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Old 25-03-2009, 16:15   #61
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Originally Posted by SCCatSailor View Post
When you talk about your "gun locker", what exactly is it? A separate cabinet with a simple lock? Have any authorities ever inspected it?
It's a vertical narrow locker just hight enough for a shotgun with a lock and finished the same as the rest of the interior. It is not a vault, but you need the key or break wood to get to it.

The countries we've been to with the shotgun never bothered to inspect it.

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Also, it sounds like you declare your guns when you check into new countries? I'd be curious to hear of specific examples and specific responses. From reading some of the other threads, Noonsite and official government sites, declaring a gun can create a huge hassle and often involve storing the gun with officials (and likely never seeing it again). However, you make no mention of this. What's your experience been?
Venezuela, Colombia, Panama: they don't even ask. Their concern is drugs and illegal immigrants only.
Bonaire: have to leave it with Customs and pick up 30 minutes before your departure. This is a very small island so it's not a problem. You even have to give up your flare gun.
Curacao: Are supposed to come and collect it, and bring it back just before you leave. However, I declared it 5 times and they only asked once if I had it safe in a locker. I answered "yes" and that was all that was ever said about it.
Aruba: declared it, not a word was said about it.

I am sure that a handgun would have been taken in for the duration of your stay in Curacao and Aruba and probably the same for a rifle.

I know of only one country that will take guns from visiting foreign flagged cruisers without giving them back and that is the USA and PR. How about that! We already downloaded forms from the ATF and Homeland Security for a temporary import-permit for foreigners (both are at no cost) but will need to add a $20.- hunting license for Alaska before we arrive. With those three you can enter anywhere in the continental USA. You choose the Alaska permit because it's the cheapest one, without the right to take game (personal protection against wildlife permit).

I'm also a bit worried about Mexico. Not just for my gun....

Not direct experience but entered there and observed what happened to cruisers with guns:

Bahama's: must declare but allow anything I think... a mini-14 was no problem.
Dominican Republic: The commandante in every port will hold it for the duration of your stay. Have to do that in every port but this isn't a problem because you must go there anyway. The commandante in Luperon once called all yachts on the VHF: "come and collect your guns because there is a thief around and he must be stopped". Theft wasn't an issue anymore after that ;-) Gun from friends had been cleaned and maintained.
PR: If you are not a Puerto Rico citizen, you loose your gun, period.
Trinidad: Customs hold your guns for the duration of your stay.

I am not sure for all the nations I skipped, maybe others can fill us in. I was never asked about it but don't remember if it was on the forms.

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On a separate note, I also have a Taser. Anyone have any experience with officials and Tasers?
Many will not know what it is but I think it will be considered as a handgun.

ciao!
Nick.
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Old 25-03-2009, 16:15   #62
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Does anyone know where there are statistics on assaults of cruisers while on board (not on land as you cannot probably carry in lot of countries)?
All the places you can't carry them ashore are the same ones you can't carry them in their waters either. You on your boat within the country boundaries is subject to the same laws as you on land. Persons along for the ride with you go to jail too.

Stats in the open ocean are nil next to none given no one takes jurisdiction and witnesses are also victims of the attack. The number of people killed or attacked has some stats posted on noonsite.com. They are not up to date on a daily basis though. If you are aboard anchored near land I don't see that your risk is any lower or higher than walking down the street.

Flare guns seem to be most effective in the movies should you find yourself in the middle of a movie set. They are the weapon of choice due to the visual effects they provide. Shark guns are second best since they have a deadly slow motion appeal. They are also considered a deadly weapon by many some countries. If you land in jail for a deadly weapon charges you would be better off with something that might actually work. Large caliber automatic weapons seem to be the preferred weapon fired from a distance when confronting organized attackers. Lead flying on a fiberglass boat just does not seem to lead to victory very often. The protection afforded is minimal. A blind shot is actually pretty easy from outside the boat. It really is unimportant what you believe. General avoidance tactics will be more effective than lightning protection in terms of the odds. There are a whole lot simpler ways to get killed that happen far more often. This thread is close to coming to an end as all the rest have dine before. The new pirate thread may last a bit longer if you feel the need to follow that one.
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Old 25-03-2009, 16:50   #63
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Tight quarters fighting is scary, your hands are shaking like nothing else, you are backing away from the intruder and firing any which way. Any one in the military will tell you close quarters shooting is one of the scariest things you will ever do.
It will be over before you can reload or get another gun, believe me.
John, you are right, you need steel nerves. But if you are protecting your life and that of your family, adrenaline will keep you at it.

