The Red Ensign, a red flag with the Union Jack in the top corner next to the flagstaff, is flown by British-registered ships and is an internationally recognised symbol of quality, regulation, and safety.
It is the flag of the Red Ensign Group which is a group of British Shipping Registers that form a central register of all ships on the UK Ship Register.The registers are divided into two categories which comprises the UK and it’s territories, each of which operates their own shipping register:
Category 1 – ships of unlimited tonnage and type and length:
- United Kingdom Cayman Islands
- Bermuda Gibraltar
- British Virgin Islands Isle of Man
Category 2 – commercial ships of up to 150 GRT; and pleasure vessels which are not operated commercially of up to 400 GRT:
- Anguilla Montserrrat
- Falkland Islands St Helena
- Guernsey Turks & Caicos Islands
Any vessel registered in the UK, a Crown Dependency or UK Overseas Territory, is considered a “British ship” and is entitled to fly the prestigious Red Ensign flag (also known as the Red Duster) which was originally flown by the British Royal Navy in the seventeenth century. Today, all British registered ships are entitled to protection and assistance from the British Royal Navy and the Red Ensign Group of ship registers is tantamount to quality shipping within the maritime sector. It is the flag of choice for many owners seeking high technical, social and administrative standards.