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Dictionary of Vexillology: B (Beach Flag - Belaying Pin)

Last modified: 2024-05-18 by rob raeside
Keywords: vexillological terms |
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A flag or pennant from one of several different systems for signalling the condition of a beach, the state of the ocean or weather at that particular point, and/or to what degree bathing safety precautions are in place – a bathing or surfing flag/pennant, a weather or weather-warning flag/pennant, a shark alert or alarm flag/pennant, a wind, windsurf or windsurfing danger flag/pennant or similar - but see ‘blue flag’ (also ‘red flag 1)’ and ‘storm warning flag’).

beach flags beach flags beach flags 
Some Beach Flags and Pennants, Spain, The Netherlands and France (fotw)

See ‘blue flag

beach quality flag
Beach Quality/Blue Flag, European (fotw)

The heraldic term which may be used when the beak of a bird or a bird-like creature is of a different tincture than the body (see also ‘armed 2)’, ‘attired’, ‘gorged’, ‘jelloped’, ‘langued’, ‘membered’ and ‘tincture’).

beaked flag beaked flag beaked flag
Flag of Asperen, The Netherlands (fotw); Flag of Filisur, Switzerland (fotw); Flag of Krukow, Germany (fotw)

An accurate but seldom used translation (balken meaning a “balk”, “bar” or “beam” of wood) of the German term balkenkreuz - see ‘balkenkreuz’.


1) An expanding stripe (or stripes) which usually - but not exclusively - expand from a central point in order to represent a shaft (or shafts) of light – rays – but see ‘radiating 1)’ (also ‘expanding stripe(s)’).
2) The term may also be used to describe a horizontal arm such as those seen on an anchor, cross or yard (see also ‘anchor’, ‘cross 1)’ and ‘yard’).
3) A term sometimes incorrectly used to describe a stripe (or stripes) in place of the heraldic equivalents – see ‘bar’, ‘bend’, ‘fess’ and ‘pale’.

beam beam beam
Flag of the Soviet Air Force ca. 1940 (fotw); Flag of P’ing-tung, Taiwan (fotw); Standard of Gaspésie, Quebec, Canada (fotw)

A term sometimes incorrectly used in place of pointed - see ‘pointed’ (also ‘rays 1)’).

Flag of Mississippi 1861, CSA (fotw)

See ‘charge’ and ‘charged’.

An early 18th Century alternative term, now obsolete, for bunting – see ‘bunting 1)’ (also ‘bewper’ and ‘breadth 2)’).

A loop at the end of the hoist line of a flag that fastens to a toggle at the end of the halyard when hoisting a flag – a running eye – but see ‘eye splice’ (also ‘halyard’, ‘hoistline’, ‘running eye and toggle’ and ‘toggle’).


See ‘logo on a bed sheet’.

Flag of the State of Idaho, US (fotw)

A flag (of unknown configuration) that was flown by supply vessels carrying foodstuffs to the British Royal Navy during the 18th and 19th centuries (see also ‘bullock pennant’).

See ‘bullock pennant’ (also ‘beef flag’).
In heraldry see ‘gemmed’.

bejewelled bejewelled
Arms and Flag of Tagilde, Portugal (fotw)

An increasingly obsolete method of securing the halyard by means of movable vertical pins (fitted into a frame or rack at the foot of the mast) and now largely replaced by the cleat - a tack pin or jack pin (see also ‘cleat’ and ‘halyard’).

Belaying pin example

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