10 Best Dive Flags for Snorkel and Scuba in 2020
With safety as priority, we went through top reviewed snorkel gear in the market, and compiled this short list of the best dive flags for snorkeling for you in 2020.
- SeaGator Snorkeling, Dive Flag >> 20"X 24" with removable stiffening pole
- ScubaMax Inflatable Float and Dive Flag >> 12"x15" PVC dive flag, line loop on the bottom
- New Wave Swim Buoy >> light and visible float for safe training
- Seasense Nylon Diver Down 3 Tier Flag >> 20"X 24" with 2 grommets and removable 3 piece fiberglass stiffener
- JCS Foam Dive Float >> 14"x18" nylon dive flag, orange caps
Did you know that Florida requires divers to prominently display divers-down flags or buoys where they dive? (dive flag law - 2014) And in Hawaii, the law requires that scuba divers or snorkelers display a diver-down flag to mark their diving or snorkeling area.
The Best Dive Flag for Snorkel and Scuba
Dive flags for snorkeling should be durable and be able to withstand the elements of nature as it is often exposed to it. The SeaGator is one of the most durable diver equipment out in the market. It is made from a highly durable nylon webbing that is strong enough to withstand the dominant forces of nature like wind and waves.
Its surrounding corners are reinforced with vinyl adding more strength, durability and lasting use. It has 2 eyelets on the corner that is made out of high-grade brass grommets where you can use it for tying the flag to its pole or any designated area. It bears the standard red with a white diagonal line that does not easily fade even if used for a prolonged period of time.
Finding a dive flag that delivers the perfect balance between value and money is far from easy; luckily, though, there is SeaGator. This Florida-legal flag is a must-have for any diving expedition. It doesn’t come with a pole or float, but it’s compatible with most buoyant warning systems, so you can let any watercraft know there is a diver in the water.
This multi-purpose flag is really easy to assemble and use on a boat, float, or off the beach.
Made from durable nylon, it showcases a vinyl-reinforced structure and brass grommets for enhanced durability. A collapsible stiffening pole ensures your flag stays fully displayed even in still weather conditions.
Compact enough to take on all your adventures, it also includes two zip ties and has the regulation size of most states and territories – 20 by 24 inches. Another thing we like is that it comes with a 100% money-back guarantee, so you can buy it in all peace of mind.
When fully set, the SeaGator snorkel flag will stand in place and is highly visible in the distance. SeaGator itself has a diagonal sleeve where you can insert a stiffening pole, which upon installation, will make the flag in full display. When not in use, the stiffening pole can be retracted since it is collapsible. You have to take note that the stiffening poles are only for the flag itself and requires a separate pole, primarily when used with a floatation device. You also have to take note that there are no side sleeves where you can insert a host pole. Instead, the scuba diving flag can be mounted to a receiving pole by tying it through its brass grommets. This design is intended to be like this so that it can cater to various environment making it a highly versatile divers flag in terms of usage. It can either be set on the boat, at the beach or attached to a float to function as a floating divers flag. Literally, it can be set to any host pole.
Aside from boat restriction in relation to its distance to a diver flag, certain areas require a minimum size for a flag. Although small and compact, the SeaGator diving flag passes the requirements, particularly in Florida Keys or Naples, which are very popular snorkeling destinations. When fully set with its collapsible poles attached, the SeaGator have a dimension of 20 x 24 Inch (50 x 61 centimeters).
Perfect for all conditions and situations, the SeaGator is one only one of the most versatile, it is perhaps the best dive flag on the market.
The SalviMar covered torpedo buoy is another product that brings excellent value for money, but you might have to struggle a bit to make it work.
Starting off with the pros, we like that it’s covered in fabric and comes with two flags. One is a standard-colored red and white dive flag; the other is a nice beach flag showcasing a mix of white and blue.
The inflatable buoy packs compactly and is perfect for travel. It fits into a carry-on and occupies a truly little space in the luggage.
We also like that you can use the buoy with other flags, such as the SeaGator flag above. Indeed, that’s importan because the SalviMar flags are really small and don’t comply with the regulations in Florida.
Due to the lightweight structure of the buoy, it’s also quite hard to keep it upright without fixing a weight under it. This isn’t hard, but some may still find it annoying that they can’t use the product straight out of the box.
The rope also leaves a bit to be desired. It’s long enough but rather thin; thus, it tangles easily, and you’ll have to work out a way to prevent it.
Sure, these are all small annoyances rather than real issues, and we still believe it’s an excellent buy.
DiveSmart proposes a different type of buoy float that’s apparently more stable than the SalviMar above.
This inflatable diver buoy has a smaller, rounded shape that’s easier to keep upright in the water. Instead of fixing weights under it, you can simply fill its bottom with water to balance it. Besides this feature, the buoy is also easily visible thanks to its red, internationally-recognized color.
