In Florida, If, and only if, you get boarded by officials, of many types; Marine
Police, Coast Guard, Wildlife, Sheriff Dept, etc. They will ask you if they can come aboard. Then if you have any weapons...and they look in your eyes to determine where you have them and if your answer is true. When they board you, there will be at least 2 or 3 officials, one will ask the questions while the other is busy gathering all your line cutting and kitchen knives. They are more concerned about a knife because those can pierce a vest. Bullets are not supposed to.
Questions are: Where are you going, from where, how many days travelling, purpose of the travel, and paperwork to prove you are current
and have paid all the fees
and you have no warrants for your arrest. Be polite and truthful. Police protect you and you are able to protect them also if necessary.
My experience is that they just want to know 'where' the firearm is so you don't go in that direction.... for your benefit. Most times they don't ask specifically what you have. If it's visible, they would unload it and hold it away from you, but they would tell you where they hid those knives and your weapon when satisfied asking about your trip.
In Fl., handguns can be carried loaded and ready, on any vehicle or boat as long as they are 'encased', meaning in a zippered or snap case, even a holster that is closed or 'encased', or a box or drawer of any kind. Don't just have it laying on a table without being 'encased' or under a seat for ease of use.... unless you have a valid permit.
If you have a permit to carry, let it be known to the officials. You will have a few Reciprocal States to that 'permit' on the way to Fl., look them up but the States north of the Carolinas are the problem.
You are allowed to travel with a handgun even on a commercial
aircraft by 'encasing' it in a locked box in your checked baggage, with the ammo separate and declaring it. You should be fine having one with you if 'encased' in your car or boat, but....what about those Inter- State transfer of arms? Look into that !.
If you decide to exercise your right to have some means of protection, since you cannot depend on anyone else helping, "buy a shotgun" like Joe, the VP said. A cheap, used 12 gauge shotgun with good capacity for buck shot to make big holes on threatening hulls, will happily rust slowly as your guardian. It will be more efficient than a handgun and much more feared if presented when it's proper to do so. Keep it wrapped in a plastic garbage bag with some dessicant packets and in a zippered long gun case in the cabin
. It's not the guns
that do harm (they can and do save many lives), it's the bad person behind it that does the harm.