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R. Dale Flick 11-12-2007 02:46 PM

'Flag Etiquette on DELTA QUEEN/'Snake Flag.'
Steamboating colleagues:
Just catching up with postings on the web. Lance larsen's deleted 'AMIE Call' with references to certain flags/banners etc. on the DELTA QUEEN at present got me to thinking. The DQ, being a vessel under power, is indeed entitled to fly/display a 'house flag' of her present owner being either square or triangular pennant ['pennon']. 'House flags' can/have been flown from the mainmast or another short mast at the bow. Flags by ancient tradition can be: Engisns, Jacks, Rank flags, Pennants, House flags, Burgee, Citations, Signal flags. The American flag's proper position on any vessel is traditionally flown from the stern or a gaff rigged over the stern. American flags can also be flown from other masts, rigging as has been done on the DELTA QUEEN or other river vessels. The rule that no other flag should be flown above the national ensign doesn't apply on a vessel with the stern appearing flag always being in a superior position to any other. The 'Union Jack'--blue field with 50 stars, is always displayed on a forward jackstaff.

A 'celebration' pennant [*pennon] can be very long or trianglular with 'tails' at the end to mark a launching or christening; 'fast trip' or sea voyage, meritorious service etc.

Signal flags representing each numeral and letter of the alphabet are still used today. Modern communications between vessels have in many respects relegated the signal flags to something more for decoration. Yet, there was a day when even a river steamer landing in certain inland ports were expected to be 'properly dressed' with notes being filed at the local Custom House or port captain if one wasn't. A big flap has of late erupted in certain U.S. deep sea ports with foreign flag vessels arriving and refusing to display the American flag in the proper manner.

The mention of the "flag with a snake" flying on the DELTA QUEEN could be solved if we had a picture posted. All I can think is this, possibly, the old 'Gadsen Flag' of 1776 bearing the coiled snake on a yellow field with the saying "Don't Tread On Me." [?] If so, then again there's no real argument.

R. Dale Flick

David Dewey 11-12-2007 03:30 PM

I tihink they were referring to the stylized Majestic swan logo.
David D.

David Vrooman 11-12-2007 03:37 PM

Dale --

The "snake flag" reference is to MAL's silly new corporate logo. The stylized figure is supposed to be a swan, but in fact it looks like a snake. On our August cruise, "The Serpent" -- the logo symbolic of the company -- was the source of much sarcastic merriment.

Dave V.

R. Dale Flick 11-12-2007 04:09 PM

Hi, David & David:
Thanks for the clarification on MAL's corporate logo. Having not seen what people were talking about, I could only think and go 'Hmmmmm' on that one. So, 'The Serpent' is known and 'the rough places have been made straight.' All of this gets more exciting by the day and I'm tingling all over in wonder at to what 'they' will do next. Keep us posted.

R. Dale Flick

Darin Schuld 11-12-2007 05:27 PM

MAL logo
[URL=""]Here is a link[/URL] to the Majestic America logo that looks like a snake. It is supposed to be a swan, but many think it looks like a snake. You can read about the company's "signature mark", by [URL=""]clicking here[/URL].

Marian Nusekabel 11-12-2007 08:03 PM

On July 22nd I wrote a letter to the President of Majestic David Giersdorf telling him I thought the Majestic Signature Mark looked more like a Serpent rather then a Trumpeter Swan. I suggested that a few strategically placed lines in the wing and a little adjustment to the tail would make it look more like a swan.
Well a letter dated September 4th from Brett Carnahan, Special Advisor in the Office of the President, thanked me for my comments and my questions about the retirement of the Delta Queen. Nothing about the Trumpeter Swan! I was also told if I have any additional questions, comments, or concerns, please do not hesitate to write them again. Why waste my time on evasive responses!!!!
Hope they read your comments, I guess I'm not the only one seeing snakes.
Marian Nusekabel

Bruno Krause 11-12-2007 08:30 PM

Dale, just so you can visualize it, there are eight (8) flags on the roof of the DQ, four on the edge of the Sun Deck starboard roof, and four on the edge of the port side. The boat has always had American flags on the posts, put there every sunrise, taken down every evening.

Up until sometime after our March cruise, that is... The first two American flags, the ones closest to the pilot house, starboard and port sides, were replaced with "Majestic America Line" flags in maroon and dark blue with the MAL swan logo, if I remember correctly in early October they were really dirty with soot and looked awful. I never saw them clean but I honestly tried to visualize what they would have looked like new, I just couldn't see the point...

The logo does look like a snake...

R. Dale Flick 11-12-2007 11:25 PM

Hi, to all of the above who've posted to 'enlighten' me on the MAL logos:
WOW! you all responded to my 'flag, ensign' posting on not only the DQ but vessels in general. Guess what I posted is the old U.S. Navy coming out in me. Shows you how out of the 'loop' I am here. Much appreciated. Back some months ago I did a posting commenting on the new MAL logo as resembling the SWAN-HELLENIC logo for their ship and classic journeys to the Mediterrean world and other ports. Frank Prudent and I even discussed it somewhat off of this web.

What's in a flag/pennant? Plenty. Centuries back when many were illiterate they indicated who was what and when. Being on the then new MISSISSIPPI QUEEN for her initial shake-down cruise, July, 1976, I seem to recall an impressive long pennant ['Pennon'] mounted on the very top of the boat streaming in the wind. There may be pictures of it here in my junk to dig out and review. Any of you out there around at the time--or on the MQ--recall that long streamer? Those of us there then from the very beginning of the MQ from her initial hull plate laying, launching, christening to the first trip are a dwindling group now much worse for the wear. Wonder what ever happend to that MQ pennon? Well, what do I know?

R. Dale Flick

Judy Patsch 11-13-2007 03:55 PM

"Those of us there then from the very beginning of the MQ from her initial hull plate laying, launching, christening to the first trip are a dwindling group now much worse for the wear." You're in better shape than the MQ, Dale!

R. Dale Flick 11-13-2007 04:21 PM

Hi, Judy:
That was a 'goodie' for sure. I sure at times feel "the worse for wear." You know how all us old retired school teachers get bedraggled with time.

Wanted to compliment you on the excellent array of photos you contributed to Steve/Barb Huffman's 'Excursion Boat Calendar, 2008." Three that caught my eye are the J.S. of 1901; W.W. of 1882; and SIDNEY of 1880. Great collection and thanks for including in the calendar.

I'm 'sure' I recall that long 'delivery pennon' flown from the top of the MISSISSIPPI QUEEN when she first landed here in Cincinnati, July, 1976. Somebody else out there in steamboat land around at the time may recall it. Sure like to know where it ended up.

R. Dale Flick

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