loading="lazy" f The Colorful Language of the Sea: A Brief History of Nautical Flags–and Our New Bangle! by Navy Jane

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The Colorful Language of the Sea: A Brief History of Nautical Flags–and Our New Bangle!

July 11, 2023

The Colorful Language of the Sea: A Brief History of Nautical Flags–and Our New Bangle!

Photography by Navy Jane

Nautical flags have played a crucial role in maritime communication, serving as a colorful and symbolic language for ships worldwide.                                               

Over time, these flags have transcended their functional purpose and evolved into sources of inspiration for design in various areas, including decor and nautical jewelry. Yacht clubs also use the pendants as burgees to identify different clubs. The unique patterns and meanings associated with each flag have contributed to their popularity.  

nautical flag bracelet 

How It Started

Flags on ships go way back. Ancient sailors used them to show their country or group. But in the 1600s, nautical flags, also known as signal flags, started being used more for messages, especially with more trade and naval battles happening. There was a need for a system everyone could understand, no matter what language they spoke.


The Code of Signals

Come the 1800s, The International Code of Signals was created. This gave certain meanings to different flag combinations. Ships could now share important info like who they were, where they were, and if they were in trouble. These flags were really important when ships couldn't talk over radio or were too far away to hear each other.

 Nautical Signal Flag B - For Bravo

What the Flags Look Like

There are different shapes of flags - rectangular, pennant, and triangular. The most used ones are the International Maritime Signal Flags. This set has 26 square flags for each letter of the alphabet, 10 numbered pennants, and other flags for special messages.


What They Mean

According to the United States Navy, each flag means something specific. For instance, the "Alpha" flag means there's a diver down, and it tells nearby boats to slow down. The "Bravo" flag means the ship has dangerous cargo on board.

Flags Today

Even with modern tech like radios and satellites, these flags are still really important. They're used for talking, in ceremonies, and as decorations.

They show the rich history of sailing and are still a big part of making sure everyone's safe and understands each other at sea. And because their bright colors and designs are still a big part of naval tradition, we’re proud to let you know we have a new bangle for summer – with a nautical flag designThis classic style accessory not only adds a touch of elegance to your summer wardrobe but also pays homage to the rich history and symbolism behind nautical flags. Elevate your style with this nautical-inspired piece - and now that you know the story of nautical flags, you can use this history as a table topic during lunch.

Shop all Navy Jane bangles and bracelets here.

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