Dive Flag Regulations for Rhode Island Waters

In Rhode Island, the vibrant community of SCUBA divers, skin-divers, and snorkelers is a testament to the state's beautiful and accessible coastal environments. To ensure the safety of both divers and boaters, strict regulations concerning dive flags have been established. Here’s what you need to know:

Dive Flag Requirements

  • Visibility and Safety: When diving, a warning flag must be displayed to alert boaters of divers' presence underwater.
  • Flag Specifications:
    • Size and Design: The dive flag must be red with a white diagonal stripe running from corner to corner. The stripe's width should be one-quarter (1/4) the height of the flag.
    • Dimensions:
      • For flags placed on a buoy marking the diver's location, the flag must be at least 12” x 12”.
      • When flown from a vessel used by divers in the area, the flag should be larger, at least 18” x 18”.

Boater and Diver Responsibilities

  • Boaters: Must maintain a minimum safe distance of 50 feet from a displayed dive flag. This rule is crucial for divers' safety, giving them a safe zone to surface. However, if a dive flag obstructs navigation, boaters are allowed to pass closer, with extreme caution.
  • Divers:
    • Flag Display: The dive flag should be prominently displayed to indicate diving activity. It's important to only have the flag up during the dive and not while the vessel is in transit.
    • Safe Ascending: Divers are advised to ascend slowly and cautiously, making sure they are within the 50-foot safety zone around the dive flag to avoid close encounters with boats.

Navigation and Safety

  • Obstruction Avoidance: Dive flags should not be used in a manner that obstructs navigation. Divers and those accompanying them must ensure that the placement of dive flags does not create a hazard or block navigational pathways.
  • Communication: The use of dive flags is a critical safety measure that communicates the presence of divers to nearby boaters, significantly reducing the risk of accidents.
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The legal advice provided on Wild Advisor Pro is intended as a summary of the hunting, camping, hiking, and fishing laws and regulations and does not constitute legal language or professional advice. We make every effort to ensure the information is accurate and up to date, but it should not be relied upon as legal authority. For the most current and comprehensive explanation of the laws and regulations, please consult the official government websites or a qualified legal professional. Wild Advisor Pro is not responsible for any misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the information presented and shall not be held liable for any losses, damages, or legal disputes arising from the use of this summary information. Always check with the appropriate governmental authorities for the latest information regarding outdoor regulations and compliance.