Also, remember that you are hiding inside with a clear shot at a very small entrance. It's the bad guys that can only come in one by one and must be very scared. I think it's the drugs that they take that make it possible for them to actually go inside in these situations, no sensible man would do it.

When I was in the army we actually practiced "enter and clear" buildings. The only way to do that and live to tell is using grenades. As the baddies here don't have those (yet?) the plan we have works.

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Originally Posted by amytom View Post
What you said is true, that's why I just put money down on a new weapon that has a 7+1 magazine instead of 5+1. If size wasn't an issue I would carry a PT92 with 15+1 magazine. That, some common sense, and a close relationship with God.
Ah, but this isn't for on the boat, right? It's called a clip, btw ;-) You can't carry a handgun ashore anywhere I think. I know it must be registered and licensed here in Panama. Glock 19 is a 15+1 compact ??!! You can't go much smaller than a Glock 26 which is still 10+1. For use aboard I would vote for the Glock 19 as size doesn't matter

I agree with other posters that we should get back on topic so uses aboard only, so we can keep the thread going.

cheers,
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Old 25-03-2009, 17:06   #64
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This thread has been most respectful and civil to both sides of the issue and has had good input. I cringe that it is either compared to the other previous gun threads at this point, or for an arbitrary exercise of power is simply closed. But then, it's not my board.
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Old 25-03-2009, 18:15   #65
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This thread has been most respectful and civil to both sides of the issue and has had good input. I cringe that it is either compared to the other previous gun threads at this point, or for an arbitrary exercise of power is simply closed. But then, it's not my board.

I agree.

Also noted is what someone said about starting a new thread instead of just reading an old one.

Jedi is an example of a newer member who seems to have some real world experience and does not mind sharing particulars. This is a first for me and I have read most of everything for years. Every other one has someone with "experience" saying your guns will be confiscated and maybe returned upon exit, so forget about it, it ain't worth it. Every one.

Now comes some new information that is oh so different. Remarkably different.

HMMM.....

Go ahead P, shut it down if you don't like it. It is your ball, but I have read nothing on this thread that is against the "rules" as I know them.
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Old 25-03-2009, 20:18   #66
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This is a cruisers forum and probably the majority that read and contribute are at least 40 but probably the other side of 50 and the last thing they will be looking to do is shoot anyone. But if you read this thread it seems many are armed and ready for the next confrontation. It will not matter to me whether you are the good guy or the bad guy, pull a gun and you will not receive any help from my boat any time any place.
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Old 25-03-2009, 20:45   #67
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This is a cruisers forum and probably the majority that read and contribute are at least 40 but probably the other side of 50 and the last thing they will be looking to do is shoot anyone. But if you read this thread it seems many are armed and ready for the next confrontation. It will not matter to me whether you are the good guy or the bad guy, pull a gun and you will not receive any help from my boat any time any place.

Good to know.
Thanks.

I on the other hand am one of those that will help anyone, anytime.

Stupid me.
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Old 25-03-2009, 21:51   #68
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Originally Posted by Therapy View Post
Jedi is an example of a newer member who seems to have some real world experience and does not mind sharing particulars. This is a first for me and I have read most of everything for years. Every other one has someone with "experience" saying your guns will be confiscated and maybe returned upon exit, so forget about it, it ain't worth it. Every one.
I am new here but have been active on usenet and forums since 1993.. I understand the need for moderation and try to steer clear of moderator intervention in this thread... not easy ;-) Keeping on topic is the best way to accomplish that but little sidesteps like John's and my reply that don't break other rules will be tolerated I think/hope.

My view is this: the chance that your boat sinks is really small. The chance that you are boarded by criminals is really small. We discuss both.

About sharing particulars: we have nothing to hide. We declare the gun and if we loose it, we don't cry because we have no emotional attachment to it and would love to sail in a world without guns. Many cruisers do not declare their gun(s). Now you don't talk too much because you're already scared before anything happens. I would not like to cruise that way, we do this for fun!

Also, many people who say or write that guns will be confiscated do not have guns aboard and are against having them aboard. That isn't very objective and there is no support for their statements like experiences and/or pointers to on-line info. I really believe that besides military/assault versions of guns, the only countries around or near the Caribbean that confiscate guns are Puerto Rico, USA and maybe Mexico. With all the rest: you enter with a gun, you leave with that gun, unless some corrupt official falls in love with your gun. You can avoid that by not bringing expensive and/or exotic guns. I mean, a new .44 magnum revolver in stainless steel is a tempting piece of precision engineering, especially when all you ever see locally is $10.- .38 S&W right? They only ever saw that in movies or on TV!

