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SMB vs Dive Flag

Discussion in 'Pacific Northwest' started by sambolino44, Nov 11, 2006.

  1. Sam Miller III

    Sam Miller III Scuba Legend Scuba Legend

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: CALIFORNIA: Where recreational diving began!

    I am a tad older and a tad more experienced than you and most of the respondents.

    In 1962 the first accident involving a diver struck by a boat occured at Calalina Island Southern California.

    I was summoned an "expert witness" as to the use and validty of the then new and almost unknown dive flag. It was litigated in Long Beach, California under "Admiralty law." The defendant was found guilty and that one litigation 45 years ago was the base for establishing the rights and and priviledges of a diver flying a divers flag.

    Since that initial trial many local ordinances, state and federal laws have been enacted requiring the display of a dive flag while engaged in underwater activity, how ever most are ingnored by the diving public--until there is an accident. At time I receive a call to appear as an expert witness to testify and defend the diver who was diving with out a flag in violation of the local or state laws. As you can well imagine these accidents are becomming increasingly difficult to defend.

    Displaying a divers flag is not an assurance that the diver will not be in an accident but if they are there is recourse in a court of law.

    I would seriously question if any other marker other than the red & white or the blue and white flags would be locally or universally accepted as a sign of diving, and would be sustained in a court of law.

    Therefore, check your local oridances & state laws and abide by them.

    Good luck and be safe and legal

    <<Like your hair cut and always enjoy the nector from your Island>>

  2. Rick Inman

    Rick Inman Advisor ScubaBoard Supporter

    No doubt on both! :D

    However, that dosn't change the fact that, where I dive, one is much more likely to be struck by a jet ski or small boat when surfacing near a dive flag than away from one. We drop in the flag and then stay the heck away form it.

    I'll take the ticket over the head injury.
  3. Scuba-Jay

    Scuba-Jay Dive Charter

  4. Sam Miller III

    Sam Miller III Scuba Legend Scuba Legend

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: CALIFORNIA: Where recreational diving began!
    Folks you all have good arguements for not using the red and white dive flag as a marker--so be my guest don't use it!

    But-- if you are using it and have an unpleasant encounter with a boat or water craft you or you heirs will have legal recourse and recompensation for the loss in a court of law. If you are not using it and have an encounter with a boat or water craft you will probably have a difficult case with little or no recourse.

    It is also well to bear in mind a red and white dive flag is not an offical flag. After all these good years and all the litigation it still remains as only a recognized flag of an activity.

    I often wonder how many current divers know the history of the flag--when, were, who and why it came into being. It just didn't appear on the diving scene.

    We should all be proud of it and proud to display it--For diving is the only sport that has it's own universal international recognized flag.

    I think that about says it for me,

    Good luck and good diving,

  5. Donnie1442000

    Donnie1442000 Angel Fish

    SDM I would be interested in the history of the dive flag do you have a link that is easily at hand that you could pass on?
  6. Donnie1442000

    Donnie1442000 Angel Fish

  7. mike_s

    mike_s Solo Diver


    The Dive Flag as we know it (Red with white stripe) was invented by Dockery, who owns Vortex Springs in Florida.

    See http://www.fatboyscuba.com/diveflaghistory.html

    and http://www.dive-flag.com/

    Sam Miller has a different opinion though. He thinks Ted Nixon created it.

    He's currently writing a book about it.
    Sam is considered a well known historian of scuba, but for some reason he doesn't want even consider Dockery as the inventor and was unwilling to even look into it or research it per the below thread.

    There is a thread that discusses this and the controversy.

    The consenus is that Dockery invented the flag but that Nixon was the one who mass marketed it and is known more for it.

    Like I said, Sam is a well known historian of Scuba history and is well respected in this industry. I was suprised that he didn't even want to bother to interview Dockery earlier (per the above thread). All it would have taken would have been a phone call or a visit. Hopefully he's opened his mind a little to allow better research of this for the book he's writing. If so, he'll sell a lot more books.

    If you're ever at Vortex Springs, they have the 'history of the dive flag' up many places so you can read it.
  8. sharkchasingdiver

    sharkchasingdiver Garibaldi


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