Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 18-06-2012, 19:05   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2009
Boat: Lagoon 450, Jeanneau 479, & Jeanneau 409
Posts: 174
First Hand Accounts of Legally Cruising with Firearms

As you can see from the title I have a question that I know has the potential to get volatile but...

I'll ask the question up front: For those who have read Noonsite and looked at the available customs information on Caribbean countries website, then gone to those countries, have your experiences been close to what you expected, or have they been very different than what you expected?

The question is for those who have, or do cruise the Caribbean and declare the presence of one or more firearms when they check into a country. I have read all of the threads over the last three years or so that have anything to do with issues that I find to be pertinent to our cruising plans.

I have looked on Noonsite and the information there runs from no restriction, to complete prohibition of anything more lethal than a butter knife. The most common data with respect to firearms is that the weapons must be declared, but they don't say what customs will do. Some of them state that customs will secure the weapons until you leave their country. Some of them only prohibit certain types of weapons.

I have no intention of breaking the laws of the countries we choose to visit, and I can live with having to make a decision to throw a weapon overboard if we really want to visit a country that would jail us for a declared weapon, although we would quite likely just avoid that country.

Please don't reply if you just want to tell me that there is no reason to have a firearm onboard or that there is no way to defend myself and family with one.

Thanks in advance for those who choose to share their experiences.


Lucky Larry
__________________

__________________
Lucky Larry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18-06-2012, 19:45   #2
Do… or do not
 
s/v Jedi's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: in paradise
Boat: Sundeer 64
Posts: 9,198
Re: First hand accounts of legally cruising with firearms

If you decide to take a firearm, make it a standard (no mods) Mossberg shotgun or equivalent. No shortened barrels, pistol grips etc. Don't bring anything else, not even a .22 target pistol for practice shooting.

Second, make sure you have a good, sturdy gun locker which can be sealed by customs if needed.

The reasons for the above are that a standard shotgun is often viewed more as a tool than a weapon. Much like a machete. Many locals take them (if they can afford one) when hiking through jungle, swamps etc. for protection vs snakes, crocs and other wildlife... people are used to them in that role. They normally have rifles for hunting.

Handguns (anything easily concealable) cause big problems almost everywhere, as do assault rifles.

Make sure you have the original invoice which states the serial number (= source document). Also make sure you have an exact inventory of type and number of shells. You need all that for declaring it.

I have reported a shotgun in countries that are supposed to collect them for the duration of your stay but they didn't require me to bring it in. I once had to tell it was safely inside a locked gun locker and that was good enough. I have heard that others had to bring the same type of gun in with the same officer. I think the customs officers look you in the eye and profile you... and I somehow come out looking good and they can decide let it under your responsibility... or not.

There are some countries where you have to bring it in no matter what. Trinidad and Bonaire come to mind.

I don't think you really need one anymore because the tricky places have become no-go places. The biggest risk is riots/looters after hurricane or other natural disaster.

cheers,
Nick.
__________________

__________________
s/v Jedi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18-06-2012, 21:02   #3
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2009
Boat: Lagoon 450, Jeanneau 479, & Jeanneau 409
Posts: 174
Re: First hand accounts of legally cruising with firearms

Nick,

Thanks for the advice. From what I've experienced in my limited sailing in the Caribbean, I agree that they are not needed for the most part. But there are certainly exceptions, which we will avoid if at all possible.


Lucky Larry
__________________
Lucky Larry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18-06-2012, 21:16   #4
Do… or do not
 
s/v Jedi's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: in paradise
Boat: Sundeer 64
Posts: 9,198
Re: First hand accounts of legally cruising with firearms

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucky Larry View Post
Nick,

Thanks for the advice. From what I've experienced in my limited sailing in the Caribbean, I agree that they are not needed for the most part. But there are certainly exceptions, which we will avoid if at all possible.


Lucky Larry
Whatever you do, stay away from Venezuela, Nicaragua, Honduras, Mexico. Without a gun you can go to Mexico. You can still go to the Rogues and Aves archipelagos of Venezuela and the Bay Islands of Honduras.

