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Old 19-11-2013, 07:37   #1
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Gun Question, part 2

I didn't feel this was following the other thread so I decided to start my own.

Has anyone on this board actually used a gun to defend their boat?

The closest I came was to have the gun by my side at 3AM when approached by a skiff with 5 guy's aboard. I was anchored in a small bay about 5 miles from anywhere. They never saw the gun, but it made me feel better that it was there. They were just about to board when they saw me. I told them to keep going, they did.
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Old 19-11-2013, 07:48   #2
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Re: Gun quewstion, part 2

in dodgy places i used to fire off a few rounds with the mini14 at sunset as the fishermen were going out. (philipines,africa,south america),dunno if that counts as defence......but we were never boarded or attacked.
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Old 19-11-2013, 09:53   #3
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Re: Gun quewstion, part 2

Although an expert marksman in my youth, I no longer keep guns, nor cruise with them. I have had too many acquaintances, friends, and even close family... killed by them. None were saved by the fact that they had a gun close at hand and were trained in its use. In fact, the very having of a gun got them killed in several instances. It escalated a simple robbery into a murder. Statistically... this is usually the case on land or at sea.

In 40 years at pursuing the cruising life... I personally know on NO case where a gun got someone "out" of trouble, (other than a couple of instances that I read about). On the other hand, I know of many many cases where the brandishing of a weapon during a boarding by local thugs, got the people onboard raped, maimed, or killed.

THE INCONVENIENCE FACTOR:
Bear in mind... In most countries, guns MUST be handed over at clearing in, making them unavailable when 90% of the crimes usually occur, (generally NON violent). With one's weapon impounded, before leaving their territorial waters the owner must first return to the island that they cleared in at to get their weapon back, even though it might be 200 miles away from where you now are, at the bottom of that country's island chain. Then you must leave their territory STRAIGHT AWAY, and can not legally go back in the direction you wish to go, by island hopping within their waters. If you cheat & get caught, you loose your boat and go to prison! They take this VERY seriously...

If you are in a country that allows you to keep your gun, they may have you declare your ammo upon arrival. When you leave, you BETTER have the same number of shells, or a good explanation. IF you cheat, same as above...

WHAT ABOUT COMMON THIEVES?
In most of these countries, if you DO get boarded at anchor by a thief brandishing a knife or machete, (rather than a gun), and you shoot them because of what he "might" do to you, you go to prison. It is not at all like our "wild west" mentality here in the US. You can only "match force with like force". You certainly can not shoot the guy making off with your Stiners or dinghy either.

Generally, the safest thing to do in a boarding at anchor is to give them what ever they want. Be as respectful as possible to the ass holes, or at least FAKE IT! Do not escalate their attempt to merely rob you, by making them angry. 90+ % of the time, violence is NOT what they are there for.

TRUE PIRACY AT SEA:
As for the VERY rare "piracy at sea" situations, you can EITHER sail in places like the coast of Somalia, carry an assault rifle, apply constant vigilance, and always shoot first (even though they may WELL be fishermen in need of fuel or water)... OR you can simply cruise without guns to the 99% of the world's oceans that hardly EVER have that type of true piracy. The former case would be amoral, make you unwelcome in most countries, and likely get you killed someday. In the latter case you are welcome everywhere, and FAR more likely to have a "good trip". Wisdom is the best weapon.

There is no "real" safety in life, and none of us gets out alive! It is all a crap shoot, so the best we can do is logically and rationally stack the odds in our favor, by cruising "smart", at the right times of day or year, to relatively safe destinations, and sometimes... in the company of several other boats.

When out of the country, we get as informed as possible about the "current" relative safety of each country, where to go, and where NOT to go. (We don't want to be anchored out on the "wrong side of town"). When ashore in the third world, we avoid making enemies, looking rich, walking around drunk, or other really stupid behavior... This behavior makes one an easy target! We also try to get back out to the boat by sundown, or shortly thereafter, and then hoist the dinghy up alongside as a theft deterrent.

Having said all that... We are not pacifists by any means. We carry pepper and long range wasp spray, a hefty wooden dowel, and to stop the kid trying to make off with the dink, a "Wrist Rocket" slingshot and 3/8" ball bearings. In the rarest imaginable situation where close range lethal force really is the only option, there is always the flare gun.

