RANSA Burgee & Flag Etiquette

The RANSA Burgee & Flag Etiquette

The RANSA Burgee

Each club has its own burgee, a pendant bearing the colours or special device of the club. In recognition of our traditional links to the Royal Naval Sailing Association, the RANSA Burgee is the the same as that of the Royal Naval Sailing Association (RNSA). It comprises a white triangular pendant bearing the St George Cross superimposed with a blue naval crown. 

Members Permitted to Fly the Burgee
Only i) Naval, ii) Service, iii) Sailing, iv) Country, v) Life, and vi) Honorary Members are permitted to wear the burgee and uniform of RANSA. Associate and Crew members are not allowed to wear the burgee or uniform.

The Commodore of the club is entitled to a burgee with two tails (a swallow tail) with the same colour or device.  

The Vice Commodore has a similar swallow tail burgee with one ball in the upper corner of the hoist.  

The Rear Commodore has the same with two ball shapes next to the hoist.

When racing, yachts should not fly a burgee - but may fly a racing flag or pennant - for the same reason that the ensign is not flown. This is to signify that for that period the yacht is subject to the International Sailing Federation (I.S.A.F) Rules. While racing a yacht may, however, display a racing pennant.     

Ensigns and Flag Etiquette

The Ensign is a distinguishing flag worn by a vessel to show her nationality. The word ensign comes from the Latin "Insignia" ‑ a distinguishing token, emblem or badge.

Flag etiquette for Australian ships is governed by the Flag Act 1953 (Cth), the Shipping Registration act, 1981 (Cth) and Regulations, tradition, custom and usage. Flags should be treated with respect and dignity.

RANSA expects the highest standards of seamanship and etiquette by member's yachts wearing flags.  

Permission to Wear the Defaced Blue Ensign

RANSA yachts may wear the Defaced Blue Ensign provided; 
(a) The owner has an Admiralty Warrant to fly the Blue Ensign; 
(b) The warrant is aboard the yacht at the time; 
(c) The owner is aboard or in effective control of the yacht; 
(d) The RANSA burgee is worn.

In Harbour. The Ensign and Burgee should be hoisted briskly at 0800, and lowered ceremoniously at sunset.

At Sea. The Ensign should be worn in daylight in sight of land, or in company of other yachts or ships. The burgee is not required to be lowered at sunset.

Racing. Ensigns and Burgees are not to be worn. RANSA racing flags should be flown from the backstay, and must be flown where the RANSA Notice of Race so requires. Yachts having retired should wear the Ensign and Burgee.

Salutes. Ensigns should be dipped to all Warships and to RANSA Flag Officers.  

Permission to Wear the Australian Red Ensign
All Australian Ships are entitled to wear the Australian Red Ensign. 


A yacht owner who is a member of more than one club should normally fly the ensign and burgee of the senior club in that port unless sailing from one of the other clubs, when that ensign should be used. A yacht owner who is a member of several clubs, but is a Flag Officer of one of them, should use the flag officer's burgee and ensign of the club of which they are a flag officer in preference to others.

Seniority in clubs is difficult to define in detail, but a guide can be taken from the ensign the club is entitled to use:

1. White Ensign 
2. Blue Ensign 
3. Blue Ensign (defaced) 
4. Red Ensign (defaced) 
5. Red Ensign 
SOURCE: Starrett, E.B. (Unknown) Yachting Flag Lore. (RANSA and Army Sailing Club)

Other Links
     More Information About the RANSA Burgee
     History of the Ensign
     Yachting Flag Lore - Lt Col B Starrett