Rules for MO divers and boaters
Thanks to attorney Christopher B. Hunter of Granite City, IL, here is the Missouri statute and regulations relating to dive flags. This was current through February 28, 2010.
The following comes from Vernon’s Annotated Missouri Statutes, Title XIX. Motor Vehicles, Watercraft and Aviation; Chapter 306: Watercraft Regulation and Licensing — State Water Patrol; Water Safety Regulation and State Water Patrol.
306.217. Scuba diver’s marker, flag required — flag described — boats to avoid — penalty
1. Persons engaged in the aquatic sports known as skin or scuba diving shall mark their general location within or under the water with a red flag with a diagonal white bar to be displayed on the water or from a boat or raft in the vicinity of the diver’s location. All diving shall be within a fifty-yard radius of said flag. No warning flag shall be placed as to impede the normal flow of motorboat traffic.
2. No boat operator shall knowingly operate within fifty yards of such flag.
3. The Missouri state water patrol shall prescribe and define the size and method of locating the warning flag mentioned in subsection 1 of this section.
4. Any person who violates subsection 1 or 2 of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be punished as provided by law.
Based on this authority, here is an excerpt from the Missouri Code of State Regulations; Title 11 – Department of Public Safety; Division 80 – Missouri State Water Patrol; Chapter 2 – Diver’s Flag Regulations
11 CSR 80-2.010 Diver’s Flag
PURPOSE: The Missouri State Water Patrol shall establish safety standards for divers for the public health and welfare. This rule establishes diver’s flag regulations.
(1) The flag shall be rectangular and a minimum of twelve inches by sixteen inches (12 16). The flag shall be red in color except for a two-inch (2) white diagonal stripe running from top left to lower right corner.
(2) All diving shall be within a fifty (50)-yard radius of the flag.
(3) No boat operator shall knowingly operate within fifty (50) yards of the flag.
(4) No diving flag shall be placed so as to impede the normal flow of motorboat traffic unless by special permission of the Missouri State Water Patrol. Special permission may be obtained by writing to the Missouri State Water Patrol, P.O. Box 1368, Jefferson City, MO 65102-1368, fifteen (15) days before the water activity.
(5) Any diver not complying with this law or any boat operator within fifty (50) yards of the diver flag shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be punished by law as provided by section 306.217(4), RSMo 1986.
(6) Flags must be displayed so that the top of the flag shall be a minimum of three feet (3) above the water if they are displayed on any type of buoyant device with the exception of a boat or a raft; then displayed so as to be visible at a three hundred sixty degree (360) angle.
(7) The flag shall be exhibited only during diving operation.
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