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Old 09-07-2009, 22:35   #16
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Slightly off topic, but just a couple of points on the 12ga flares. They are not suitable as a defensive weapon, and really are marginal as an emergency signaling device.

Originally Posted by lorenzo b View Post
any charge that will loft a flare 3000 ft into the sky is going to mess you up at 5 ft
A 12ga flare is doing well to go 30' in the air, and could only reach 3,000' if fired from the top of a 2,970' mountain. A brand new one, on a windless day with lots of luck may go 45' but hang time is pretty short. They rely on a 12ga primer to launch, and do not come out of the barrel with much force.

THey really are pretty wimpy, I have fired many of them. I would not recommend firing one at someone and expecting it to do much more then cause them to become violent. Hitting someone in the eye would hurt, but it is unlikely you would be able to aim that accurately.

It would be worth anyone's time to fire off some old ones, of course, not near water where they could cause a false emergency response (unlikely). I suspect you will be surprised at how unimpressive they are. Someone here did some pretty in depth research on them and came to the same conclusion.

The 25mm flares are more likely to be seen, the 12ga just meet the requirement and (IMHO)give a false sense of security. SOLAS flares are reportedly much more likely to be seen in a real rescue situation.

also, your other post;
Ever get hit in the face at close range by a 12 ga parachute flare?
The Coast Guard insists that you have three on board.
The 12ga flares do not have parachutes.



Where else do you plan to stop?

I plan to fly down to St Vincent next week, pick up a sailboat, and sail from St Vincent up to Florida.
The Bahamas are pretty gun friendly, maybe listing your intended stops will help folks to better help you.

Good luck,

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Old 09-07-2009, 23:09   #17
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I’m getting old and forgetful. Here are a number of other systems to consider which are passive and always on guard.
There is the roast and toast system. Wire up an electric cow fencer system to your lifelines. They are readily available up to 250,000 volts. They use very little power. You will need some insulaors. They are ideally suited for middle of the night sneak thieves. One drawback is when activated by an intruder it may blow out your SSB as two of our friends found out. The advantage is very low maintenance as the intruder falls overboard.
If you have a steel boat you have a powerful option. Hook up your inverter to a plate on the cockpit sole and to the companion way. This works especially well for European boats with their 220 Volt invertors. Care should be taken to prevent galvanic corrosion, you may end up “dissolving” your boat. It’s major drawback is the inconvenience of the subject remaining onboard, can be somewhat embarrassing.
If you wanted to gbe extravagant you could adapt the South African car hijacking protection system to your boat. You need to be handy with fitting burner nozzles and igniters to the stanchions and running tubing to your propane tank. I hear it is very effective for cars.
Fishhooks scattered about or hung from the lifelines is an option that I would not recommend. It is to tedious to setup and tear down every day.
Perhaps with a little more encouragement I will eventually remember other devices or systems that have been discussed over the years.

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Old 09-07-2009, 23:22   #18
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I read a report, EXAMINATION OF 12 GAUGE FLARE GUNSby Matthew Noedel, WSP Crime Lab Tacoma, WA .
The website address is

I have summarized the report below and added comments.

The 12 gauge flares are of 2 types the Orion which has a muzzle velocity of 300-350 ft/sec. with a muzzle energy of 100-120 ftlbs. That is a 10 lbs weight dropped 10-12 ft. or a good hard swing with a 10 lbs. sledge hammer. Fired vertically they go up 250 feet. The other 12 gauge flare is the SkyBlazer with a muzzle velocity of 220-260 ft/sec and a muzzle energy of 35 ftlbs.
According to a report I read the major concern about being shot with a flair gun is the threat of clothing or tissue catching fire. The impact is non lethal.
I have seen some cruisers fire them vertically and horizontally during celebrations. Based on what I saw they reached 100 to 200 ft altitude. Maximum horizontal distance was maybe 150 ft. Not exactly very accurate.
The 25mm flare fired vertically reaches almost 375 ft. The 25mm parachute flare reaches 1000 ft.
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Old 10-07-2009, 03:12   #19
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Originally Posted by David Mozingo View Post
... I have not been able to find to much info online about the "laws" in the islands...
... I would like to know the laws ...
See post #1 at ➥ Firearms Regulations by Country
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Old 10-07-2009, 05:06   #20
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I stand corrected on the ballistics of a 12 ga flare pistol, thanks for the interesting information. I have obviously never fired a 12 ga flare gun and was relying on my experiences with shotguns.

If one googles flare gun there are all kinds of discussions on using a flare gun as a weapon with and without modifications and special self protection shells available.

