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Power Squadron Flags (U.S.)


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[U.S. Power Squadrons flag] by Rick Wyatt, 4 March 1997

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The flag of the United States Power Squadrons is 13 VERTICAL stripes of BLUE and white, with a red canton displaying the 13 star/fouled anchor emblem seen in the yacht ensign.
Nick Artimovich, 23 January 1997

The U.S. Power Squadrons are local associations of private boaters for the promotion of safer boating through educational and awareness programs. The USPS is not an official body, although the squadrons do work in cooperation with the Coast Guard and Coast Guard Auxiliary to promote common objectives. Boats commanded by members of the USPS may fly the USPS ensign, normally at the starboard yardarm or spreader. Unlike the yacht ensign, the USPS ensign is not recognized even by custom as a substitute for the national ensign, although some people use it that way. The USPS ensign is a registered trademark of the U.S. Power Squadrons.
Joe McMillan, 23 August 2000

I have had an interesting exchange of information with the Assistant Chairman of the Flag and Etiquette Committee of the United States Power Squadrons regarding the use and history of the USPS Ensign. Below is part of that exchange.

The ensign of USPS was designed to be (in essence) the "reverse" of the United States yacht ensign which is the "Betsy Ross" flag with the fouled anchor inside the circle of 13 stars. Both the colors and the direction of the stripes are reversed. The count of everything remains the same as also of course the position of the canton.

It was designed by then Chief Commander Roger Upton (the first Chief Cdr). It was patented (a so called design patent) in 1914. Design patents last for only 14 years. However it is copyrighted (a so called common law copyright) as of the day it was created. Copyrights are not "granted"; they are the right of anyone, personal or corporate, to one's own intellectual property.

USPS began in 1914. Before that date it was a loose confederation of power squadrons groups within individual yacht clubs. In that period, the individual squadrons flew a distinguishing pennant in conjunction with their yacht club's burgee. It wasn't an ensign, but was a distinguishing item.

In U.S. waters it may be flown in lieu of the U.S. ensign in the several appropriate places. These are the flag (stern) staff, the peak of the aftermost gaff on a gaff rigged sailing vessel, or at the leech of the aftermost sail (current policy allows attachment to the backstay as an acceptable alternate.) In international waters, it is normally flown at the starboard spreader or similar location.

It is not to be used as substitute for the U.S. ensign on land. For that matter, we prefer it not to be so used on the water. We also do not like the double hoisting of the USPS ensign, or any other flag below the U.S. ensign. I recognize that it is done and by many otherwise responsible authorities; we just feel it is not proper.

Nathan Bliss and L.G. Ward, 30 October 1997