Flag Types - Different Types of Flags

Flags can be of different kinds and used for different purposes. Here are some of them:

  • National flags are one of the symbols of a country. Evolved from ship flags in the early 17th century. There are three subtypes of the national flags: state flag, which can be flown only by government agencies; civil flag, which can be used by anyone and war flag that is used by military organizations.
  • International flags are flags that symbolize union of any type between nations.
  • Maritime flags are the flags used at sea. There are national flags (so called ensigns) and they can be state ensigns that are used by government ships, civil ensigns that are flown by private vessels and war ensigns used by naval vessels. They show country of origin of the vessel. At the sea are also used signaling flags for conveying messages. They can spell words letter by letter, they can be combined to convey more complex message or they can each carry one complex message. House flags show which company owns the ship. Yacht club burgee identify to which yacht club yacht belongs. Courtesy flag is a flag of a country through which waters the ship is sailing. Pennants cans mark commissioning of the ship, starting of a religious service on the vessel, presence of senior officer on the vessel or a time for drinks on a ship.
Historical Flag
  • Sport flags are used in sports as a method of signalization. They are used in football for signaling potential breaking of the rules, in racing (auto, motorcycle and yacht) to signal start and end of the race , disqualifications or warnings of obstacles on the race track, in golf to mark holes, in diving to indicate locations of underwater scuba divers, in “capture the flag” and many other sports.
  • Political flags can represent political parties. Some national flags are or were evolved from political flags of parties that came to power.
  • Swimming flags are used to mark the limits of the bathing area on a beach. They are diagonaly divided into two parts: red (bottom left part) and yellow (upper right part).
  • Railway flags are used on the railroads for signalization.
  • Semaphore flags are also used for signalization. They are used by signalmen at sea or on land, who use two flags (one in each hand) in spell words by changing position of flags.
Fishermrnd Flags

Flags can also be differentiated by shape and the way of hoistening. They can be square (like flags of Switzerland and the Vatican City and maritime signalization flags), rectangular (the most of the other national), triangle, swallowtail, burgee (triangle with a swallowtail like yacht flaghs), swallowtail with tongue, double triangle (flag of Nepal is example of this flag), pointed, shield, rounded, square with schwenkel, pennant (with and without swallowtail).

Some flags can be vertical. Vertical versions of national flags are usual in some countries where relatively brisk wind needed to display horizontal flags is not common there. Other vertical flags are used in advertising or for other decorative purposes.