Flag Pulley System Instructions

Written by will charpentier
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Flag Pulley System Instructions
A flagpole pulley makes raising the flag easier. (möwe image by Jens Teichmann from Fotolia.com)

Raising and lowering a flag, whether it be on a flagpole in front of your home or on the mast on the signal bridge of a ship, isn't quite as intimidating as it looks. Using the pulley system on either is more a matter of remembering to hang onto the rope and the flag, and to secure the rope properly after adding or removing the flag from the rope. With a bit of thought, a once-intimidating process can become familiar.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Release the flag rope from the cleat--the T-shaped metal fixture on the flag staff--by untucking the end of the rope from under itself and unwrapping the flag rope from around the "horns" of the cleat. Pull downward on the rope that runs through the stationary pulley at the top of the flag pole to lower the flag.

  2. 2

    Keeping the rope under close control, raise or lower the flag all the way by pulling the rope through the pulley. If the flag is being lowered and removed from the rope, tuck the flag under your arm (unless you have an assistant to help) and pull the bottom of the flag close to you. Unclip the snap-swivel from the bottom of the flag without releasing either snap-swivel or flag.

  3. 3

    Pull the top of the flag close to you and, as before, unclip the snap-swivel from the flag without releasing your grip on the flag or snap swivel. Clip the two snap swivels together.

  4. 4

    Wrap the rope--now a continuous loop whose ends extend downward from the stationary pulley at the top of the flag staff and are joined together by snap-swivels--around the base of the cleat. Wrap the rope under one horn of the cleat and over the other horn.

  5. 5

    Repeat this over-and-under wrap (called a figure-eight) at least twice, making the final wrap looser than the previous wraps. Tuck the end of the rope under the loose wrap and pull the end to tighten the loose wrap over the end of the rope. Secure the flag.

Tips and warnings

  • To raise the flag, simply reverse the steps, using the stationary pulley at the top of the flag staff to raise the flag by pulling on the top rope.
  • Never allow either end of the rope, or the flag, to get away from you.

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