Blue Flag awards three types of boats–tourism boats, tall ships, and individual boat owners. All awards need to be registered under the owner of the boat, but any operator can sign the code of conduct. Below you can find more information about each type of award and their status. If you do not know which award your boat qualifies for based on usage, please reach out to staff at 

Tourism Boats

All boats must comply with the general criteria which fall into the following categories:

Environmental Education and Information

Environmental Management

Safety and Services

Social Responsibility and additionally

Activity Specific Criteria

  • Bird Watching
  • Cage Diving
  • Recreational Diving
  • Recreational Fishing
  • Seal Watching
  • Whale Watching
Download the international criteria and explanations here: TOURISM BOAT CRITERIA 2021
The Tourism Boat award is currently in a feasibility stage in the US. Staff is currently collecting information on criteria, comparable programs, and interested sites. If you are interested in bringing the program to your boat or work in the tourism industry and can provide US context to the criteria, please reach out to staff through our contact page.

Sail Training Vessels

Blue Flag has partnered with Sail Training International to offer a scheme for sail training vessels belonging to Sail Training International’s national organizations and those that participate in sail training Tall Ship events.

For more information about Sail Training International and registered vessels follow the link: Sail Training International

Individual Boat Owners

Recreational boat owners interested in supporting the Blue Flag program can sign an environmental code of conduct for boating and purchase an individual flag signifying their commitment to the Blue Flag values.

Fill out the Code of Conduct form and order your flag.