Personal signal flags / plaques for CYC Members

Periodically I get asked questions about the personal signal flags or plaques that hang in CYC Belmont Station (near the bar) and in Monroe (in the Captain’s cabin though they may be moving to the Mac bar).

So here’s the deal with the plaques. These are ‘private signals’ that boaters used to fly back in the day before cell phones made it easy to figure out who was on which boat. From an etiquette guide:

Owner’s Private Signal: This is a personal flag, often called house flag. It is usually swallow-tailed, designed by the individual owner to depict a personal interest, hobby, family tradition, initials, or the like. A private signal should be a unique design and always in good taste. It should not include or be the ensign of a foreign country, nor duplicate a design previously adopted by someone else. On a mastless vessel, fly your private signal from the bow staff. A single-masted vessel may wear it at the truck of the mast (replacing any other signal normally worn at that point) or from a spreader halyard.

All CYC members are entitled to have their personal signal flag hang at both stations as far as I can tell (I’ve never seen anything saying you needed to own a boat or anything like that). Here’s how to get them made.

So the first step is to get a design in place and produce the art files needed (computer files – usually .TIFF, .PSD or really high res JPG). If you or a friend can do this, great, but i hired a company to do it online, for about $100.00 as I recall. I gave them the concept and they had a designer come up with some drafts. I used this outfit – – but there are plenty of others that do similar work. It’s an easy way to get it done.

This is the hardest part, but also the most fun, in terms of designing it. Remember, the flag is a personal, private signal, not a boat signal. So you could use the logo from your boat, but you don’t necessarily have to, and a lot of people wouldn’t – they’d do something that plays off your name, or some other hobby or something. If two family members are both members of the Club, technically they should have separate personal signals, but in practice this is not always done (see e.g. The O’Neills or Miareckis).

The Gallaghers do have a flag with our penguin on it, but that would follow us to any boat we ever owned, not just Endeavour. So take that into account when designing it. The art should be personal to you.

Once you have the art file, you can reach out to CYC member Don Glasell Don will actually print the plaques in the right size and format for hanging in both Belmont and Monroe. There’s a cost – $150 or so I think. He can get extras if you want. Don will get them to you, then you give one to Dwight and one to Jill to hang up.

Please reach out to me with any questions.

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