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post #21 of 54 Old 07-07-2017 Thread Starter
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Re: Safety on board when sailing alone

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Originally Posted by BillMoran View Post
Man ... a lot of people getting snippy about the question.

The fact is that carrying a firearm on a boat these days is complicated and difficult. Laws change each time you change ports. As a foreigner, if you ever _use_ the weapon you're going to have a lot of trouble with the local authorities.

But there is a _really_ good reason _not_ to have a gun on board when you cruise. And I've heard this repeated over and over again by many, many experienced cruisers: 99.99% of the people who would board your boat with malicious intent can be scared off with a spotlight. Stories of people being shot because they came out of their cabin brandishing a gun and caused panic in the boarders are frequent. Stories of cruisers keeping watch in the cockpit in sketchy anchorages and the simple act of them shining a spotlight was enough to scare away suspicious persons are numerous. Stories of people spending totally safe, uneventful nights in anchorages are so frequently it would be impossible to count them.

Stories of anyone protecting themselves with a gun while on a sailboat are non-existent. I've never heard a single one. If you know of any stories of this tactic being useful in the last 20 years, I'd be interested to hear it.

So, the reason for not carrying a gun is simple statistics: The chances of you needing it are near zero. The chances that attempting to use it will make the situation worse are small, but existent. And the chances that it will actually protect you are so small that there are no recorded incidences of it. Add to that the likelihood that it will prevent you from entering certain harbors, and make entry complicated in many more ... well, it just doesn't seem practical.

An experienced captain explained his theory on why this is the case: Cruisers bring money to the local economy, so those economies have a vested interest in keeping cruisers coming in; and cruisers talk, so incidents of theft and violence spread and reduce money coming in to the local economy. This alone isn't enough to completely _stop_ crime in these areas, but criminals have learned that there are LOTS of boats to steal from. They want the easy, low-risk take. So any indication that the boat is keeping a watch, or that there will be any resistance and they just move on ... eventually they'll find a careless boater to steal from with no worries. They know that there's lots on deck they can steal without making enough noise to wake anyone, so they almost never go below decks. They know that cruisers have insurance, so a stolen MFD is likely to create a police report that the police don't have time to follow up on, and an insurance claim. But they know that if they go below decks, and if someone gets hurt, then the local police will have the motivation to track them down, as a story spreading about an assault will cause cruisers to stop spending money at their anchorage. Just a few stolen MFDs a week makes pretty good money on the black market, so they aren't terribly desperate to take any risks.

It _is_ unintuitive. At least it was to me. But the facts support the conclusion that carrying a guy while cruising just isn't worth it.

But, of course, you've brought one of the more controversial topics to this forum, so you're going to get heated answers. The fact that you're surprised by that is somewhat funny to me. You might as well start a pro-life vs. pro-choice debate -- it would be equally ponderous to me if you were surprised by the heated responses you got.
Some very good points. I came here to ask questions and get advice. I really did not expect to be attacked and called an idiot for wanting to sail alone. I don't think I am the first person to sail alone.

Having never sailed and especially having never sailed in the Caribbean I don't know the environment. I originally thought about buying a camper and doing that full time but now have seen the light and am going with a boat. In that regard I based my question about the gun on what I see in the camping world. I live in the south and yes most of us have at least one gun laying around. Most of us are raised with guns and are safe with guns. But we have guns in our homes for protection because it is needed. I live in the country out from a small town. Most people would think it is the picture of safety. But with the growing drug world we see more and more thefts and home invasions even in the "country".

But I see your points about safety onboard. The spotlight is just the thing I need to know about. I wonder if motion detectors would work. I guess if they are set up right.

But thank you for your advice.
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Re: Safety on board when sailing alone

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That's true, much of the rest of the world does not share our American frontier penchant for everybody being able to carry a loaded firearm around in our glove compartment or into Starbucks.
Made me smile. I wonder if people who have never been to the US or the southeast US think we all walk around with guns falling out of our pockets or purses? I do carry one routinely but it is legal in my state. I work in a not so safe area of town. I live in the country but am usually coming home to an empty house (except for 3 dogs). Now once I am inside God help someone trying to come in. They will either be torn to bits or licked to death. But it is a different culture and we are used to guns.
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Re: Safety on board when sailing alone

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i believe you will find travelling with weaponry a hassle--even worse than the dog.
i travel mexico sola with only a cat for protection--hahahahaha donot need to lock doors and donot need to worry about my personal safety.
caribbean was same.
if you are not comfortable in your own skin, stay home until you are so., is important.
if you cannot trust folks enough to mix with em, stay home.
if you feel the |NEED to carry a weapon, stay home.
once you get out into the cruising lifstyle, if that is actually what you willbe doing, you will learn much much more than you could imagine.
if you donot make it out here, it will not matter. there is much to learn that is not learnable without wandering out into reality.
Again, I am new to this. Never sailed. Never been to the Caribbean so I don't know how people act. I am basing my questions on what I am familiar with. But I thank you and the others for letting me know it really is safe and I won't need to worry about a gun. Plus if it is as big a hassle as everyone says then I won't bother with the gun.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjarman123 View Post


I will be sailing with at least one dog. Can't imagine my life without one. But I can meet the requirements. My dogs are always up to date on shots and living in the south we do heartworm prevention year round already anyway.

