Diver Down Flag

Discharged from the Navy on August 16, 1949 Denzel James Dockery began his newly acquired trade of Diving with a homemade "Scuba" rig manufactured from a plan published in an issue of the "Popular Mechanics Magazine". After serving a period of apprentice with his new equipment and now newly wed to Ruth Evelyn Carlson, it became painfully apparent that the "Baker" flag he had used in the Navy was not recognized by civilian marine operators. The "Baker" flag is a solid red danger flag displayed by the Navy personnel when there were divers a work nearby.  "Doc", as he was nicknamed, was using the flag as he had in the Navy but no one was honoring its presence. Together he and Ruth fabricated a "Red" flag with a white stripe running across it middle. This flag showed the same pattern when viewed from either side. The Dockery's soon discovered that their flag was a copy of a National Flag used by Austria. After much research the White Stripe was quickly moved to run from the upper left corner to the lower right corner. The flag was a little more difficult for Ruth to sew, but it was a true original "Diver Down Flag". It did not represent any country or organization that they could find. The "Divers Flag" was born. The fact that it reversed itself when viewed from the back was a necessary but acceptable trade off. Doc used the flag in his work and promoted it through the "Cuadro Pescadores" Diving Club that he belonged to. During the early 1950's the Dockery's opened a "garage" Dive Shop and sold the flag to local divers. A U.S. Divers sales representative named Ted Nixon saw the flag in their shop and offered to sell it nationally while calling on his regular customers. With Ted's contacts the flag really took off. Ruth spect most of her spare time sewing flags by the hundreds. Meanwhile Doc and the club became active in getting the flag recognized by the Michigan State Legislature as a means of protecting Divers from powerboats in the lakes of Michigan. Also the newly formed Great Lakes Diving Council began promoting the Flag to the Legislatures of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois as a means of protecting divers. Each of the Legislations in turn passed laws forcing penalties to be levied against divers who did not use the flag but gave the diver no legal protection against boaters while using it. The effort had "fired back". By this time many other companies were making the flags and Ruth and Doc decided it was time to drop out out the picture and direct their attention to thier growing diving buinsess. The industry had rewarded them with comfortable lifestyle and a small place in diving history.