Courtesy flags are a key part of maritime flags etiquette as well as providing communication between boats and yachts.
Yachts fly courtesy flags to demonstrate respect and courtesy to the country they are sailing in. Although there is no official advice, people generally consider it polite and correct to sail abroad in this manner. Failing to show the right flag can be considered rude and can lead to penalties or other consequences.
When your vessel enters the territorial waters of a foreign country then you should hoist the courtesy flag of that country. The proper place to fly them is on the starboard spreader or bow of the boat. You should fly only Red Ensigns or your national flag on the stern of your boat.
You should also fly a Q flag or yellow flag with the yacht courtesy flag. This is to show that you haven't cleared customs in the country yet. You can fly both flags together, but the flag of the country you're in should be above the Q flag.
We have many courtesy flags for boats and yachts, ensuring you follow etiquette and legal rules when abroad.