Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Currently in Savannah,GA
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When I sail my boat single-handed offshore, I carry a pistol grip, police style 12 gauge shotgun in my cockpit locker for “sharks.” It doesn’t require a lot of aiming. My first course of action regarding a suspicious looking boat approaching me is to watch them through my binoculars. If I feel like something isn’t right, my shotgun is in my lap, in full view as they approach. The gun is loaded, and the safety will be off. Not much of a welcoming invite you might say. Well, I believe we live in a dangerous world my friend. Most criminals understand the concept of a 12 gauge shotgun and are not willing to take the chance that they won’t be hit at close range. I believe honest boaters will understand preventative measures in open water, but if not, so be it. When I’m out in open water in an unfamiliar area, no one comes on board my boat. Someone might say, “what about emergencies,etc.” To that I say, “What if the cow really did jump over the moon?” You obviously have to use your own judgment. As far as the single-handed guy off the Mexican coast, IMO, he made two major mistakes. (1) He assumed he was dealing with rational people. The Caribbean, Bahamas, and other favorite locales of cruisers, are unfortunately areas known for high drug trafficking. Most criminals, when not “on the job” have been known to consume massive amounts of alcohol, and drugs. (2) He went down below while having complete strangers tied up to his boat,in an area he wasn''t accustomed to.If someone that I didn''t trust were to ask me for supplies out in open water, I would oblige them if I could, but they would first have to place several boat lengths between them and myself, and then I would leave the supplies floating for them. If that isn’t possible, then I guess it’s just not their lucky day.If the single-handed sailor would of had a planned safety routine that he followed when strangers approached him in open water, he might not have got his throat cut and lost all of his possessions. Maybe, maybe not? Let me reiterate here that I don’t suggest that my methods are the best. You can place all kinds of “what if” scenarios here and I’m sure that some will question my methods. The bottom line though, is that I don’t let anyone on my boat in open water, and I go by what works for me. If I’m out gunned by some frigging pirates with a cannon on board, then that’s just the way it goes down. I’ll take my chances. The question of using lethal force is a sensitive subject, and I don’t know that there is one correct answer. I do what I believe is right for me, and I respect what others feel is right for them.