Be careful in St Vincent, St Lucia and be street-wise everywhere else. Avoid tourist traps.

cheers,
Nick.
__________________
s/v Jedi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-06-2012, 06:10   #5
Senior Cruiser
 
colemj's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Presently on US East Coast
Boat: Manta 40 "Reach"
Posts: 10,049
Images: 12
Re: First hand accounts of legally cruising with firearms

Quote:
Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
I think the customs officers look you in the eye and profile you... and I somehow come out looking good...
But you have the Jedi mind trick - "...these are not the guns you are looking for..."
__________________
www.svreach.com

You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.
colemj is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-06-2012, 06:57   #6
Do… or do not
 
s/v Jedi's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: in paradise
Boat: Sundeer 64
Posts: 9,198
Re: First hand accounts of legally cruising with firearms

Quote:
Originally Posted by colemj View Post
But you have the Jedi mind trick - "...these are not the guns you are looking for..."
That must be it! plus they know the lightsaber is gonna come out if they don't fall for that

ciao!
Nick.
__________________
s/v Jedi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-06-2012, 07:10   #7
Registered User
 
pressuredrop's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: West Palm Beach
Boat: Allied Seawind 30
Posts: 794
Re: First hand accounts of legally cruising with firearms

Quote:
Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
Whatever you do, stay away from Venezuela, Nicaragua, Honduras, Mexico. Without a gun you can go to Mexico. You can still go to the Rogues and Aves archipelagos of Venezuela and the Bay Islands of Honduras.

Be careful in St Vincent, St Lucia and be street-wise everywhere else. Avoid tourist traps.

cheers,
Nick.
nick is the carib side of nica still a problem? i had lots of "stories" prior to going to the pacific side (by plane and taxi) for 3 weeks one summer and 6 weeks the next, have not visited the carib side or by boat, but had have nothing but wonderful experiences in that country...
__________________
pressuredrop is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-06-2012, 07:14   #8
Registered User
 
pressuredrop's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: West Palm Beach
Boat: Allied Seawind 30
Posts: 794
Re: First hand accounts of legally cruising with firearms

to contribute to the thread, based on my limited cruising experience in the bahamas, lots of people are cruising with firearms (an AK47 in one case on a 43 viking motor cruiser), not a lot of people are declaring said firearms...
__________________
pressuredrop is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-06-2012, 07:31   #9
Do… or do not
 
s/v Jedi's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: in paradise
Boat: Sundeer 64
Posts: 9,198
Re: First hand accounts of legally cruising with firearms

Quote:
Originally Posted by pressuredrop View Post
nick is the carib side of nica still a problem? i had lots of "stories" prior to going to the pacific side (by plane and taxi) for 3 weeks one summer and 6 weeks the next, have not visited the carib side or by boat, but had have nothing but wonderful experiences in that country...
Yes, I wouldn't have listed it otherwise. It isn't so much real pirates as just trouble in general incl. from officials.

I must add the whole of Hispaniola to my list, except maybe a couple of places in Republica Dominica, like Luperon... but it's been a long time since I've been there so my info on that is dated.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pressuredrop View Post
to contribute to the thread, based on my limited cruising experience in the bahamas, lots of people are cruising with firearms (an AK47 in one case on a 43 viking motor cruiser), not a lot of people are declaring said firearms...
Yes, I find it crazy the type and amount of guns that some (it says -some-) US boats carry. However, I think it's all legal in the Bahamas.

cheers,
Nick.
__________________
s/v Jedi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-06-2012, 08:14   #10
Registered User
 
capn_billl's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Houston,Tx
Boat: Maxum 37'
Posts: 1,587
Re: First hand accounts of legally cruising with firearms

Quote:
Originally Posted by pressuredrop View Post
to contribute to the thread, based on my limited cruising experience in the bahamas, lots of people are cruising with firearms (an AK47 in one case on a 43 viking motor cruiser), not a lot of people are declaring said firearms...
The Bahamas is one country,...close to the US, and kinda used to it. I wouldn't try it anywhere else.
__________________
capn_billl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-06-2012, 08:18   #11
Registered User
 
jeremiason's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Punta Gorda, Florida
Boat: Sea Ray 270
Posts: 1,427
Images: 2
Send a message via ICQ to jeremiason Send a message via Yahoo to jeremiason Send a message via Skype™ to jeremiason
Re: First hand accounts of legally cruising with firearms

Just a question concerning those of you who carry firearms, beyond the declaring part....

