Ok I have had fun watching some of the more entertaining responses to this ill conceived thread of mine and I have gotten as much useful information (thanks Gordmay) as I could have hoped for under the circumstances.
But with this last entry I would like to speak to the big picture and to the "spray sayers"
1st off: I had no interest in debating the modern interpretation of the 2nd amendment. This subject has nothing to do with it. I am not afraid of rabbits and birds nor do I have any desire to do them harm. I do not believe the govt. is afraid of gun owners, some of their constituents may be, but i believe the status quo is safe for some time.
To the point:
Why would I or anyone else who is not a gun freak or a paranoid alarmist (and as I said, I am not) want a weapon on their boat?
Well, to me it is not of any use while tooling down the ICW
(which, it seems is ironically the only place one could do it with out much hassle). I see it as one of those tools that are reserved for eventualities that are so rare that the vast majority of people will never need them...yet are real and terrifying enough to want to be prepared, just real enough that it may warrant reserving a few square inches of precious space for a hopefully, useless tool...comparable to perhaps an EPIRB
(for lack of a better example).
is a relatively expensive item that will likely (and hopefully) do nothing for you other than take up space. But the thought of the circumstances that require its use, however rare this may be, are terrifying. So too is the thought of the circumstances that would require the use of a weapon (rare yet terrifying). And I mean an ACTUAL weapon.
Having seen some of the responses here (the ones outlining the clever alternatives to an actual weapon) I am compelled to explain exactly what it is I would hope to gain from a weapon. To me the main point of having it is to prevent an injurious confrontation to begin with. To me it has the singular purpose of contending with one particular situation: premeditated organized piracy
where the goal of the other party is to take your home by force.
It is not to prevent the sticky fingers of petty thieves and in reality, probably would be of limited use, if any, in contending with the surprise situation of intruders already aboard while sleeping at anchor
(chances are a weapon is secured out of immediate arm's reach). IE: if yer unfortunate and caught with yer pants down not much can be done anyway. Sort of like an EPIRB's usefulness if you fall overboard
unexpectedly and unbeknown to your fellow crew mate(s) in the middle of a night watch...
The usefulness of a bona fide weapon is in a fairly narrow set of circumstances as I see it, however rare they might be. When you are off the coast of Peru
, the west coast Africa
, or tooling through Indonesia
and that "fishing" boat steaming toward you begins to look a little too interested in what you are doing and not too interested in fishing
It seems to me that at this point if your possession of an actual weapon became known, that the dangerous and abhorrent (not to mention messy) notion of a sword fight, flare gun, spear gun (which incidentally seems to be treated the same as an assault rifle without the benefits), bug spray, or neptune forbid, a blackwater cannon incident could be avoided all together. The point is to AVOID a confrontation, not what to do once in one (i can throw a frying pan with the best of em).
I have read as many accounts of actual piracy
as I can get my hands on and the majority involved somewhat amateurish, even reluctant, individuals sizing the victim up and gathering up the nerve to make an attempt at taking a vessel. With the minority being perpetrated by more purposeful, experienced, and determined pirates with little regard for human life, sizing the victim up.
What they all had in common was that the victims were virtually helpless and once this was apparent to the attackers they were screwed. And it seemed to me that even the more purposeful could have been deterred by the mere presence of an actual weapon. I doubt very much that the prospect of an actual confrontation (ie: getting shot at) is any more desirable to a would be pirate than it is to me (i have better health
I was not kidding when I eluded to my staring down would be attackers with a can of bug spray in hand being less intimidating than staring them down with nothing in hand. I would in fact be more intimidating without it, as I can be a rather intimidating looking fellow...but with it, as intimidating as i might appear, it is quite obvious I cannot do jack squat....leaves nothing to the imagination and tips your hand quite clearly.
All that said, it appears that the "rules of the road" from country to country have more to do with corruption than public safety
. That it is 1000 times more likely that an encounter with foreign maritime law enforcement whom are looking for ANY excuse to extort $ or to take ones vessel outright would lead to more trouble than it is worth. Even our own maritime law enforcement seems to intrinsically be designed to take your stuff without regard to public safety
(thoughts of seized vessels over a marijuana seed come to mind)...basically because they can....I have been to the police auctions.
So now that I have a little more research
under my belt than i did when i posted this: while I am as concerned as the next guy at the rare but terrifying prospect of piracy, I am also not crazy about rolling the dice with my freedom, $ and property every time I enter a new port...While I would prefer to just have an actual weapon it just does not seem feasible given this reality...
So perhaps I will just obtain a rubber assault rifle (pretty sure these are legal) and get a pet skunk (cute) and a katana (cool) for those quiet nights at anchor
and hope for the best