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Old 12-01-2006, 09:30   #1
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If not a 'firearm' then?

OK, be the arguements one way or another on keeping a firearm on board.
I'm looking at what items have people been able to keep and not register ( or are not required to be registered) that could be used as a weapon in self defense?

I've hear people talk about the 'flare gun conversion' what about a bang stick for divers?

Has anyone had an issue with authorites over a spear gun? for fishing obviously!

Am I missing anything specific to a boat that people consider a weapon?

All of this discussion aside. Anyone with even a little martial arts training will know and tell you that anything and eveything is a weapon in a time of need, including you own body. The first weapon used is always your brain. For either attack, defense or avoidance (always the prefferable solution), an object is just an extension of that weapon.

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Old 12-01-2006, 09:40   #2
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a good supply of rocket flares and skill in their use.
mace
caltrops
handcuffs + whips --- oops getting carried away here
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Old 12-01-2006, 12:20   #3
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Arrrr, now here is where the entire argument in the past, has been clouded by the word Firearm.

As 2divers pointed out, the first weapon is always the brain.

Would Peter Blake still be alive today, if he had retaliated with a spear gun, a flare gun, a knife, a long pole (or a wip ). I would suggest maybe he would still have been shot. The issue is that he retaliated.
You could also question, Would he still be alive today if he just did nothing and let the Pirates rob them all and leave. Would the pirates have left with everyone alive, or shot them all to hide their tracks anyway? Impossible to know the answers.

So the main question is, how do you determin a threat or not. This is where many mistakes have been made. I am kinda fortunate in living in a country with many cultures I guess. It is easier for me to understand that every culture has a different way of doing things. But I am not saying that I understand the way a different culture does something.
Now, not drawing an argument here, but I have seen many times where Americans have not considered other cultures and way's of doing things. We all have to realise the rest of the world is very different to what we know from where we grew up. And if we are cruising the world, we have to be careful about what attitude we take with us. We are the quests in a foreign water, not them.
So here are some thoughts to consider. No I have no answers, they are just for consideration.
A small boat filled with men dressed in black and wearing head and face coverings approach your boat. Are they fishermen or are they a threat???
A bunch of men in a small boat are waving and yelling franticaly at you in a language you don't understand. Are they trying to warn you of their nets in the water?, that they are welcoming you to there country? or are they doing a war dance????
A person from such a boat climbs up on your deck. Is he trying to sell you fish for a packet of smokes or some fresh water?, or is he a threat??
He doesn't understand your language, nor you his. Is he saying hi and welcome?, or is he saying hand over your money and women??
See?? the issue is bigger than "What weapon should I have?" Cruising is about Pioneering. It's about going to a country and culture to see how they do it. Un fortunately it takes trust and trust on a bigger scale from the visitors side, than on the hosts side.
Otherwise you have a Capt Cook mistake. Some Moari on the beach was doing a native welcoming dance and Cook shot him because he thought he was being hostile.
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Old 12-01-2006, 13:35   #4
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Beer or candy

I would suggest that in any situation, if you offered beer or candy in a non threatening manner, your chance of survival would be better than if you produced a weapon of any form, particulary a gun. Many folks have said " I would not be here today if I had pointed a gun " That US citizens shoot each other at an outrageous rate, is not something that should be readily exported. The death rate from guns is higher in Washington DC and New Orleans than it is in Iraq. That was recently reported and I do not know the source or the accuracy. No one wants to appear to be a wimp, but there is always someone out there who is more desparate, better armed, more vicious. Think of the biggest toughest guy you new in school. Did he ever get thumped ? The answer is always yes, if not by one other person then be several other persons. God invented rugby for real men to communicate in a non wimpish manner.
Michael the part time pacifist.
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Old 12-01-2006, 14:20   #5
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Passive Defence

My concern with firearms is that they must be used in an aggressive way to be effective, and if the other party has them also then we are headed for an unhappy ending.
To me, the problem is that the passive defences on many yachts are not of a high standard.
If a yacht was prepared to the same standard as a house in a high crime neighbourhood then surely the occupants would be a lot safer.
By this I mean bars on all hatches (openable from the inside only), decent locks (not something that could be opened with a small screwdriver), everthing on the outside of value either put away or chained, good lighting operated from the inside, good open communication with the local authorities, good relations (and communications) with the locals and other yachts, all valuable items (radio, radar etc) scatched and worn with identifying marks, and as little money as possible carried on board.
Pirates are criminals who are in the business of making money, and if there is no profit then they will (hopefully ) go elsewhere.
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Old 12-01-2006, 15:10   #6
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Alan and BC Mike both raised several interesting points, and I would defer to some degree due to my lack of experience on having people come up to me whiel out sailing.

