14 U.S. Code § 638 - Coast Guard ensigns and pennants

(a) Vessels and aircraft authorized by the Secretary shall be distinguished from other vessels and aircraft by an ensign, pennant, or other identifying insignia of such design as prescribed by the Secretary. Such ensign, pennant, or other identifying insignia shall be displayed in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Secretary.
(b) No vessel or aircraft without authority shall carry, hoist, or display any ensign, pennant, or other identifying insignia prescribed for, or intended to resemble, any ensign, pennant, or other identifying insignia prescribed for Coast Guard vessels or aircraft. Every person violating this subsection shall be fined not more than $5,000, or imprisoned for not more than two years, or both.

Source

(Aug. 4, 1949, ch. 393, 63 Stat. 546; Pub. L. 111–281, title II, § 213(b),Oct. 15, 2010, 124 Stat. 2915.)
Historical and Revision Notes

Based on title 14, U.S.C., 1946 ed., § 64 (R.S. 2764; Aug. 5, 1935, ch. 438, title III, § 308,49 Stat. 528).
Aircraft are included within the provisions of this section.
The Secretary rather than the President is given the authority to design ensigns and pennants.
Unauthorized display of such insignia is made illegal anywhere rather than only “within the jurisdiction of the United States”.
The language is broadened to include “any person violating this section”; existing law applies to masters of offending vessels only. 81st Congress, House Report No. 557.
Amendments

2010—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 111–281substituted “Vessels and aircraft authorized by the Secretary” for “Coast Guard vessels and aircraft”.

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33 CFR - Navigation and Navigable Waters

33 CFR Part 23 - DISTINCTIVE MARKINGS FOR COAST GUARD VESSELS AND AIRCRAFT

 

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