Local councils urged to fly a Red Ensign on Merchant Navy Day

Local (parish and town) councils throughout the UK are being invited to support a campaign to raise public awareness of our island nation’s dependence on Merchant Navy seafarers.

The charity Seafarers UK is asking councils to fly a Red Ensign - the British Merchant Navy’s flag - on Merchant Navy Day, 3 September.

Free ensigns are on offer to councils that would otherwise not be able to participate. Suitable venues include flagpoles in public places, on civic buildings, museums, libraries, schools and churches.

There are no restrictions on when or where the Red Ensign can be flown ashore. Merchant Navy Day has been observed in the UK since 2000. The campaign to ‘Fly the Red Ensign’ was started last year to remind British people - none of whom live more than 70 miles from the sea - that we depend on Merchant Navy seafarers for 95% of our imports, including half the food we eat.

Councils are encouraged to organise flag-hoisting ceremonies on 3 September, or the preceding Friday. A guide to taking part - including a message of support from HRH The Earl of Wessex - is available to download at

That website also includes a ‘Roll of Honour’, to which all participating councils will be added when they register online, or by emailing

Seafarers UK is a charity that helps people in the maritime community by providing vital funding to support seafarers in need and their families. The charity’s dedicated Merchant Navy Fund exists to attract donations to support British Merchant Navy men and women and their families – see

For further information about the ‘Fly the Red Ensign for Merchant Navy Day, 3 September’ campaign please email or phone Carole Hunt on 020 7932 5986.

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