Float apart; the DiveSmart also comes with an internationally-recognized red and white dive flag. Measuring 12 by 11 inches, it might be small according to Florida’s regulations, but it’s visible enough to use in other states.
A nice thing about the flag is the reinforcement that prevents it from folding or flopping in the wind. This improves its visibility on the surface, so all boats and watercrafts will know you’re there.
Included in the pack is also a 100-foot high-visibility finger spool dive reel made from ABS with neon yellow line and double-ended brass hook.
This reliable kit is ideal for first-time and experienced divers alike. It packs really compactly and is ideal to use in busy boating areas, marinas, or for shallow drift dives. Providing constant surface signaling and coming at an attractive price point, this buoy float is another excellent choice.
The Palantic dive flag kit from Scuba Choice is similar to the SalviMar, in that it comes with an almost identical torpedo buoy and smaller flag. It doesn’t have two flags, and the one included measures 7.5 x 7.5 inches.
You can easily replace it with a bigger flag, though. The buoy is made from high-quality PVC material covered in 420D nylon. It measures 16 by 8 inches, a great size to be easily visible in the water.
While it does tend to flip over when the flag is fixed on its top, three Velcro straps and loops at the ends give you plenty of possibilities to attach ballasts to the bottom. It doesn’t have a pouch for sand or water; thus, you’ll have to find a different arrangement.
Included in the kit is also high-quality orange string you can attach to your diving gear, so you can make sure the buoy is always signaling your accurate position.
The buoy is almost flat when deflated; it might be a pain to inflate compared to other buoys, but it boasts a durable construction. No doubt, a great dive flag for the money.
Trident is a renowned manufacturer of swimming and diving gear; among its many products, one that stands out is the Aqua Deluxe flag and float combo. This signaling device comes with a few advantages compared to its competitors.
On the one hand, it has a wider floating base, which makes for a more stable float. A ballast at the bottom of the buoy prevents it from rolling over when you mount the flag, so you won’t have to worry about anything when you’re a few feet under the water surface.
The flag is not the biggest out there, but it’s easily visible from afar. It has the standard red with white stripe design, while the yellow base of the float also ensures that everyone can see you’re there.
A thing missing compared to other kits is a rope reel. That’s not a real drawback, as dive ropes are readily available from many manufacturers. Not having a rope also means you can pick the desired rope thickness and quality.
The system breaks down easily for easier transport and storage. The lead weighted base adds a bit of extra weight, but the unit is still relatively lightweight. Just what you need for carefree diving.
This dive flag from Scuba Max doesn’t really impress with flawless lines or outstanding quality, but it’s cheap, and it does its job right.
It consists of an inflatable dive float with big Diver Down message printed on it and a 12 by 15 inches PVC dive flag. While not compliant with Florida’s regulations, the flag is still big enough to see from afar and is perfect to use everywhere else around the world.
Easier to maintain afloat than other buoys, this float comes with a sturdy bottom you can fill with water. A line loop also makes it easy to attach to a dive rope or a long lanyard, so it doesn’t drift away as you’re diving.
Both the float and flag pack compactly and are ideal for travel purposes. The only real downside is that the flag tends to pop out of the float, and it can be lost easily. You can fix the issue in no-time, though, by simply drilling a small hole in the flag pole and secure it to the buoy with a bit of fishing line.
That said, you can’t expect more from such an affordable product. Whether you need a cheap solution for travel or are a professional diver on a budget, this kit is undoubtedly a sound investment.
Another entry from Scuba Choice, this deluxe flag and buoy kit transudes quality. It comes at an excellent price and presents itself as a high-value product designed to help you tackle the underwater world in all peace of mind.
The most impressive thing is the large, round inflatable base with a big Diver Below warning message printed on it.
Yellow and red colors draw the attention, so you can rest assured any watercraft will spot you.
While the base doesn’t come with weights, it is easy to balance with a couple dive leads attached to its bottom. A rope surrounding the bottom acts as solid support for the purpose, so you can leave the weight attachment guesswork out of the game.
Apart from the 22-inch diameter buoy base, the kit also comes with a big 16 by 20 inches flag and poles system. This design ensures your flag is fully visible even in still weather conditions.
Smartly called the Flag-n-Float, this kit packs truly compactly and fits without issues in your dive bag. It’s also easy to set up whenever needed.
A tad more expensive than other float and flag kits on this list, it’s definitely worth every dime.
If you’re looking for a simple float and flag combo to use for diving in your area, then the JCS foam dive float might be it. It’s not as travel-friendly as the inflatable models, but it’s still compact enough to fit easily in a beach bag or backpack.
The combo consists of a standard foam float with lead-weighted base and eyelet for line attachment and a standard 14 by 18 inches red and white nylon dive flag. A two-piece float system fixes the flag to the base.
Ideal to use in all diving areas, it comes with a steel wire stiffener designed to keep it upright even in still weather and brass grommets designed to enhance its durability.