Many countries will take your gun for the duration of your stay. That is not confiscating, they will return it to you when you leave. This will be a real pain when you cruise Western Europe or down under. But the most popular cruising destinations are 3rd world or close and many will allow you to keep a shotgun aboard, even if their law says no. Having a decent gun locker helps too, as customs officials can seal it just like they can do that for big quantities of alcohol, tabacco etc. You're not allowed to bring it into the country, but you are not doing that, you are in transit. The official decides on a case by case basis. Also, customs officials don't go waving their arms in panic if they visit your boat and you tell them you have guns aboard. They are used to guns, have guns themselves too and deal with that situation every day. But they will look at you carefully and profile you and decide to allow them aboard or take them in bond. Although I have a pony-tail, their profiling correctly puts me in the "geek" category because I never have trouble... they somehow know that I am responsible enough for a self-defense weapon. I also always respect them, invite them aboard and keep things pleasant. It works both ways.

The most important thing is that you yourself must be completely at ease with guns, proficient in their use (official training incl. safety procedures), willing to maintain them and willing to take that extra step during formalities with entry and exit procedures. If you don't have all of these, you shouldn't have a gun aboard, so I agree that many should not do it.

Putting the gun in a bag and bringing it to Customs is much less work than filling in the forms there. You must go there anyway. I read posts that say you have to collect it in your port of entry which might be a thousand miles away from your intended port of exit. But I wonder if these posters actually experienced that and if they asked the officials if they could transport your gun to your intended port of exit. They might charge you for that but I think many, if not all will do it (I heard cruisers telling they arranged that). They will surely refuse if you start yelling at them etc. (and really guys, I have seen that so often, it's amazing that the officials can stay cool instead of throwing them in jail... it gets really bad sometimes incl. cursing and worse).

ciao!
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Old 25-03-2009, 22:52   #69
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Originally Posted by meyermm View Post
This is a cruisers forum and probably the majority that read and contribute are at least 40 but probably the other side of 50 and the last thing they will be looking to do is shoot anyone.
I fully agree.

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But if you read this thread it seems many are armed and ready for the next confrontation. It will not matter to me whether you are the good guy or the bad guy, pull a gun and you will not receive any help from my boat any time any place.
When we see a cruiser pulling a gun for fun or showing off, we leave; we get scared even. If I see a cruiser pulling a gun in an attempt to save his life, I will forbid my wife to try and help and I'm not so sure if I am brave enough to go and help either... I would not be able to help anyway because I am not trained for that. So we are not much different there. But I am sure we both would try to assist with first aid in the aftermath, wouldn't you? We even have the new Celox clotting agent in our medical kit that might save a life sometime, not just for gunshot wounds but for any serious bleeding ( Amazon.com: Celox: Health & Personal Care )

But, like I wrote before: you will never see my shotgun because it's safe and secured in the locker; if I wouldn't have posted here, you would never know I had one unless you asked me. I pray I never have to get it out except for maintenance or practice.

But there are hunters in Australia, aren't there? And sports shooting like clay targets or Olympic disciplines incl. biathlon? Ah.. no snow?

ciao!
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Old 25-03-2009, 23:33   #70
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This seemed to be the best category for this thread.

Years ago, I heard a captain that used to helm a 60 (or so) Hatteras say that anytime they went on long journeys, they'd travel well armed. In other words, a couple of weapons. According to him, they would leave San Juan, Puerto Rico and travel up to New York. Stops along the way, I don't know, but that is besides the point.

I've haven't been been on such a long journey like that. I would usually jump from island to island down the Caribbean. But, eventually I would like to do some long distance cruising. I've thought about whether I should be armed or not, for such a journey.

What is your take on being armed for long distance cruising?
Nick this is what this thread was supposed to be about and so far you have lectured us on the A to Z of guns so I think that is called going off the thread. Secondly the world is not North and South America to those not from that part of the world. Circumnavigation is not going around the America's and yes we do have guns here Aussie but if you see one I suggest you duck for cover.
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Old 25-03-2009, 23:55   #71
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I have travelled through seas off Asia and have seen a lot of fishing boats approach where nearly everyone onboard is wearing a black balaclava. I often wonder how people perceive this action if they are not used to this area and what their immediate reaction might be. Every time it has been to check out your yacht, trade, tell you that you’re running over their nets etc, as for the balaclava – that is to keep the sun off. If you did have a gun on board what would your actions be?
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Old 26-03-2009, 00:33   #72
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Ok people, I'm seeing some of you are getting irritated. I've found this thread quite informative. I actually vote to have it stopped but not erased. Stopped so that it cannot get all out of control, but still kept here for the benefit of those would want to read it and learn a thing or two.

