Scattered around the site, we’ve had a few lively discussions regarding bringing firearms aboard vs. other defensive weapons vs. nothing at all.  One of the most interesting aspects of the “debate” is that there doesn’t seem to be as hard a line drawn between boaters as there is between landlubbers.  Though there are certainly some extremists on both ends of the gun spectrum, most people understand both why and why not to have a gun aboard, thus providing further proof that boaters are generally more reasonable and intelligent than lesser primates.  So intelligent in fact that we thought we should bring up a few points from our readers for further contemplation and discussion.

Clearly, each country has its own laws regarding guns, and sometimes special laws regarding guns on vessels.  In some areas, cruising with guns is perfectly legal, elsewhere it can be a minor misdemeanor, and in some areas of the world it will land you in prison.  Most countries want you to declare any weapons, but as many have pointed out, the countries with the most restrictive firearm laws are also often the most dangerous, so many cruisers take the attitude that it’s better to beg forgiveness than ask permission.  One very interesting point that several people have written us about is that the type of gun you carry can make a big difference with authorities, because…

There are guns and there are GUNS!
The types of firearms people like to bring aboard are as varied as the people themselves. Some want to fend off intruders who are already inside the tight space of a cabin and thus choose a handgun, some want to prevent boarders, so they often go for a shotgun, and some want to be able to defend their vessels before would-be attackers can get close, so they often choose a longer range rifle. There are even those who would like to do all three of these things, and who keep a veritable armory for this purpose.

Before you choose your boat gun(s), think about this: Generally speaking, police and military don’t like you to have better weapons than they do. Before you arm yourself to the teeth with paramilitary styled tactical weapons, it’s good to keep that in mind. Furthermore, in some countries carrying military ammo is a major felony, while carrying hunting ammo is not. So, that might dramatically change what you’re looking for in terms of firearms.

Read the rest of by Brad Hampton’s article at

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