It's the Law

Divers-Down Warning Device


State law requires that scuba divers or snorkelers display a divers-down warning device whenever they are in the water. A divers-down warning device may not be displayed when divers are out of the water.

A divers-down warning device may be a divers-down flag, buoy, or other similar warning device. These devices are designed for, and used by, divers and dive vessels as a way to notify nearby boaters that divers are in the water in the immediate area. The device must be displayed prominently when in use. The divers-down warning device must meet these requirements.

  • The divers-down warning device must contain a divers-down symbol.
    • The symbol is a red rectangle or square with a white diagonal stripe.
    • If the symbol is rectangular, the length may not be less than the height or more than 25% longer than the height.
    • The width of the stripe must be 25% of the height of the symbol.
    • If multiple stripes are displayed, all of the stripes must be oriented in the same direction.
  • The size of the divers-down symbol depends on whether the divers-down warning device is displayed from the water or from a vessel.
    • On the water, the divers-down symbol must be at least 12 x 12 inches in size.
    • On a vessel, the symbol must be at least 20 x 24 inches in size. The divers-down warning device also must be displayed at the highest point of a vessel so that its visibility is not obstructed in any direction.
  • If the divers-down warning device is a divers-down flag, the flag must:
    • Display the divers-down symbol on each face and…
    • Have a wire stiffener or be otherwise constructed to ensure it remains fully unfurled and extended, even when there is no wind or breeze.
  • If the divers-down warning device is a buoy, the buoy must:
    • Have three or four sides with the divers-down symbol displayed on each of the flat sides and…
    • Be prominently visible on the water’s surface and not displayed on the vessel.
  • Boaters must make reasonable efforts to stay at least 300 feet away from divers-down warning devices in open water and at least 100 feet away in rivers, inlets, or navigation channels.
  • Boaters approaching divers-down warning devices closer than 300 feet in open water and 100 feet in rivers, inlets, or navigation channels must slow to idle speed.