Sunday, September 1, 2013

Defense on the water

There's a lot of debate on on the cruising forums about defense. Some people won't go out on the water with anything less than a 12 gage shotgun. Others feel a gun on-board would cause more trouble that it's worth.

I expect to be be in United States waters the whole time, so that's a big consideration. Taking a firearm into other countries is a huge risk. You have to weigh the risk of serious jail time against the security risk. For me, it probably would not be worth it. A gun hid well enough to escape the notice of official inspectors is too well hid to be a defensive weapon.

The state of Florida recognizes New Hampshire's concealed carry permit, so I could carry handguns on the boat. To be honest, I've yet to do so. I haven't felt the need. Situational awareness has been enough to keep us out of trouble. Also, we don't look like a good target. How much of value could be on an old small sailboat anyway?

Some people think a flare gun can be used for defense. That only works in the movies. During the best of times, you'll be lucky to not set your own boat on fire. Others are big believers in things like spear guns. I'm thinking that if you have a spear gun on your boat, you'd better have the rest of gear that goes with it: diving mask, snorkel fins, and all that. Hard to explain to a cop why you have a spear gun and no other fishing gear.

Of course, knives and machetes are pretty normal equipment on a boat. Fish need to be filleted and coconuts need to be opened.

It's more likely that our biggest concern will be with petty theft. Anything not locked down could grow legs and walk away. It is nice to have a dog that will bark and growl to protect its floating home. So far the only boarders on the boat have been raccoons, which soon were sent on their way.

I must admit to having looked at a Mossberg Mariner -just to price one. $499 in NH, with no sales tax. Looks like a fine gun designed for a boat environment. I doubt if my lovely wife will feel insecure enough to let me spend that kind of money on something we probably don't need.

There's a lot more to defense and safety than a pretty shotgun.



  1. Just remember Joe's advice, shoot twice in the air and the bad guys will go away!

    1. I don't believe in wasting ammo like that. If I'm firing, I mean it.

  2. I think I'd feel more insecure with a gun than without one. If I had one, it could quite easily be used against me.
    A very few people carry guns in their motorhomes here and a few also on bluewater cruising yachts but generally we don't carry firearms and our police in New Zealand are not armed even though they have quick access to them...

    1. "A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity." -- Sigmund Freud

    2. Thankyou, that's good to know.
      I feel much better and more secure now...

  3. I've always carried a shotgun and a 45 revolver onboard. ( Better to have and never need than to need and not have )
    We carried the same into the Bahamas, their rule is simple, just declare it and give a count of ammo. Just make sure you can show them every round which you "declared"....
    In todays world I cannot imagine being without defensive firearms. Sure suck to have SHTF while out cruising and have nothing !

    1. Any trouble keeping the rust off your guns? That salt air gets into everything.

    2. Oh yes ! Forgot my shotty once for six months in it's soft case...break out the scotch brite pads ! If you oil it down at least once a month then no issues, just don't forget...musta been all that cheap rum in the "Hamas" lol

  4. H&R makes a single shot model (Tamer) in .410, 20 and 12 gauges that might fill the bill. Rust resistant finish, synthetic stock and can fire flare rounds in a pinch. Better than nothing - hope this helps.

  5. remember reading about a woman killed by a stray bullet. man out on water wanted to get rid of last bullet in gun and did a man thing. shot into water instead of removing bullet.

    ricocheted off water surface and killed woman driving on shore.

    who knew?

    on the other and, if no ricochet ,could have killed underwater worker or other diver.

    stupid but momentary lapse like we all have.

    just thought i'd mention it.

    used to live in florida. weapon might be needed against other than human threats.

    deb harvey

  6. Having a gun for self-defense is necessary today. The bad guys don't care if you have a $1,000 or $500,000 boat, they want money for their habit and today they're killing people just because they're bored.
    Yes, most attacks are without warning and there is nothing you can do about that. It is the time when you see trouble brewing that the gun may help.
    I would take a handgun with me, easy to stow and it doesn't take up a lot of space. If you're concerned about rust just put it in a zip-lock bag!