

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