Without a doubt, in the parts
of the world that most "rational people" would choose to cruise, guns onboard not only make your cruising much more complicated, and you less welcome, they make you and your family
far less safe. If they do get shot, it is more likely to be with YOUR gun, or perhaps the angry or fearful cruiser next to you, because you drug into him.
In the occasional cases of a boat being boarded by petty thieves, (in third world countries), they usually have either no weapons at all, or perhaps a machete, but almost NEVER a gun. In these countries guns are VERY hard to come by, and it is not legal to kill someone that is an apparent threat, if he has a machete and you have a gun. Your boat will be confiscated and YOU WILL GO TO JAIL FOR A LONG TIME! The same is true if you simply, don't declare your guns. They take this VERY serious!
I'm not suggesting being a pacifist. An excellent deterrent to someone trying to board your boat is Wasp Spray (effective for 20'), or closer up... pepper spray. If they are trying to make off with your dinghy
, a Wrist Rocket sling shot and ball bearings is quite effective. Because they are non lethal ways to get the person off of your boat in a hurry, they do not have the moral imperative to wait for a considerable length of time to find out if the person is really a threat, because 95% of them are not. They are just dirt poor, petty thieves.
There is no absolute safety
, and ultimately, none of us gets out alive, however, If you really want to improve your odds of a violence and crime free experience when you visit a third world country, this is how you do it:
Learn about their culture before you get there... I have come back to my boat to find a bunch of indian kids
. They were harmless & merely curious about Norte Americanos' barca. Simply sitting down & exchanging awkward smiles worked here. NO ONE deserves to die for their ignorance of our boat etiquette, or because we are fearful of what they MIGHT do. The guy approaching in a dugout probably wants to bum a cigarette!
Even among third world thieves, killing their victims is just not their M.O. Your safest route
is to defuse the situation with profound politeness and cooperation, rather than escalate the situation by brandishing a gun.
Listen to radio
nets, and avoid the dangerous countries, areas, coves, people, and neighborhoods.
If you still need to pass through or anchor
in these places, do so in company of other boats.
Use motion detector alarms on deck
in the above situation.
Don't have ANYTHING loose on deck, like coolers, jugs, fishing gear
Your big prize is the Dinghy
or it's OB motor
. Use one of those pipe locks on the motor
& string up the dink EVERY night.
Have subtle boom level anchor
lights to illuminate the deck.
Don't walk around on shore drunk or late at night.
When you leave the boat, leave the stereo going so it appears that you are still home.
Don't wear jewelry, fancy watches, or the trappings of our comparative wealth on shore. "Dress down". Also, PAY ATTENTION to your surroundings.
The safest route
is to cruise SMART, not armed with lethal weapons...
This being Christmas
eve, PEACE everyone!