Chapter 4: The Legal Requirements of Boating
Other Equipment and Regulations
Federal and state law requires
that scuba divers and snorkelers display a diver-down flag to mark
the diving area. Alabama law requires that vessel operators stay
at least 100 feet from a displayed flag. Two types of flags are
used to indicate diving activity.
- A blue and white International Code Flag A (or Alfa flag),
at least 3.3 feet (one meter) high and visible from all directions,
must be displayed on vessels on federally controlled
waters. This flag indicates that a vessel is involved in
a diving activity.
- A rectangular red flag, at least 12 x 12 inches, with a white
diagonal stripe is used to indicate the presence of a submerged
diver in the area. Alabama law requires that divers prominently
display this flag and stay within a 50-foot radius of the flag.
||Types of Flags
Divers Flag: A rectangular red flag with a white diagonal
stripe attached to a vessel, float or buoy.
Alfa Flag: A blue and white International Code Flag
A (or Alfa flag), at least 1 meter (3.3 feet) high and visible
from all directions, flown from a vessel.
Scuba divers and snorkelers should not place a flag in an area
already occupied by other boaters or where their diving operation
will impede the normal flow of waterway traffic. Divers also should
follow all of the water safety rules themselves.
Ignition Safety Switch
Alabama law requires
that vessels that are less than 24 feet in length, have an open
cockpit, and are powered by more than 50 horsepower be equipped
with an ignition safety
switch. The lanyard– Short cord used for fastening something or securing rigging; on a PWC and most powerboats, it attaches the ignition safety switch to the operator's wrist or life jacket of the switch must
be attached to the person, clothing, or PFD of the operator.