Virginia Dive Flags

Rules for VA divers and boaters

Thanks to Don Burke for gathering the following information for us.

For Divers in Virginia

The Code of Virginia, § 29.1-734.1. Skin and scuba divers, states:

A. No person shall engage in skin diving or scuba diving from a boat in the waters of this Commonwealth which are open to boating, or assist in such diving, without displaying a diver’s flag from a mast, buoy, or other structure at the place of diving; and no person shall display such flag except when diving operations are under way or in preparation or display a diver’s flag in a location which will unreasonably obstruct vessels from making legitimate navigational use of the water.

B. The diver’s flag shall be square, not less than twelve inches on a side, and shall be of red background with a diagonal white stripe, of a width equal to one fifth of the flag’s height, running from the upper corner adjacent to the mast downward to the opposite outside corner.

“Waters of the Commonwealth” is defined in :

The term “waters of the Commonwealth” as used in this chapter shall mean: (a) Any stream or that portion of any stream in this Commonwealth which prior to June 21, 1932, has been declared navigable by any unrepealed statute of this Commonwealth, or (b) any stream or that portion of any stream in this Commonwealth, the bed of which is owned by the Commonwealth, or (c) those parts of streams or other bodies of water in this Commonwealth which either in their natural or improved condition, notwithstanding interruptions between the navigable parts of such streams or waters by falls, shallows, or rapids, compelling land carriage, are used or suitable for use for the transportation of persons or property in interstate or foreign commerce, including therein all such interrupting falls, shallows or rapids, and also any stream or part thereof in this Commonwealth other than those above mentioned in this subdivision in which the construction of any dam or works as authorized by this chapter would affect the interests of interstate or foreign commerce, or (d) that portion of any river or stream flowing between the high-water mark on the Virginia shore and the low-water mark when such low-water mark constitutes the boundary line between Virginia and another state.

For Boaters in Virginia

The Code of Virginia, § 29.1-734.1. Skin and scuba divers, states:

No operator of a vessel under way in the waters of this Commonwealth shall permit such vessel to approach closer than twenty-five yards to any structure from which a diver’s flag is then being displayed.

Happy Diving,
Chris Whitten
chris-(@) (remove the hyphens and parentheses) Webmaster

P.S. The information above was as complete and up-to-date at the time as I could make it. It should not be construed as providing legal advice. You should conduct your own legal research or contact an attorney.