When cruising the vast majority of "fun" routes and destinations, guns may make some folks "feel" safer, but they will not "really" make them safer. Considering the expense, inconvenience, increased limitations in destinations, and statistical likelihood of escalating a mere robbery into violence, we sail without them. In our sailing tens of thousands of sea miles over decades, visiting dozens of countries, and spending thousands of nights on the hook, we find that "cruising smart" has kept us safe. Due to the easy availability of guns here... once we are out of the US, the risk of violence goes way down and we relax a bit more. Down island, it is quite difficult for common thugs to get one.

Mark
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Old 24-11-2013, 21:39   #4
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Re: Gun quewstion, part 2

Thank You Mark. I appreciate your post. As a gun toting concealed carry person I am glad for this information. When cruising US waters I will use my 2nd amendment rights. When going outside I will pay more attention to people like yourself that have the miles and the knowledge to give. The intent is to enjoy the life at sea and not sail in fear of what may happen. To that end there are common sense things to do to reduce your chance of an encounter. There are also other means of self defense available such as the 12 gage flare gun.
I will adjust accordingly based on my destinations.
For those who want to ward off real pirates I recommend the Marlin stainless guide gun lever action in 45/70 or 450 Marlin with a good low power low light illuminated reticle tactical scope. Has the power and makes big holes in Boats, motors etc. LOL
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Old 25-11-2013, 00:21   #5
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Re: Gun quewstion, part 2

Having sailed to outside US ports armed, I have to agree, going with guns is a PITA, and having to surrender said firearms pretty much renders the whole going armed thing a moot point. In all of the places I have been, I have not seen one instance where a firearm would have made the situation better. Most of the time if there is booze involved, it will only make things worse. On a normal day to day cruising there is little or no need for firearms. Vigilance is what will be your best ally for keeping out of trouble. The rest of the world is not some giant amusement park for your entertainment.
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Old 25-11-2013, 00:24   #6
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Re: Gun quewstion, part 2

I agree 100% If you get the chance a burning phosperous flare would burn through someone given the chance.. If you confront someone robbing and theyve got a gun and you with your gun, chances are they will pannick and youll get hurt first..

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Johnson View Post
Although an expert marksman in my youth, I no longer keep guns, nor cruise with them. I have had too many acquaintances, friends, and even close family... killed by them. None were saved by the fact that they had a gun close at hand and were trained in its use. In fact, the very having of a gun got them killed in several instances. It escalated a simple robbery into a murder. Statistically... this is usually the case on land or at sea.

In 40 years at pursuing the cruising life... I personally know on NO case where a gun got someone "out" of trouble, (other than a couple of instances that I read about). On the other hand, I know of many many cases where the brandishing of a weapon during a boarding by local thugs, got the people onboard raped, maimed, or killed.

THE INCONVENIENCE FACTOR:
Bear in mind... In most countries, guns MUST be handed over at clearing in, making them unavailable when 90% of the crimes usually occur, (generally NON violent). With one's weapon impounded, before leaving their territorial waters the owner must first return to the island that they cleared in at to get their weapon back, even though it might be 200 miles away from where you now are, at the bottom of that country's island chain. Then you must leave their territory STRAIGHT AWAY, and can not legally go back in the direction you wish to go, by island hopping within their waters. If you cheat & get caught, you loose your boat and go to prison! They take this VERY seriously...

If you are in a country that allows you to keep your gun, they may have you declare your ammo upon arrival. When you leave, you BETTER have the same number of shells, or a good explanation. IF you cheat, same as above...

WHAT ABOUT COMMON THIEVES?
In most of these countries, if you DO get boarded at anchor by a thief brandishing a knife or machete, (rather than a gun), and you shoot them because of what he "might" do to you, you go to prison. It is not at all like our "wild west" mentality here in the US. You can only "match force with like force". You certainly can not shoot the guy making off with your Stiners or dinghy either.

Generally, the safest thing to do in a boarding at anchor is to give them what ever they want. Be as respectful as possible to the ass holes, or at least FAKE IT! Do not escalate their attempt to merely rob you, by making them angry. 90+ % of the time, violence is NOT what they are there for.

