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Even in these days of radio and satellite communications, the U.S. Navy uses the international alphabet flags, numeral pennants, numeral flags, and special flags and pennants for visual signaling. These signal flags are used to communicate while maintaining radio silence. Navy Signalmen transmit messages by hoisting a flag or a series of flags on a halyard. Each side of the ship has halyards and a “flag bag”, containing a full set of signal flags. Signals unique to the Navy are used when communicating with other U.S. Navy or allied forces. When communicating with all other vessels, the International Code of Signals is used. The code/answer pennant precedes all signals in international code.

FlagNamePhonetic PronunciationNavy Meaning
AlfaAL-fahI have a diver down; keep well clear at slow speed.
BravoBRAH-vohI am taking in, discharging, or carrying dangerous cargo.
CharlieCHAR-lee“Yes” or “affirmative”.
DeltaDELL-tahI am maneuvering with difficulty; keep clear.
EchoECK-ohI am directing my course to starboard.
FoxtrotFOKS-trotI am disabled; communicate with me.On aircraft carriers: Flight Operations underway
GolfGOLFI require a pilot.
Hotelhoh-TELLI have a pilot on board.
IndiaIN-dee-ahComing alongside.
JulietJEW-lee-ettI am on fire and have dangerous cargo; keep clear.
KiloKEY-lohI wish to communicate with you.
LimaLEE-mahYou should stop your vessel immediately.
MikeMIKEMy vessel is stopped; making no way.
Novemberno-VEM-burNo or negative.
OscarOSS-kurMan overboard.
Papapah-PAHAll personnel return to ship; proceeding to sea (Inport).
Quebeckay-BECKBoat recall; all boats return to ship.
RomeoROH-me-ohPreparing to replenish (At sea). Ready duty ship (Inport).
Sierrasee-AIR-ahConducting flag hoist drill.
TangoTANG-goDo not pass ahead of me.
UniformYOU-nee-formYou are running into danger.
VictorVIK-tahI require assistance.
WhiskeyWISS-keeI require medical assistance.
XrayECKS-rayStop carrying out your intentions and watch for my signals.
YankeeYANG-keeShip has visual communications duty.
ZuluZOO-looI require a tug.
Code/AnswerCode or AnswerFlag that follows is from the International Code of Signals.
First substituteFirst subAbsence of flag officer or unit commander (Inport).
Second substituteSecond subAbsence of chief of staff (Inport).
Third substituteThird subAbsence of commanding officer (Inport).
OneWUNNumeral one.
TwoTOONumeral two.
ThreeTREENumeral three.
FourFOW-erNumeral four.
FiveFIFENumeral five.
SixSICKSNumeral six.
SevenSEV-enNumeral seven.
EightAITNumeral eight.
NineNIN-erNumeral nine.
ZeroZEE-rohNumeral zero.
Pennant onePEN-ant WUNPennant one.
Pennant twoPEN-ant TOOPennant two.
Pennant threePEN-ant TREEPennant three.
Pennant fourPEN-ant FOW-erPennant four.
Pennant fivePEN-ant FIFEPennant five.
Pennant sixPEN-ant SICKSPennant six.
Pennant sevenPEN-ant SEV-enPennant seven.
Pennant eightPEN-ant AITPennant eight.
Pennant NinePEN-ant NIN-erPennant nine.
Pennant zeroPEN-ant ZEE-rohPennant zero.