Firstly, presentation like Alan says has a lot to do with it, dark boat, at night with darkly clothed people in head scarves definetely not a good vibe situation. One in which I would probably have a beer in one hand, a smile on my face and a good weapon within easy reach. This would be my choice.

I agree with the Pioneering attitude, and after reading some of the local historical placques as I travel around Texas, I am more than willing to take off my hat and admit that I have it easy compared to the pioneers that settled her.

If half of what I read is true then they were some of the most hospitable people that I could ever hope to meet. The flip side of the coin is that they were ALMOST ALWAYS ready for trouble and had no issues with killing when it came down to being threatened over either thier life or property. If you came with a smile and no bad intentions then you would be fed, watered and cared for to the best of their ability, and they much preffered to see you that way. If you showed up with the wrong attitude, you were invited to leave and not come back at the very least. Much like liveaboards everything they owned was probably within 50 feet of thier house and they were not shy about defending it.

It may just be my American upbringing, but if you threaten my life or safety esp. of those around me, I will be proactive in coutering that threat.

I thought mace was illegal in a number of places? As near as I can tell ammonia is still and always will be a cleaning fluid though and it's just as friendly as mace.
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Old 12-01-2006, 17:26   #7
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Although I agree with Chris' points about security, I don't agree that firearms have to be used aggressively. A shotgun is intimidating - if you are unsure of the intentions of an approaching boat, showing that you are armed will make their intentions known. You don't have to shoot to make it known that you are able and willing to defend your turf.
As for the other approaches mentioned, I would say most require the potential bad guy to be within arm's reach - at that point they would need to be employed aggressively in order to be effective. Most also require the element of surprise to be effective, so they are ineffective at establishing motive - so you are even more likely to injure an innocent person. Some specific concerns: rocket flares are not particularly accurate and have no penetration power, so they will likely bounce off the bad guy, enraging him and then burn a hole through your deck; mace and pepper spray are controlled or illegal in many jurisdictions; however they cause no permanent damage - ammonia will, so you better be sure it's not somebody trying to sell you some fish.

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Old 12-01-2006, 18:18   #8
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Alan
I could not agree with you more, the obvious weapon of choice is your brain, loaded with cultural knowledge, awareness and sensitivity. (If all goes well, a whip and handcuffs could be a treat)


Cultural knowledge - Knowing something about a culture is a decided advantage if not a necessity when traveling in foreign waters. It is the ethnic traditions, customs, taboos and the often deep-rooted beliefs of a culture that really can challenge a meaningful, safe productive encounter with the host culture.
Cultural Awareness - Developing sensitivity and understanding of another ethnic group. This usually involves internal changes in terms of attitudes and values. Awareness and sensitivity also refer to the qualities of openness and flexibility that people develop in relation to others. Cultural awareness must be supplemented with cultural knowledge
Cultural Sensitivity - Knowing that cultural differences as well as similarities exist, without assigning values, i.e., better, worse, right, or wrong, to those cultural differences

As a matter of speaking, culture provides the individual with a 'program for action', through which he can deduce the things that are worthwhile pursuing and the paths that can be followed to make the best of a particular situation.... Culture does not only inform the individual about the reality he lives in, but also structures the manner in which that information is applied with respect to human. In other words, culture is not only an information supplying mechanism, but also an information processing one.
Culture is a complex concept with many different definitions. "Culture" refers to a group or community who share common experiences that shape the way they understand the world. It is the conscious and unconscious ways of life of a people, their attitudes, values, behavior, and material things.
Cultural practices such as marriage, religion, literature, science, occur because that social group has a certain worldview; this means that you can derive a worldview from anything within a cultural group.
Anthropologists Kevin Avruch and Peter Black explain the importance of culture this way:
...One's own culture provides the "lens" through which we view the world; the "logic"... by which we order it; the "grammar" ... by which it makes sense. In other words, culture is central to what we see, how we make sense of what we see, and how we express ourselves. It also reflects closely held beliefs and values of a people.
Culture is learned and transmitted from generation to generation. It is not identical with the genetic heritage that may differentiate one group of people from another. These differences in shared systems of attitudes and feelings, is one of those more subtle areas of difference that foreigners experience when they leave 'home.
Just remember that open-mindedness and an unprejudiced attitude are the necessary conditions for adequate intercultural communication. Not to mention the immense personal growth.
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Old 12-01-2006, 18:27   #9
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Wheels,what actually happened to Peter Blake? I keep reading his name everywhere.I think the beer in one hand cigs in the other would be rather welcoming to a few FISHERMEN,but on the otherside,it could be just lurks & perks to a friendly hand waving pirate.I think if I came across any thing that looked sus,I would alter course and stand off for a while untill I could determin just how sus it was.Weird enough is that my overall first reaction would tend to be veer on over and say hello,its a big old world out there and no need to be snobish about it .Would anyone here do that,or is that a bit insane??
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Old 12-01-2006, 19:01   #10
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Mudnut,