TRUE PIRACY AT SEA:
As for the VERY rare "piracy at sea" situations, you can EITHER sail in places like the coast of Somalia, carry an assault rifle, apply constant vigilance, and always shoot first (even though they may WELL be fishermen in need of fuel or water)... OR you can simply cruise without guns to the 99% of the world's oceans that hardly EVER have that type of true piracy. The former case would be amoral, make you unwelcome in most countries, and likely get you killed someday. In the latter case you are welcome everywhere, and FAR more likely to have a "good trip". Wisdom is the best weapon.

There is no "real" safety in life, and none of us gets out alive! It is all a crap shoot, so the best we can do is logically and rationally stack the odds in our favor, by cruising "smart", at the right times of day or year, to relatively safe destinations, and sometimes... in the company of several other boats.

When out of the country, we get as informed as possible about the "current" relative safety of each country, where to go, and where NOT to go. (We don't want to be anchored out on the "wrong side of town"). When ashore in the third world, we avoid making enemies, looking rich, walking around drunk, or other really stupid behavior... This behavior makes one an easy target! We also try to get back out to the boat by sundown, or shortly thereafter, and then hoist the dinghy up alongside as a theft deterrent.

Having said all that... We are not pacifists by any means. We carry pepper and long range wasp spray, a hefty wooden dowel, and to stop the kid trying to make off with the dink, a "Wrist Rocket" slingshot and 3/8" ball bearings. In the rarest imaginable situation where close range lethal force really is the only option, there is always the flare gun.

When cruising the vast majority of "fun" routes and destinations, guns may make some folks "feel" safer, but they will not "really" make them safer. Considering the expense, inconvenience, increased limitations in destinations, and statistical likelihood of escalating a mere robbery into violence, we sail without them. In our sailing tens of thousands of sea miles over decades, visiting dozens of countries, and spending thousands of nights on the hook, we find that "cruising smart" has kept us safe. Due to the easy availability of guns here... once we are out of the US, the risk of violence goes way down and we relax a bit more. Down island, it is quite difficult for common thugs to get one.

Mark
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Old 25-11-2013, 02:01   #7
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I would also 100% agree with Mark. Having sailed once or twice with firearms , they are a whole level of hassle and I've never seen any case where they would have helped or even if they might , you don't have them cause you've handed them in.

I now enjoy them purely to drill accurate little holes in paper targets, even if I seem to be getting worse as I age !

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Old 25-11-2013, 05:58   #8
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[QUOTE=" For those who want to ward off real pirates I recommend the Marlin stainless guide gun lever action in 45/70 or 450 Marlin with a good low power low light illuminated reticle tactical scope. Has the power and makes big holes in Boats, motors etc. LOL[/QUOTE]

For real pirates, I recommend the Barrett 50 caliber. You can reach out and touch someone from a mile away. Grin.
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Old 25-11-2013, 06:38   #9
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Re: Gun Question, part 2

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don1500 View Post
I didn't feel this was following the other thread so I decided to start my own.

Has anyone on this board actually used a gun to defend their boat?

The closest I came was to have the gun by my side at 3AM when approached by a skiff with 5 guy's aboard. I was anchored in a small bay about 5 miles from anywhere. They never saw the gun, but it made me feel better that it was there. They were just about to board when they saw me. I told them to keep going, they did.
Of course there was the late Sir Peter Blake. He lost his life for the sake of an outboard and some wrist watches. Mark makes some really exceptional points. The USA is probably unique in the developed world as far as its 2nd amendment is concerned. When travelling O/S one really needs to remember that cultures vary immensely and a "right" to bare arms does not exist in most countries. While its not illegal in many, the process of ownership and usage is much more difficult.
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Old 25-11-2013, 06:52   #10
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Re: Gun Question, part 2

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For real pirates, I recommend the Barrett 50 caliber. You can reach out and touch someone from a mile away. Grin.
On a moving yacht? Yeah right
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Old 25-11-2013, 06:53   #11
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Re: Gun quewstion, part 2

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Originally Posted by atoll View Post
in dodgy places i used to fire off a few rounds with the mini14 at sunset as the fishermen were going out. (philipines,africa,south america),dunno if that counts as defence......but we were never boarded or attacked.
How did you manage that?
Surely they would have to be handed in on arrival in a new country?
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Old 25-11-2013, 07:01   #12
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Re: Gun quewstion, part 2

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How did you manage that?
Surely they would have to be handed in on arrival in a new country?
what is the point of having a semi automatic rifle if you hand it in everywhere
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Old 25-11-2013, 07:14   #13
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Re: Gun quewstion, part 2

[QUOTE=Mark Johnson;1394931]In 40 years at pursuing the cruising life... I personally know on NO case where a gun got someone "out" of trouble, (other than a couple of instances that I read about). On the other hand, I know of many many cases where the brandishing of a weapon during a boarding by local thugs, got the people onboard raped, maimed, or killed.

