I refer to B G Knights letter in the December 2018 issue of Sea Breezes and sympathise with many of his views.
During my time at sea, flags were always raised and lowered at sunrise/ set or a predetermined time depending on the ships master, and even on rusty old tankers this was the case.
I can remember a point in case when transiting the Shatt al-Arab when the Iraq courtesy was flown until the first rope went ashore at Abadan when it had to be hastily replaced by the Iran flag (they never did get on). In Port Line, it was very important that the jack flag was broken out on the first rope ashore and the red ensign moved from the gaff position to the stern, or at night the navigation lights were extinguished, and deck and funnel flood lights switched on – and I am sure this was the case on most British ships.
Following my time at sea, I spent the rest of my working life in the ports industry and, over the years, noted that ships flags were never taken down and navigation lights remain on while alongside. I think it’s just a sign of the times with small ship’s crews and equally reduced port authority manpower to police it, if even they wanted to. I think it has been said many times before that those who were lucky enough to experience life at sea in the 50 and 60’s certainly saw the golden era!