The base, on the other hand, has orange covers and is easily visible in the water both from the above and from the underneath.
This set is manufactured in the USA and complies with all federal safety regulations. Furthermore, you can use it both as dive and tow flag out in the ocean without worrying that it won’t stay upright, all thanks to the outstanding buoyancy offered by the Styrofoam.
Suitable for a variety of purposes, easy to use, and fairly compact to transport should you really want to, this is another excellent dive flag combo to get your hands on.
This torpedo buoy and dive flag combo from Innovative Scuba Concepts is another excellent choice if you haven’t found the right model yet. What makes it different from the other torpedo floats on this list is its sleek, hydrodynamic shape that allows it to easily glide through the water as you’re diving.
The buoy has a bright orange shade chosen to enhance your safety; the flag is also orange, while a conventional white strap warns watercrafts that you’re there.
Measuring 33 by 10 inches when inflated, this is one of the biggest buoys on the market. A water pocket at the bottom ensures for additional ballast, while the included high-visibility nylon line and non-corrosive plastic gate clips add further value for money.
Both the buoy and the flag are made of sturdy nylon and TPU fabric, a durable choice that can be your best diving friend for the years to come.
Professional divers looking for superlative quality equipment might like the Omer Float Dry Bag. This all-in-one float, dive flag, and dry bag combo is ideal if you want to take only the essential gear with you but don’t know what to do with your belongings while you’re exploring the deep blue.
Starting off with its float and dive flag function, the inflatable buoy has a torpedo-like shape and a bottom pocket for balance weights. The red and white flag enhances your visibility, and even if it doesn’t comply with Florida’s regulations, it can still be used everywhere else.
Four accessory loops on the underside of the bag give you the space to attach diving accessories or a spear gun if you want to practice spearfishing.
The best part, however, is the internal dry bag with roll-top you can use to carry small objects, from your phone or home keys to a dry set of clothes.
This buoy is really easy to inflate, while the two inner air chambers provide the floatation expected from such a high-value item. It doesn’t come cheap, but it is one of the best dive flags if you want a reliable combo to use for local dives or when you travel.
Buying Guide & FAQ
Why and How to Use a Dive Flag for Snorkeling?
Unlike scuba diving where you spend most of the time underwater, snorkeling usually takes you to the surface and the only time you are underwater is when you decide to go free diving. While snorkeling at surface water, there are some parts of your body together with your snorkeling equipment, such as your snorkel vest, that is exposed out of the water. This may include your back and the tip of your snorkel.
“You have to mark your presence in the water” - it is essential that someone (may it be someone who is watching you from land for safety, someone who is also snorkeling or someone who is just passing by with a boat) knows you’re in that part of the water. This prevents from accidents to happen, like bumping or hitting. This is the very reason why the tip of your snorkel is brightly colored. Wearing a brightly colored shirt, wetsuit or fins would also help mark your presence in the water. However, this is not enough to fully mark our presence as only a part of our brightly colored shirt, wetsuit and snorkel are exposed to the water, and this will become very difficult to identify if there is an incoming boat, especially if they are cruising on high speed.
Instead of wearing neon colored wetsuits and other accessories, which in most cases we find it awkward, we use surface markers that are visible even on far distances from your beach chairs. Scuba divers often use surface marker buoys or SMBs where they can deploy it a few meters below the surface just before making a direct ascent back to the surface. This ensures them that no one or no incoming boat that is in a collision course with them. For snorkelers, we often use the snorkel flag where we tag it along as we swim across the reef.
What Does a Dive Flag Look Like?
Officially called as the “Diver Down Flag”, the dive flag is an internationally recognized symbol signifying that there is a diver down in the water. But make no mistake in using it where you can wave it high with your hands and signaling it to a person or an incoming boat. The dive flag is usually tied to a pole that is set in a float. In this way, the divers flag is always standing and afloat making it highly visible especially to passing by boats.
There are several ways to use a diving flag. Often it is permanently set to a scuba dive site or snorkeling site signaling that underneath it is a diving or snorkeling spot with scuba divers, snorkelers or free divers. Compact and handy scuba flags are often used in remote areas, where instead of permanently setting it to the bottom, you can tow and tag it along using a rope.
But what is the significance of having a diver down sign? It is common knowledge, especially for boats, that they should stay away from the dive flag creating a safe place for snorkelers and divers alike. Generally, international standards do not allow any boat within a 30 meter (100 feet) radius, and you need to be inside that imaginary circle that is considered a safe zone. However, the 30 meter restriction is not the usual case. In certain states in the United States and some countries, scuba flag restrictions and dive flag rules are more stringent where some may go up to 50 meters (160 feet) or even 100 meters (300 feet). With this, it is best to consult your local authority or dive shop about these restrictions before you go snorkeling. This is very important if you are not familiar with the snorkeling site. And in case you would consider a DIY snorkeling buoy, here is a video to get you started... Stay safe out there!