After the division of the British fleet by squadronal colours was abolished in 1864, the red ensign, or red duster as it is colloquially called, became the ensign of the British merchant marine. Today it is flown by all British merchant vessels and most yachts. Some yachts are entitled to fly it defaced on the hoist, normally by the insignia of the yacht club they belong to, provided their owners have the requisite warrant from the Admiralty.
See also blue ensign; white ensign.
Subjects: Maritime History — Warfare and Defence.