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Bahamas - Ensigns

Last modified: 2006-02-05 by dov gutterman
Keywords: bahamas | civil ensign | naval ensign | the bahamas |
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According to Smith (1975) [smi75], the Bahamas has three "cross" flags, each with the national flag in the canton:

  • Red field, white cross - civil ensign ("merchant flag")
  • White Field, red cross - naval ensign and war flag
  • White Field, blue cross - state ensign (like the UK's "blue ensigns")

Nick Artimovich, 29 April 1996

Concering all three ensigns in Album 2000 [pay00] - Difference regarding the images below is in width of the cross. However, I believe that Album might here more exact, but it seems that other sources I have consulted in brief does not give definitive anwser. In some [smi80, smi75, zna99)]the width of cross is aparently equal to the width of the three stripes of the flag in canton (so it 1/7 of hight), while Smipmate Chart and Album 2000 (and 1990 corr. 26) have the cross thinner (say 1/8 of height). WFD, have surprisingly something else - the cross horizontal bar seem even wider the 1/7 (but it is not easy to judge that), but also the vertical bar is notably much wider.
Another question that is connected to the one above is the shape of the trangle in canton flag - is it streched as the national flag is (to fill up the canton), or are only the stripes streched and the trangles is still equilateral? I suspect that the last might be true, but...
In case I am right in this last one, the images in Album are wrong
Željko Heimer, 7 Febuary 2001

I agree. It is a mistake.
Armand du Payrat, 16 Febuary 2001

The Civil Ensign

Civil Ensign of Bahamas(1:2)
image by Jan Oskar Engene

I saw a flag on a ship that I am not able to identify using your Flag Detective site. The flag was like the flag of Denmark but the upper left quadrant of the red cross design was blue with a yellow pennant coming into the blue quadrant from the left edge of the flag. The name of the ship was the Tecam Sea. Any ideas?
Bob Wilson, 6 August 1999

Sounds like the civil ensign of the Bahamas - many ships out there are of Bahamian registry because of tax laws, so you would see its flag on the seas quite a bit. It looks like the Danish flag (a red flag with a narrow white St. George's cross, and 1:2 proportions), with the Bahamas flag in the canton (upper-left corner).
David Kendall, 6 August 1999

Merchant Vessel registered in Bahamas hoist the Bahamas civil ensign. A foreign Flag merchant vessel calling at a Bahamian port for commercial operations will hoist it too. There is no minimum size to the emsign, it just depends on the ships size.
Jose C. Alegria, 6 October 2000

In September I could make a photo of a Bahamas civil ensign. It was on a vessel of Celebrity Cruises in the lagoon of Venice. Unlike the usual 1:2 ratio this flag had the 2:3 proportion. Perhaps this has flag-dynamic and aesthetic reasons. A cloth with 2:3 or 3:5 ratio flutters easier in the wind than a more longish one. The 2:3 and the 3:5 ratios are nearer to the "golden rectangle" which is made with the golden ratio of 1.618.
Martin Karner, 12 January 2006

Proportions of 2:3 or 3:5 are seen globally far more than the 1:2 types. It has been a while since I was in the Bahamas, but when I was there, I rarely saw any kind of flag or ensign proportioned 1:2. Almost everything with the exception of a very few government flags were 2:3 or 3:5. Come to think of it, I don't recall ever seeing a 1:2 Bahamian red ensign in Bahamian waters.
Clay Moss, 13 January 2006

The reasons are, I would suggest, more likely to be commercial than aesthetic, and the fact remains that 1:2 is the correct ratio for defaced UK and related defaced ensigns (however many may be made differently).
Christopher Southworth, 13 January 2006

The Naval Ensign and Aircraft Marking

Naval Ensign of bahamas(1:2)
image by Jan Oskar Engene

Aircraft Marking

"The Bahamas Defence Force planes [they got two....] carries the BDF flag on their fin."
The illustration shows a flag same as The Naval Ensign , but with nerrower hands of the cross and also outlined in red.
Dov Gutterman
, 7 Febuary 2000

In the pasr years they had only one (and even this one is out of service after ditching). In the past they had other 4 planes, all out of service today.
Photo of the sole RBDF Cessna 421C Golden Eagle (now on the sea bottom) with a view of the RBDF flag on the tail (we at <>.
The Air Wing was formed in 1982.
Dov Gutterman, 11 June 2004

The Naval Reserve Ensign

image by Željko Heimer

I found in Smith (1975) [smi75] the state ensign of Bahamas: white British ensign with a blue cross. The blue of the cross is obviously darker then the one of the Bahamas flag in the canton - one of the rare examples of two shades of blue touching each other!
In his 1980 book [smi80] Smith doesn't give any state ensign for Bahamas. Is this still in use and forgotten by Whitney, or is it rather other way around - forgotten by the Bahamians and remembered by Whitney?
Željko Heimer, 7 October 1996

According ot Album des Pavillons [pay], this ensign is now used by the Reserve Navy.
Ivan Sache, 30 March 1999

Concering L'Album 2000 [pay00], shouldn't the naval reserve ensign be rather classified as variant civil ensign?
The naval reserve ensign is hoisted by private vessels, right?
Željko Heimer, 5 January 2001

Yes. I agree.
Armand Noel du Payrat (author of [pay00]), 8 January 2001

In National flags and distinctive markings - Change Nr 1 [pay01] - Page BA 1.1 - Naval Reserve ensign - Change in the FIAV grid. Dot moved from "State ensign" to "civil ensign".
Ivan Sache, 8 October 2001

Civil Jack

image by Željko Heimer, 2 May 2004

In Album 2000 [pay00] - Civil Jack. 1:2 - This is the same flag as The Civil Ensign, but swallow-tailed. How "deep" is the indentation, I don't know, about 1/3 of lenght, maybe good approximation. (It's certainly less then the triangle from the national flag would be set here.
Željko Heimer, 7 Febuary 2001