Port Herman Beach Condominium

Flag Display Information

Personal Flag Displays

Port Herman encourages individuals to display the US Flag, the Port Herman Burgee and other flags that residents desire to display.  The only restrictions on the personal display of flags at Port Herman are in our By-Laws, Article X.3.m which state, 

"Decks, porches, stairways and platforms shall be kept in a neat, safe and orderly manner; no items or material shall be hung over the deck railing, or on the outer side of said deck.  Festive flags, ensigns, pennants or banners may be flown or displayed from or on decks or deck railings provided that, in the sole discretion of the board of directors, their size and number is reasonable and they are not distasteful or otherwise objectionable."

The Port Herman Board of Directors also encourages all residents who choose to display the US Flag to follow the US Code for flying it properly.  It is each individual unit owners responsibility to fly the flag properly and the Port Herman BOD will not engage in policing individual adherence to the Flag Code. 

The US Code associated with the proper flying of the US Flag can be found by clicking on the following link: 
US Flag Code.

Port Herman Marina Flag Pole

The Port Herman Marina flag pole is a traditional marina/yacht club flag pole.  It is similar to flag poles that you will find at many marinas throughout the world as well as on nearly every ship in the United States Navy.  It differs significantly from the flag poles you see at homes, corporations, and government buildings throughout the country which are single mast flag poles.  With those differences in pole configuration come different rules that should be followed for flying the US Flag on them.  With the more commonly known flag pole, the US Flag is always flown at the peak and no flag should be flown above it.  Details on how to fly the flag properly on this type of flagpole can be found by following the link above to the US Flag Code.  The image below shows the proper way to fly the flag on a single mast flagpole.


The Port Herman Flag pole, however, is not this type of flagpole and therefore Port Herman follows the guidelines for the type of flagpole that we have.  Our flagpole is commonly referred to as either a "Gaff-Rigged Flagpole" or a "Yacht Club Mast".  The gaff-rigged flagpole had its origins at sea.  Because of all the sail carried by the rigging of the vessels of the time, the flag of a nation could not be clearly viewed if it was placed at the top of the mast.  The stern of the vessel was the position of command and the captain's quarters were located aft.  Early boats also had the nobleman's banner, king's banner, or English ensign staff fixed to the stern rail.  As sails changed, long booms sweep across the stern rail every time the ship tacked, so the ensign staff had to be removed when the ship was under way.  Since the captain and the other officers were still aft, the nearest position from which they found it practical to fly the ensign was the gaff.  Over time, this became the place of honor to display the national flag.

The usual argument given by those that think it is wrong to fly the national flag from the gaff is that the national flag is flying below a club burgee or other flag contrary to the US Flag Code.  Notice that even when the national flag is flown from the stern of a ship, it is lower in height than other flags flying on the ship.  When the flag is flown from a gaff-rigged pole, a flag flown at the top of the mast is not considered to be above the US Flag because it is not being flown directly above the flag on the same halyard.

The US Flag should be flown from the highest point of honor, and over time, that has become the peak of the gaff.  Flying the national flag from the top of the mast while flying another flag at the gaff would be flying another flag in a position of superior honor since the peak of the gaff is the highest point of honor.

Finally, the tradition of flying the US Flag from the gaff is used by the U.S. Navy.  Paragraph 801 (b), "Display of the National Ensign at U.S. Naval Shore Activities", in the Naval Telecommunications Procedures document, Flags, Pennants & Customs, NTP 13(B), states the following on where to fly the national ensign:

"Display of the national ensign from various flagpole configurations is explained herein.  The right side of a flagpole is determined by looking from the main entrance of the headquarters building to the pole
(1) Polemast - flown from the peak.  If peak is equipped with two halywards, flow from the right side...
(2) Polemast with Crosstree - flow at peak of pole...
(3) Polemast with Gaff - Flown at peak of gaff...
(4) Polemast with Crosstree and Gaff - This is commonly called a "yacht club mast".  Displayed from the gaff..."

The information above can be verified to be correct by following any of the links below:

Coastal Flag Etiquette
US Power Squadron Flag Etiquette
Chapman's Piloting & Seamanship - available on amazon.com

Proper flying of the US Flag on a Gaff-Rigged Flag Pole