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Jamaica - Flags for Use at Sea

Last modified: 2021-04-03 by rob raeside
Keywords: jamaica | coast guard |
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Coast Guard Ensign

[Ensign of Jamaica] image by Željko Heimer, 26 Febuary 2002

Proportions about 4:9.
Source: Flag table in Jane's Fighting Ships, and Smith: Flags Through the Ages and Across the World [smi75b].
Jan Oskar Engene, 18 September 1996

Coast Guard Ensign and Jack (same as national flag) photographs in use on several ships/boats at <>
Željko Heimer, 23 February 2002

According to l'Album 2000 [pay00] - Coast-Guard Ensign (---/-S- 1:2) - White ensign (with red St. George cross) and the national flag in the canton. Following the British tradition I guess it is safe to suppose that the same construction details are used here as in the British White Ensign - the width of the cross is 2/15 of the hoist (i.e. hoist is divided 13+4+13). Red used should match the UJ red (somewhat darker then "medium" red). Regarding the usage symbols (though this is a fuzzy thing, of course) I would guess that the Coast Guard is closes thing to the navy that Jamaica has, and that we could maybe safely designate this as ---/--W, but it is a minor question. Smith [smi82] indeed mark it so, but it also giver ratio  as 4:9 !?
Željko Heimer, 26 February 2002

Maritime Police Ensign

According to [pay00] - Maritime Police Ensign (---/-S- 1:2) - Blue ensign with the national flag in canton and a white emblem in the middle of the fly half.
Željko Heimer, 26 February 2002

Royal Jamaica Yacht Club

[Ensign of Jamaica] image by Clay Moss, 11 June 2019
current ensign

[Ensign of Jamaica] image by Clay Moss, 11 June 2019

[Ensign of Jamaica] image by Clay Moss, 11 June 2019
potential future ensign

[Ensign of Jamaica] image by Clay Moss, 11 June 2019

Royal Jamaica Yacht Club bulletin, with explanation on burgees and officers pennants at <>.
Željko Heimer, 23 February 2002

The special ensign of the Royal Jamaica Yacht Club is a Blue Ensign with, in the fly,  a crown above a yellow crocodile facing the hoist.
David Prothero, 29 October 2002

If you follow the link to the RJYC site above, you'll see that use of the RJYC ensign is extremely rare, requiring British rather than Jamaican registration and a personal warrant authorizing use of the flag.  The newsletter linked above says no one at present meets those criteria (my interpolations in square brackets):
"THE CLUB'S PRIVILEGED BLUE ENSIGN can only be flown on a vessel by an owner with a Warrant from the Admiralty [presumably now British MOD].  The last holder was the late Alastair Wilson on his COCOBAN. The Warrant is issued to Members who are owners of a British [not Jamaican] registered Ship (or Yacht). It is an anomaly but so it go!
One or two members have flown a Jamaican Blue Ensign as Serving Officers in the JDF Coastguard Reserve. I do not know about that privilege. My effort in the 70's to get approval of a [Jamaican] Blue Ensign for the Club fell on rocky soil. Problem seemed to be who would give approval! My boat CHEN flies the [British] Blue Ensign of the RORC [Royal Ocean Racing Club] for which I hold a warrant. That privilege will end when I complete a transfer to the Jamaica Register of Ships later this year."
Joe McMillan, 29 October 2002

