Welcome to Sea Flags, the website devoted to images and information on the flags, pennants, customs, and ceremonies of the United States Navy and the other American seagoing services.
From the earliest days of the age of sail up to the present time, the history of flags and the history of the sea have been intertwined.  Ashore, the splendid silk colors of the armies of the past have become ceremonial artifacts for the parade ground, but afloat flags still carry the vital tactical functions they have always had.  From the national ensign on which international law depends to identify a vessel's country of origin to the flags of rank that identify the locus of command to the rainbow-hued array of signal flags that provide a silent means of communicating complex messages throughout a battle group, flags at sea remain not only a colorful part of naval and maritime tradition but a central component of modern seamanship.  Nothing makes this clearer than the fact that, to this day, the U.S. Navy's flag directive is published by the Naval Computer and Telecommunications Command as a naval telecommunications publication.
The subject of naval and maritime flags covers a wide array of information.  Clicking on the icons at the left will allow you to navigate through this fascinating body of knowledge.  Because of the close relationship between flags and naval ceremonies, you will also find a section devoted to the customs, ceremonies, and traditions of the U.S. Navy.
This site will always remain a work in progress.  I therefore welcome any comments, questions, suggestions, or other contributions on the subject of flags and the sea.
Joseph McMillan
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Copyright Notice

Unless otherwise credited, all material, including images, on these pages is the work of Joseph McMillan and may be reproduced, other than for fair academic use, only with the author's permission.  The title banner for the Sea Flags site is a detail of a painting of the USS Constitution in the Naval Historical Center's collection, published in the May 1997 edition of the Navy magazine All Hands.


Much of the material in SeaFlags was originally created for submission to the Flags of the World (FOTW) website.  I am indebted to my colleagues on the FOTW mailing list for their many helpful suggestions and comments, both on the technical aspects of computer graphics as well as on the history and use of the flags themselves.

Sea Flags
Copyright 2000, 2001 by Joseph McMillan
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