U.S. Power Squadrons

United States Power Squadrons Ensign

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About the United States Power Squadrons

The U.S. Power Squadrons are associations of private boaters for the promotion of safer boating through educational and awareness programs.  They originated in the power squadron founded within the Boston Yacht Club in 1913.  Boats commanded by members of the USPS may fly the USPS ensign, which is a registered trademark of the U.S. Power Squadrons.  It was adopted by the USPS and registered with the U.S. Patent Office in 1916.  Simultaneously, the Power Squadrons attempted to obtain statutory endorsement of the use of this flag in lieu of the national ensign, much as the yacht ensign had come to be used.  The organization argued that a special flag was required to indicate boats whose crews were specially qualified to render assistance to the Department of Commerce's boating safety efforts.  This effort was strongly opposed by both the Navy and Treasury Departments, which held that no flag but the Stars and Stripes should be flown at the stern or peak--the customary locations for flying the ensign identifying a vessel's nationality.  Certainly no private organization's flag should be granted recognition equal to that of the national flag.  Finally, the Treasury objected to the similarity between the USPS flag and the Coast Guard ensign, with their cantons and vertical stripes.  As a result, Congress never approved the Power Squadrons' request and the flag remains only that of the Power Squadrons as a private organization.

The preferred point of hoist for the USPS ensign is the starboard spreader of a boat's mainmast.  USPS rules also permit it to be flown at the stern staff, peak of the gaff, or leech of the mainsail, but to put it at any of these spots is to usurp the place of honor which is properly occupied only by the national ensign or, by custom, the yacht ensign when in U.S. waters.  The USPS ensign is no more a recognized sign of U.S. nationality now than it was in 1916 when the Navy and Treasury so strongly objected to its being used as one.

In addition to the flag of the national organization, individual squadrons may have squadron burgees, equivalent to yacht club burgees, which can be flown both day and night at the same points of hoist normally used for club burgees.

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Officers' Flags in the U.S. Power Squadrons


National Chief Commander

District Commander

Squadron Commander

National Vice Commander

District Lieutenant Commander

Squadron Lieutenant Commander

National Rear Commander

District First Lieutenant

Squadron First Lieutenant

Staff Captain

Port Captain

Squadron Fleet Captain

National Flag Lieutenant

District Flag Lieutenant

Squadron Flag Lieutenant

National Commander's Aide or Chaplain

District Commander's Aide or Chaplain

Squadron Lieutenant

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