The basic question remains as to wether one needs a weapon and wether you would want to use one in any case. Guns are dangerous. More NYC policemen are shot in their own homes by members of their own families then are shot in the line of duty. I would think the same would be true of boat captains. The criminal justice systems of some popular cruising countries will make the poor sucker you just shot seem like mother Teresa. Even if you kill someone in absolute self defense, the general assumption will be that you really didn't need to and that you're probably some sick jerk that enjoyed it.

Back to square one. A 12 ga flare gun is non lethal, it will hurt a close range, and it presents well.
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Old 10-07-2009, 05:54   #21
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As an alternative to firearms, one might want to carry UDAP Pepper Power Specifications, Spray Ranges and Pricing . With this one's aim needn't be to terrific.

And to deter intruders aboard ship, there is Bear Shock Electric Fence for the Backcountry which I suspect could be rigged to ones stanchions and life-lines.

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Old 10-07-2009, 16:39   #22
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Guns in Caribbean

Originally Posted by Pblais View Post
Usually you don't need a pistol. If you look scary enough they just give you the money. You just don't want to get caught. Once you shoot them they take it personal. I wouldn't think you would have enough time for burglary being in the delivery business.

Just a clue. Don't use your real name on the Internet if you contemplate a criminal side job smuggling weapons between countries. It's kind of on the radar these days. Expect to be searched when you arrive. Most countries take a dim view of weapons smuggling. That really is the issue. You might not get robbed but you might be dumb enough to get caught. It's a risk you would be taking.

I am ugly enough to scare anyone.
That's why I didn't post my picture on this site. If I was as pretty as you, I would have posed for one also.

My smuggling days are over....

After researching the subject, it appears having a gun is not really an issue. ( I am new to this forum, but it appears there may be a lot of arm chair sailors online, with some pretty smart ideas: " put grease on your deck or an electric wire. Shot a flare gun.")

Have you ever sailed your boat down there?

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Old 10-07-2009, 16:51   #23
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Originally Posted by lorenzo b View Post
Back to square one. A 12 ga flare gun is non lethal, it will hurt a close range, and it presents well.
Give up on that 12ga. idea. Switch up to a 25mm! Much scarier!

Here's to swimmin' with bowlegged women!
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Old 10-07-2009, 17:05   #24
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Originally Posted by Christian Van H View Post
Give up on that 12ga. idea. Switch up to a 25mm! Much scarier!
Size does matter, Use the parachute flare cartridge, it a good 10" long! Impressive.
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Old 10-07-2009, 18:52   #25
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Another take on gasoline in a jar...

With just about any kind of styrofoam product dissolved in it...creates a flammable substance with jelly like consistency. It is a crude but quite effective homemade form of Napalm. The lessons of a misspent youth...
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Old 17-07-2009, 18:10   #26
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Just tell them you're from Texas, customs will understand that you probably have more experience with firearms than their police force. Let me know if you want to borrow my Glock.
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Old 17-07-2009, 18:38   #27
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I agree with FlyNavy85. Except, you don’t even have to be from Texas or have a gun for that matter. Just fly the Lone Star state flag and everyone will assume that you are armed.

This comes in handy when entering crowded anchorages in the Caribbean. Just get on the VHF and start asking about fields of fire and free fire zones. This will cause all the Canadians to up anchor and leave. Canadians always have the best anchor spots. Hey, they had to come a long way - so they get to be extra good at anchoring. That way you will always find a good spot.
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Old 17-07-2009, 19:54   #28
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Originally Posted by mesquaukee View Post
Then there is the usual assortment of spear guns or Bahama slings for close in work if you do not want to torch your own vessel.
I guess this assumes they don't have an AK47 or the such...
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Old 17-07-2009, 20:28   #29
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Originally Posted by Endojoe View Post
With just about any kind of styrofoam product dissolved in it...creates a flammable substance with jelly like consistency. It is a crude but quite effective homemade form of Napalm. The lessons of a misspent youth...
Misspent youth or Anarchists Cookbook
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Old 17-07-2009, 21:03   #30
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Say it with a smile!

While this thread is mostly tongue in cheek, for those cruisers who like to practice take note that in Puerto Galera we have an excellent range near the yacht club that is very friendly to cruisers.

Serious training but also friendly competition between sailing expats and local enforcement agencies.

Puerto Galera Shooting Range - Welcome to the Puerto Galera Range Group and Gun Club - Recreational Range Shooting in Puerto Galera, Philippines
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