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Swiss Navy

Last modified: 2011-06-04 by rob raeside
Keywords: switzerland | navy |
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[Swiss flag at sea] image by António Martins

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Swiss naval flag use

During WW II a Swiss Naval Ensign was adopted with the proportions 2:3. The National Flag of Switzerland is square.
Nick Artimovich, 12 February 1996

It is used only by the Swiss commercial fleet outside Switzerland. On the lakes the usual square flag is used.
Harald Müller, 12 February 1996

Switzerland does have a small navy of sorts. Lakes Konstanz and Leman (Geneva) form international frontiers, and their navies consist of a few patrol craft. Switzerland also has a major Rhine commercial fleet (you can see the Swiss flag flying all the way to the Netherlands), which have military patrol craft in time of war. Both the navy and air force are branches of the army (like the infantry and artillery). The air force is 1st in Europe -- so good that Israel used it as their model.
T. F. Mills, 12 February 1996

Even if landlocked, Switzerland has its navy mainly to sail on the different lakes like Constance (Bodensee), Leman (or Geneva but people outside of Geneva dislike this spelling), Brienz, Thun, 4 Cantons (Vierwaldstaettersee), Zug, Neuchatel, Biel/Bienne or Morat (Murten) to name a few but they belong to private navigation companies. There's no regulation as to which flag or ensign should be flown on these ships: it appears that 2:3 ensigns are only flown on the 3 main lakes of Switzerland (Constance, Geneva and Zurich) while ships on other smaller lakes fly the 1:1 flag.
Pascal Gross, 11 July 2002

The Swiss "navy" consists of ten patrol boats on two lakes that form international borders (Constance and Leman).
T. F. Mills, 11 July 2002

Lake Maggiore and Lake Lugano form international borders with Italy. The shipping company for Lake Maggiore is Italian and they seem to fly only the Italian flag. The shipping company for Lake Lugano is located in Switzerland and the square flag is flown here.
Pascal Gross, 12 July 2002