Congratulations - what an excellent post! I cruise the Med and meet lots of great American skippers - I suspect the kind that agree with your views rather than the gun-toting kind.

Two or three years ago a yacht skipper was shot dead in Corfu, Greece (not far from where we cruise). In the middle of the night a party of Albanians were trying to steal his inflatable. He challenged them and warned them he was armed. They (it was the days when Albania was a bit more lawless than today) had AK47s and shot first.

Should he have shot first and started a firefight? Some would argue (it has been posted) that you don't take out a weapon unless you mean to use it. Frankly, an inflatable isn't worth anyone's life.

We're cruising Albania next year and I'd rather have to swim ashore than have a dead Albanian on my conscience! Not that Albania is a risk country any more - as you correctly opine, if it was we shouldn't be cruising it.
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Old 25-11-2013, 07:46   #14
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Re: Gun quewstion, part 2

[QUOTE=athene;1399535]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Johnson View Post

Congratulations - what an excellent post! I cruise the Med and meet lots of great American skippers - I suspect the kind that agree with your views rather than the gun-toting kind.

Two or three years ago a yacht skipper was shot dead in Corfu, Greece (not far from where we cruise). In the middle of the night a party of Albanians were trying to steal his inflatable. He challenged them and warned them he was armed. They (it was the days when Albania was a bit more lawless than today) had AK47s and shot first.

Should he have shot first and started a firefight? Some would argue (it has been posted) that you don't take out a weapon unless you mean to use it. Frankly, an inflatable isn't worth anyone's life.

We're cruising Albania next year and I'd rather have to swim ashore than have a dead Albanian on my conscience! Not that Albania is a risk country any more - as you correctly opine, if it was we shouldn't be cruising it.
I believe many serious gun owners who are armed 24x7 365 are of the mindset that you dont shoot someone over a simple robbery. The cost of losing whatever they take is infinitely smaller than the cost of the lawyer fees and disruption to your life that shooting someone entails (especially in a foreign country). Rather, many see the gun as something that only comes out a moment before someone in your party is in imminent danger of serious physical injury, or death at the hands of another. With a nicely concealed pocket pistol, you can remain armed throughout the incident, ready to use if the situation escalates. It will even buy you time to get into the cabin and grab the long gun. If their clear intention was serious injury, rape, etc..., you would be glad you brought along whatever you carried.

Now, on the other hand, this sad story would kind of suggest that at least they would have had more of a chance if somebody had something on board to defend themselves with. In this very different scenario, an RPG stashed onboard would be great in places like this.

Another sad story "I was raped by Somali pirates" about why you want to stay away from some areas.
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Old 25-11-2013, 08:23   #15
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Re: Gun quewstion, part 2

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Now, on the other hand, this sad story would kind of suggest that at least they would have had more of a chance if somebody had something on board to defend themselves with. In this very different scenario, an RPG stashed onboard would be great in places like this.
Yes, that was indeed a very sad incident. But I struggle to see how having a weapon aboard would have helped. Better not to cruise a high-risk area, as Mark Johnson suggested, or at least stay with the convoy for protection.

I suspect, if they had had a weapon aboard, the couple, being obviously devout Christians, wouldn't have had the courage to pull the trigger anyway and would have been immediately shot just for producing the weapon (rather than as 'collateral damage' in an apparent firefight between the pirates themselves).

The lesson from this tragedy, I suggest, is that the only effective answer to piracy (if you really can't avoid exposing yourself to the risk) is superior force. No average yachtsman can hope to provide that, but the US navy and its special ops teams can and did on this occasion. Leave law enforcement to the professionals and stay alive ...
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