Signal Boats

Eli Whitney Museum

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2021 Summer Program

Transporting people and cargo across our oceans every day boats are a very important part of our lives. Did you know they have their own language? Long ago sailors realized they needed to communicate with other boats without using words. A simple flag with color and pattern can represent a letter or a very specific message. What other ways can we communicate without talking?

Start with a fishing boat and make a flag to warn others you have “gear in the water.” Build a small fleet of boats and the specific flags they use. Construct a lighthouse and harbor to store your boats and keep them safe from the rocky shore. Learn an alphabet of hand signals and spell out your name. What else can be said without talking?

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