Above my renditions of the current British blue ensign and the burgee or the Royal Jamaican Yacht Club.
As you can see, I have enclosed three ensigns. Of the three, the upper should be considered current while the second can certainly be considered a variant. A key member of the RJYC, (who has been in the application process for a warrant), has an 18x36 inch sample of the ensign showing the alligator with a curved tail and was kind enough to send me a photograph. If the warrant is ever approved, it will mark the first time that an RJYC yacht has worn the ensign since the Cocoban.   Meanwhile, there is a good bit of evidence that the ensign was also produced in the past with a straight tailed alligator. Also, both varieties of ensign would have displayed the Tudor crown before 1952.
The third ensign represents what the RJYC ensign could potentially look like in the future as the Maritime Authority of Jamaica has been encouraged to adopt a more "commonwealth" flag and ensign system as it were. Such an act might bringing into existence a modern Jamaican blue ensign and perhaps even a red ensign as well as paving the way for special yacht ensigns.
History: The Jamaica Yacht Club was formed in 1884 by a group of enthusiastic sailors. On the 29th of November 1889, the Club was granted a Royal Charter by Queen Victoria following a visit by Prince Edward, then the Prince of Wales, who later became Edward VII.
Until 1962, when Jamaica became an independent nation within the Commonwealth, the Commodores were all Governors of Jamaica, whether or not they were yachtsmen. In 1963 the Commodore was chosen for the first time from the membership of the Club.
Website at <>.
Clay Moss, 1 October 2007

The following must have been the pre-Royal version of the burgee as seen in the ‘American Yacht List’ of 1891 (select ‘FLAGSCLUB’ (Introduction) at <> then enter page ‘39’): white burgee, blue cross throughout, small red lozenge in the cross’s centre. 
Jan Mertens, 1 October 2007

Montego Bay Yacht Club

[Ensign of Jamaica] image by Clay Moss, 1 June 2005

Here's a rough image of what I believe to possibly be the red ensign of the Montego Bay Yacht Club. Would that be correct?
Notice that this is the most modern version of Jamaica's Coat of Arms with embellishments and English motto.
Clay Moss, 1 June 2005

There is no record of the Montego Bay Yacht Club having ever been granted a special ensign. It is probably just an unauthorised red version of the Jamaica Blue Ensign.
David Prothero, 1 June 2005

West Indies Yacht Club

The information on this club is all sourced in the two links given below. However, we have been unable to find any material evidence of the existence of this club beyond the webpage, and the current satellite image from Google Earth shows no infrastructure or marina at the location given. The reliability of this club is doubtful.

The Maritime Authority of Jamaica has advised us that "the claim would be considered to be a scam."

[West Indies Yacht Club]image by Rob Raeside, 5 October 2018

Estb: 1885. Location: Old Harbour, St. Catherine, Jamaica.
Burgee: Pennant approx. 2:3 (web image). Vertically divided white and blue with a red Order of Christ Grand Cross in the canton.
"The 12th December 2015, the General Committee adopted the new version of the West Indies Yacht Club's burgee. The Order of Christ Grand Cross was the same as the one displayed on Christopher Columbus sails showing the connection with the great explorers of the past and the blue color stands for the warm Caribbean sea.

"The Club is home of the second largest Caribbean fleet of classic sailing vessels (built before 1939). It has about 360 members (Dec 2015). It is also the home of one of the largest marine photographs collection in the world, dating from the early days of the art with 19th Century photos taken by the French Louis Daguerre, possibly the only surviving samples in the world."
Source: accessed 14 September 2018,

"Founded in 1885 in Kingston, Jamaica for Navy personnel based in the British West Indies, The British West Indies Yacht Club is the ancestor of the present West Indies Yacht Club . . . In 1938, to improve its financial position, the club opened its doors to non-navy members and took the name of the British West Indies Service Club. The Club became dormant during World War Two . . . In 1963, just after Jamaica became independent, a Royal Warrant was granted to the Club to fly the Jamaica Red Ensign. Shortly afterwards the Club would [become] almost extinct with most of the Navy personnel returning to Britain, and would survive with a handful of devoted members, meeting on an irregular basis . . . Having been maintained active by a group of yachting enthusiast willing to keep traditional yachting spirit alive, the club is refunded under the name The West Indies Yacht Club. The Clubhouse [was] purchased back in 2003 and restoration work began in 2013. In 2015, having secured a membership of 360 yachtsmen, the Club is officially incorporated to meet 21st Century business requirements."
Source: accessed 15 September 2018,
Peter Edwards, 5 October 2018