Many foreign countries lock you up first and ask questions later...

What is your plan if you do use the weapon, especially against a citizen of the host coutry, regardless of his intentions? Planning on dumping the body or dealing with the local authorities?

Thanks
__________________
Tom Jeremiason
Punta Gorda, Florida

jeremiason is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-06-2012, 08:42   #12
Pusher of String
 
foolishsailor's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: On the hard; Trinidad
Boat: Trisbal 42, Aluminum Cutter Rigged Sloop
Posts: 2,314
Images: 19
Re: First hand accounts of legally cruising with firearms

My first ever professional gig outside the U.S. was an "assisted" delivery of a 63' sloop from Cartagena to Curacao.

The owner was an ex divorce attorney with bleeding ulcers from stress who was told "quit or die" so decided to transplant his family from thier life to a sailing life. 'nuuf said you can imagine the situation....

...anyway he was a gun fan.

He had on board a Shotgun, 45, .306 rifle and what to my untrained eyes looked like an AK47??? dont think it was as it was not fully automatic but had the classic bannan clip.

So, we check into Curacao after a miserable upwind slog. He hands over all his guns and I am not exaggerating, a full garbage bag of ammunition to the customs agent.

The agent looks straight at him and with no humor asks, "Are you planning a coup?"

Love the Dutch!!!

I almost choked, and you can imagine the homour was lost on the owner...

All that firepower and all checked in, useless.

I am anti-gun - however when sailing around Punta Gallianas after hearing of several attempted boardings back in '93 I was glad to have the guns aboard...thats just being honest...
__________________
"So, rather than appear foolish afterward, I renounce seeming clever now."
William of Baskerville

"You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm."
Sidonie Gabrielle Colette
foolishsailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-06-2012, 08:57   #13
Registered User
 
Amapola's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Florida
Boat: Matlack, Trawler, 48 ft
Posts: 809
Re: First hand accounts of legally cruising with firearms

We've declared our 45 in the Bahamas many times. Just make sure you declare the correct number of rounds. I once declared a box that I thought contained 50 rounds only to find that it was a 100 rounds when I was later boarded by the police. All was forgiven because it was an honest mistake but I was warned to make sure I decalre the correct number in the future.
__________________
The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.
—Jacques Yves Costeau
Amapola is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-06-2012, 09:30   #14
Registered User
 
capn_billl's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Houston,Tx
Boat: Maxum 37'
Posts: 1,587
Re: First hand accounts of legally cruising with firearms

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeremiason View Post
Just a question concerning those of you who carry firearms, beyond the declaring part....

Many foreign countries lock you up first and ask questions later...

What is your plan if you do use the weapon, especially against a citizen of the host coutry, regardless of his intentions? Planning on dumping the body or dealing with the local authorities?

Thanks
I plan on not walk, but running to the nearest US consolate, that is their job.
__________________
capn_billl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-06-2012, 16:48   #15
Registered User
 
avb3's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Florida/Alberta
Boat: Lippincott 30
Posts: 9,913
Images: 1
Re: First hand accounts of legally cruising with firearms

Quote:
Originally Posted by capn_billl View Post
I plan on not walk, but running to the nearest US consolate, that is their job.
Er, their country, their rules. US consulate will tell you the same.
__________________

__________________
If your attitude resembles the south end of a bull heading north, it's time to turn around.
avb3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
cruising

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 19:48.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.