In florida what does the state divers-down flag/device look like

Florida, with its vast coastline and a plethora of dive sites, attracts countless divers every year. The waters off the coast of Florida offer both novice and seasoned divers a chance to explore unique marine ecosystems, historical shipwrecks, and beautiful coral reefs. But with diving comes the responsibility of ensuring safety both for the divers underwater and for those navigating the water’s surface. One of the primary safety measures is the use of a divers-down flag or device. But what does this flag or device look like in Florida?

The Divers-Down Flag:

In Florida, a divers-down flag used on the water to indicate the presence of divers below is rectangular or square and predominantly red with a white diagonal stripe that runs from the top-left corner to the bottom-right corner of the flag. There are specific size requirements for these flags based on the type of watercraft:

  • Boats: For vessels, the flag must be at least 20 inches by 24 inches.
  • Floats used by divers: For divers using a float, the flag must be at least 12 inches by 12 inches.

The flag must be displayed in a manner that it is visible from every direction and must be flown at a high point, ensuring maximum visibility.

Divers-Down Buoy:

In addition to the flag, Florida has also approved the use of divers-down buoys. This buoy is essentially a floating device that serves the same purpose as the flag – to indicate that divers are beneath the surface. The buoy:

  • Must be three-dimensional.
  • Has a red body with a white diagonal stripe running from the top-left corner to the bottom-right corner, resembling the flag’s design.
  • Must have at least one flat, horizontal surface that is not less than 12 inches in diameter.

Display Requirements:

When divers are in the water and the boat is stationary, the divers-down flag or buoy should be displayed. It is mandatory to display them when divers are diving, and the flags or buoys should be taken down once all divers are safely back on board or out of the water. The flag or buoy should be positioned at the dive site, and divers are advised to stay within 300 feet in open water or 100 feet in rivers, inlets, or navigation channels.

Why Is It Important?

These devices are crucial for the safety of the divers. They inform boaters, jet ski operators, and other vessels that there are divers below, and extra caution is needed. Boaters should slow down and maintain a safe distance from the flag or buoy. Collisions can lead to tragic outcomes, so understanding and respecting these signals is paramount for everyone’s safety.


Florida’s diverse marine offerings can make for an unforgettable diving experience. But like all adventures, safety should always be the priority. Recognizing and understanding the state’s divers-down flag and buoy is a shared responsibility between divers and boaters. Observing these protocols ensures a safe diving experience for everyone and helps to protect Florida’s vibrant underwater world.