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Persons scuba diving, skin diving, or snorkeling in Rhode Island waters where vessels are used must display a diver-down flag to mark their diving area. Powerboats must remain at least 50 feet away from a diver-down flag, unless doing so would prevent safe navigation.

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.

Two types of flags are used to indicate diving activity.

Diver Down flag

Divers Flag: A rectangular red flag with a white diagonal stripe (¼ the width of the flag) is required on Rhode Island waters.

  • If the flag is displayed on the water, it must be at least 12 x 12 inches.
  • If the flag is flown from a vessel, it must be at least 18 x 18 inches.
  • The flag must be in place only while diving operations are in progress.
  • If diving between sunset and sunrise, the flag must be illuminated.
Alpha Flag

Alfa Flag: 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 the vessel is involved in a diving activity.

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