There's absolutely nothing wrong with saying 'hello'. This is where the 'brain is your best weapon' part comes in. You should do your homework - research the area you're going to, know the threats, know your resources. One doesn't walk though gang turf in New York city at night traipsing over to every seedy-looking tough and saying "how do you do".

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Old 13-01-2006, 01:04   #11
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A few little stories come to mind in reading the remarks above. like the one,
Join the military, travel the world, meet lots of really interesting people...and shoot them.
Another, I was working in chandlery shop years back. We had a couple of guy's walk in that made a 78ft Hells angels look repectable enough for Sunday morning church. My Boss greated them as if they were long lost freinds, sold them an item that was a little suspect as to what they may have ben upto and then gave them an increadable discount. I was kinda stunned and asked, what the?!?!? after they had gone. My Boss's reply was....Consider it cheap insurance. There's a lesson to be learn't there.

Mudnut, Sir Peter Blake died by being shot in December 2001
He and his crew had been studying affects of global warming and polution. It was a worldwide trip and at that point, they were leaving Brazil after being there for two months. They were in the Mouth of the Amazon awaiting Customs clearance when their vessel Seamaster, was boarded by three to four hooded gunmen. The Gunmen were holding the crew at gun point and shouting money money. Peter was down below and heard the comotion. He came running up with a gun and was instantly shot.
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Old 13-01-2006, 01:32   #12
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I have a cunning plan (Blackadder)

I have worked on commercial vessels that have attracted the interest of pirates in the South China Sea and throughout Indonesia, though never suffered an attack (quite insulting really, obviously not woth the effort). There is one amusing story I tell over a rum every now and again but I won't go into it right now.
When we first hatched the idea to go cruising I was all gung ho to carry a firearm for protection. Being ex military and a keen hunter I figured it was the sensible option. However, after reading/talking extensively about piracy I have come up with a strategy that I feel comfortable with.
Have a worn old wallet sitting on the chart table with some $US in it (however much you feel comfortable losing). The wallet should also contain old/expired cards and some of the stuff you would normally carry. Having an old iPod or something similar in view would help as well. Consider the cash an insurance premium against the 1 in a million chance you are actually boarded. Make sure all other valuables are well hidden and all your electronics are secured in such a way that removing them would be a hassle and take a long time. Have a white flag ready to wave in any case where you may suspect an attack and be ready to get all crew on deck with big welcoming smiles. If suspect boat gets close make gestures welcoming them aboard and offer them drink and food (sign language if necessary). Do not offer them the cash or valuables unless they demand them (remember, even if they are armed it may be for their own protection and they don't necessarily pose a threat). If they are not pirates and you assume they are by offering them valuables you may well insult them to the point where they will attack you. My thinking is that you may lose a few hundred dollars (about the cost of a decent gun) but you will be many times more likely not to lose your life and might actually end up making a friend.
Of course all this is in addition to avoidance strategies like sailing in company in dangerous areas, staying aff the coast etc.
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Old 13-01-2006, 13:18   #13
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Rum!?!, right, better put that on my shopping list.
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Old 13-01-2006, 18:12   #14
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Wheels,now I understand and It puts everything I have herd in context. Lodesman,I agree with what you said,I just think what you said should be Par for the course naturally.And I like pwederell's train of thought,maybe having a secret place specially made to put ya goodies in because I would imagine any pirate worth his salt would still do a bit of rummaging around(not that pirates are worth anything,mind you!!)
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Old 13-01-2006, 21:04   #15
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Pwedderell, That is a very well thought out, concice, and practical plan, and I couldn't agree more.
Regardless of training, consider this. Your main purpose is cruising. A pirate's main purpose is stealing through intimidation or violence. While some have gotten lucky shots in, consider it akin to repairing your car with a crescent wrench. You might get the job done, but if it were the brakes you were working on, a mechanic with a tubing wrench and a brake bleeder is going to do a much better job. The brain truly is the best weapon. More specificly, common sense. If you have crew on deck of a million dollar yacht with Rolex's, and diamonds, and are approached by a beat up old wood power boat with men in masks, running up on deck armed is probably going to have a negative result.
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