Colors (the raising & lowering of our American flag)

During the summer months Plymouth Yacht Club (PYC) observes the time-honored naval tradition of Colors; the raising and lowering of our American Flag. Colors are hoisted smartly and lowered ceremoniously

This is done by our launch operations.When making morning colors, the ensign is hoisted first, then the club burgee, officer’s flag, and private signal; at evening colors, the reverse is followed with the ensign being lowered last.

Evening Colors at PYC begins with the ringing of a ships bell and the command, “Attention to Colors” followed immediately thereafter by a cannon shot.

Upon hearing the command “Colors,” or the cannon shot, all those on Club property in sight of the flag will stand and face the flag, in silence, with their right hand over their heart, until the flag is fully lowered. At that point, the command, “Carry on” will be given.

Observation of colors is always observed in silence. Club members and guests are required to stand and observe in silence. Please refrain from sitting, speaking or otherwise creating noise until our nation’s Colors are lowered.

If you call for launch service around sunset, there will be an additional wait since this process take the coordination of both operators on duty.

A little history: The tradition is naval; it began with the British Royal navy and continues with the U.S. Navy. Cannons or guns are fired at sunset when the flag is taken down, as a sign of respect. In the days when sailing ships were armed with cannon, it could take as long as twenty minutes to load and fire a gun. When a ship fired her guns in salute, she rendered herself powerless for the duration. By emptying their guns, the ship’s crew showed shore batteries and forts that they were no threat. Over time, this gesture became a sign of respect, with both shore and ship gun batteries firing volleys.

Colors takes place at many Yacht Club’s throughout the United States as well as US Military bases around the world.