There is a lot more discussed here than what I expected. And that's a good thing. I appreciate all you guys who took the time to reply and share the knowledge.

To recap:

• Keep it legal
• Don't carry expensive weapons
• Only carry a weapon if you are trained to use it. Otherwise go unarmed.
• Hand guns are frowned upon
• Shotguns are probably the best option
• Keep the gun in a locker
• Make sure it is well-maintained
• Use common sense, plan-ahead and be prepared.


So please, can I ask that we put it to rest? I think it's enough for now. Again, thanks.
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Old 26-03-2009, 00:43   #73
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Nick this is what this thread was supposed to be about and so far you have lectured us on the A to Z of guns so I think that is called going off the thread. Secondly the world is not North and South America to those not from that part of the world. Circumnavigation is not going around the America's and yes we do have guns here Aussie but if you see one I suggest you duck for cover.
Ah, but the reference given for "long distance cruising" was Puerto Rico to NYC, not a circumnavigation. I am aware that the situation down under might be very different from here (I wasn't there so I can't write much about it, but you can, why don't you post about specifics for your area?), but the OP is clearly asking about this part because he's in the Caribbean island hopping and referenced PR -> NYC.

"Armed" vs "A to Z of guns". You may be right that the OP didn't mean to limit this to guns. But guns are definitely "weapons" and if you have them you are considered to be "armed", so I think that's on topic. Also, I have no good knowledge about other weapons but others posted about knives, electrified lifelines etc. so about the whole range of options is being discussed.

I realize that you would rather see this thread closed or everybody singing in harmony that guns shouldn't be aboard, but why don't you give cruisers that have a different opinion a chance for this thread? You can ignore it or just read it thinking how silly we are instead of posting flame bait for me... I try to keep this thread open so I won't bite. Many others show their interest in the thread, even appreciate it. It would be a shame if your posts cause it to being closed because you would dictate what others can write or not which is more suited for a blog than for an open forum imho. Maybe, if your read your last post again, you will realize that it is written solely about my writing and thus more off topic than my posts! I have read and understand the boards rules and think this thread is conforming just as good as the aft cockpit vs center cockpit or good-looking/ugly cat threads.

So, back to topic and hoping I can involve you into the topic too: what's the situation down under? Are there boardings with assault or is it just theft? Are there pirates?

cheers,
Nick.
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Old 26-03-2009, 00:55   #74
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Well. I must add, for most people, going from PR to NYC, or from Florida to Dominican Republic, is long distance cruising. It may not be going from one continent to another, or circumnavigating. But, it's still long. The issue at hand applies anywhere. What's the issue at hand? Simple: How safe are you?

I might be more "paranoid" than some. I always lock my car, lock my doors, have a 360 awareness of what is going on around me, etc. Therefore, even if I'm simply living in a Marina, I know my companion way door can be kicked in, in 2 seconds. This can happen in California; this can happen halfway around the world.

If I'm living alone in my boat. I'm not too worried. If my family is with me, that's a different story. So, if a shotgun pointed at the companion way door, when someone is trying to kick it in, can save my family. Then a shotgun it is.

This is only one, of multiple scenarios. But, it's our responsibility to be informed, whether or not we agree.
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Old 26-03-2009, 00:55   #75
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I have travelled through seas off Asia and have seen a lot of fishing boats approach where nearly everyone onboard is wearing a black balaclava. I often wonder how people perceive this action if they are not used to this area and what their immediate reaction might be. Every time it has been to check out your yacht, trade, tell you that you’re running over their nets etc, as for the balaclava – that is to keep the sun off. If you did have a gun on board what would your actions be?
A situation like that is why you need to think about procedures, read a book or website about the issue and make a plan. It's the same as for fire aboard, sinking, man overboard or other stressful situations: know what to do.

I posted our "plan" earlier in this thread and if one acted according to that plan, these fisherman never see your gun and all is good. You must realize that all commercial ships have such a plan too, they are even trained in it and when a boat like you describe approaches them, they will take all their anti-piracy measures like locking doors, closing gates to prevent access to the bridge etc. Navy ships will not allow them inside their security perimeter at all. If they would ignore the warnings from the warship and continue their approach, they would be subjected to direct fire. Their concern is not piracy of course, it's a small boat loaded with explosives that they are afraid of.

cheers,
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