Sailing Trivia – Burgee

Q. What is a burgee?
A. A burgee is a distinguishing flag, regardless of its shape, of a recreational boating organization.
Yacht clubs and their members may fly their club’s burgee while underway and at anchor, day or night, but not while racing. Sailing vessels may fly the burgee from the main masthead or from a lanyard under the starboard spreader on the mast.[1] Power boats fly the burgee off a short staff on the bow.
Traditionally, the first time a member of one yacht club visits another, there is an exchange of burgees. Exchanged burgees are then often displayed on the club’s premises, e.g., in the office or bar. On “Opening Day”, sailors fly their burgees together.
There is a free international registry of burgess where any club can register their design: To Register Your Burgee — send an e-mail to and include your web address, or an image of the burgee.  Registering your burgee in the International Burgee Registry is FREE.
The origin of the word probably comes from French dialect bourgeais or literally shipowner, first Known Use: 1750

By Tradewinds Instructor Ian Joseph

This entry was posted in Sailing Trivia and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *