Vessels sailing under the Sweden Country Flag are required to have on board this flag as part of flag state requirements that derive from maritime regulations in the International Code of Signals and the International Safety Management (ISM) Code. These codes are published by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) as an ongoing effort to reinforce maritime safety procedures and communications to the international maritime community. Fleet management companies and ship owners are responsible to ensure that each vessel in their respective fleets have the appropriate flag signage onboard to be in compliance. This flag is used to identify the flag state a vessel is sailing under and to communicate with other vessels under the provisions of the International Code of Signals.
The Sweden Country Flag appears as a golden cross laid horizontally across a sky blue background. The arms of the cross are offset on a vertical plane toward the hoist side, or left of the flag and reach from the bottom to the top. Both the arms and the body of the cross transverse the entire flag. The cross is a symbol of Christianity, and may represent the object of an ancient legend. Eric the Holy was a King of Sweden who is said to have seen a similar cross in the sky. He then recounted this experience to be a miracle. The cross over a colored background is a common theme throughout Scandinavian culture, appearing for centuries in the design of various Coats Of Arms and flags of all sorts. The color scheme may date back as far as the year 1275, paying tribute to a medieval Swedish Coat Of Arms which depicts three yellow crowns laid on a blue base. The Sweden Country Flag is designated to hold a proportional ratio of 5:8, height to length, respectively.