The national flag of Singapore was first adopted in 1959, the year Singapore became self-governing within the British Empire. It was reconfirmed as the national flag when the Republic gained independence on 9 August 1965. The design is a horizontal bicolour of red above white, charged in the canton by a white crescent moon facing, toward the fly, a pentagon of five small white five-pointed stars. The elements of the flag denote a young nation on the ascendant, universal brotherhood and equality, and national ideals.
The national flag is not used as an ensign by vessels at sea. In its place, one of three derivatives of the national flag is used, depending on a vessel's status: merchant vessels and pleasure craft fly a civil ensign of red charged in white with a variant of the crescent and stars emblem in the centre; non-military government vessels such as coast guard ships fly a state ensign of blue with the national flag in the canton, charged with an eight-pointed red and white compass rose in the lower fly; and warships fly a naval ensign similar to the state ensign, but in white with a red compass rose emblem.