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Captains of Celebrity: what is the purpose of the flag hanging down from bow while in port?


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I was always curious as to why Celebrity ships fly a flag from a line under the bow while in port?

 

I always wondered about it and tried to find out the true meaning online, but I am coming up empty.

 

I did find and somewhat heated exchange online between two people in a forum.  One claimed it marked a "fire wire" - used by tugs to locate a line to pull the ship off the dock in case of fire.  The other claimed it was dropped as a warning to other vessels to stay clear of the bow.

 

Captains of Celebrity - can you enlighten us so we have dinner table banter to impress our friends when we sail again?

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38 minutes ago, ctbeacher said:

I was always curious as to why Celebrity ships fly a flag from a line under the bow while in port?

 

I always wondered about it and tried to find out the true meaning online, but I am coming up empty.

 

I did find and somewhat heated exchange online between two people in a forum.  One claimed it marked a "fire wire" - used by tugs to locate a line to pull the ship off the dock in case of fire.  The other claimed it was dropped as a warning to other vessels to stay clear of the bow.

 

Captains of Celebrity - can you enlighten us so we have dinner table banter to impress our friends when we sail again?

Don't know for sure, but this is what I found:

 

The red flag hanging from the bow of a ship is similar to the red flag that you hang on a load that protrudes from the rear of your vehicle.
It is a warning flag. Cruise ships often dock where smaller vessels come and go. The bow of a cruise ship often hangs out much further than the bow at the water line. A small vessel, particularly a sail boat with a tall mast could collide if they were not aware of the full length of the bow.

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4 hours ago, LGW59 said:

Don't know for sure, but this is what I found:

 

The red flag hanging from the bow of a ship is similar to the red flag that you hang on a load that protrudes from the rear of your vehicle.
It is a warning flag. Cruise ships often dock where smaller vessels come and go. The bow of a cruise ship often hangs out much further than the bow at the water line. A small vessel, particularly a sail boat with a tall mast could collide if they were not aware of the full length of the bow.

Part of the reason is the overhead danger you reference, but the bigger reason is the subsurface hazard.  The flag is aligned with the forward end of the bulbous bow, which is cylindrical and extends forward, just below the surface; like the red protuberance in the photo below (and yes, I've been waiting to say "red protuberance" on Cruise Critic for a long time 🙂 ).

 

Harris

Denver, CO

glen-sannox-bulbous-launch.jpg

Edited by omeinv
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On 10/29/2020 at 7:44 PM, omeinv said:

Part of the reason is the overhead danger you reference, but the bigger reason is the subsurface hazard.  The flag is aligned with the forward end of the bulbous bow,

@omeinv  is correct.  I own a pleasure boat with a bulbous bow.  The primary reason for the chain and flag is to warn about the bulbous bow which can extend several feet at a shallow depth forward of the bow itself.  That is also the reason for the white color graphic (looks like letter "d") on the bow near the waterline in the photo above.  The three circles with the "x's in them show the location of the bow thrusters.  If the bulb was ever damaged, it MIGHT be necessary to put the ship in drydock for repairs.  Some ignorant pleasure boaters are prone to do some of the stupidest things (alcohol is usually involved) while a cruise ship is in harbor.  Better safe than sorry.

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I made the mistake of asking a cruise director that same question

 

he said it is a very strong cable that is used by a fire boat to pull the ship away from the dock if it catches on fire to get it away from the other ships and pier.

 

He said it is so strong that it enables the fire/ tug boat to snap the mooring lines.


 

Happy cruising 🌊🚢🇺🇸🌅

 

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For those interested, the forum to which the OP referred was probably this one:

 

https://forums.ybw.com/index.php?threads/cruise-ships-flags.255079/

 

Good points made on either side of the argument, but I'm inclined to go with the fire wire explanation. While there might be some utility for a warning flag for ships at anchor, I doubt that many boats are going to require a warning not to pass under the bow when the ship is docked, but the majority of times that I've seen this flag deployed, it has been with a docked ship. JMO

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