Its funny what to some may seem a hassle but to others is no big deal. But thanks for the heads up. It is something I will be researching.
I don't think you understand. I also am a dog lover and take my dog everywhere and keep current on all shots. A dog just places a few limitations. A certification of up-to-date shots is not enough. You have to have a titer test that verifies that the dog responded to the rabies vaccine. This titer test is not done at your local vet clinic.

There are countries where your dog would be confiscated and placed in a quarantine kennel for 3 to 6 months at your expense. (Some let you visit your dog).

I read a good bit about cruising with my dog and concluded that it would limit my destinations enough that I might consider leaving my dog behind. Many island countries have no rabies, and never have. The US is considered a country with high rabies activity. Some rabies free countries really don't want our pets there. The risk is just too great, so they make it very undesirable for us to bring our pets.

There are people who cruise with their dogs, but it creates some challenges.

One site with good info is:

http://www.pettravel.com/passports_r..._countries.cfm
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post #25 of 54 Old 07-08-2017
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Re: Safety on board when sailing alone

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Originally Posted by jjarman123 View Post
Some very good points. I came here to ask questions and get advice. I really did not expect to be attacked and called an idiot for wanting to sail alone. I don't think I am the first person to sail alone.

Having never sailed and especially having never sailed in the Caribbean I don't know the environment. I originally thought about buying a camper and doing that full time but now have seen the light and am going with a boat. In that regard I based my question about the gun on what I see in the camping world. I live in the south and yes most of us have at least one gun laying around. Most of us are raised with guns and are safe with guns. But we have guns in our homes for protection because it is needed. I live in the country out from a small town. Most people would think it is the picture of safety. But with the growing drug world we see more and more thefts and home invasions even in the "country".

But I see your points about safety onboard. The spotlight is just the thing I need to know about. I wonder if motion detectors would work. I guess if they are set up right.

But thank you for your advice.
I didn't notice anyone calling you an idiot for wanting to sail alone. Seemed like most people were calling the desire to carry a gun stupid, but I might have missed something.

Sailing alone is a whole other topic. Pretty sure most people would consider sailing alone foolish. I do, and this is coming from a guy who intends to do just that. It's incredibly foolish. It's difficult. It's exhausting. In my case it's either be foolish or do nothing, so I choose to be foolish.

In the end, it's your call. But educate yourself so you know what you're getting in to. Imagine multiple days without more than 45 minutes of sleep at a time. Imagine that when things go sideways there's nobody but you to fix them. Etc.

But even that doesn't really cover it. There are lots of different "types" of cruising you can do. Island hopping in the Caribbean is very different from an ocean crossing. If you're just getting started, don't let a few people getting pissy worry you. Lot's of people run out and do stupid things and get themselves and others killed -- don't be one of those. Do your research. Find some more experienced boats to crew on. Join a club and learn all you can. You'll be fine.
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Re: Safety on board when sailing alone

carryi9ng weaponry into many nations is prison sentence. not a great idea. not all nations are usa. does not make you an idiot, just a curious human for asking before leaving, unlike those finding selves in prison for just that issue.
dog--hell i bring cats with me. is not a big deal-- is hoops through which to jump is all, and difficult in some locales. preplanning works.
sailing alone--just donot stand to pee over side without your tether being short enough to prevent your falling overboard.
make your cockpit comfy for passages and have a great time.


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Re: Safety on board when sailing alone

jj-
Unless you want to spend a lot of time making lists of places you can't go, forget the firearms and the dog. Or any pets. Guns, especially pistols, are getting banned in more and more places every year, and what you learn now may well change next year. Same thing with animals really. Quarantines can be casual (Yah mon, just keep it on de boat, wink wink) or if you find that you're forced to detour for storm damage...Now it is 90 days in a quarantine kennel at five-star resort prices.
Guns, even flare guns, can be kept in bonded storage onboard, sometimes, along with precisely counted rounds of ammunition. At other times, you need to check them in--and may find they've been mysteriously used and not cleaned when you go to check them out. (As per a published article by a respected author a few years ago.)
There are MANY options that a web search or a visit to some alarm suppliers, including RV suppliers, can turn up for you. Heat sensors (IR), motion sensors (ultrasonic), webcams that optically detect motion and intruders, pressure mats for the floor, capacitive touch sensors that can tell when someone touches your stanchions or lifelines...there are a lot of uncommon but conventional security sensors that will be legal anywhere.

Add a "GDMF Loud Alarm" and strobes, manually triggered, to your mast, and the intruder will probably begone before you can pick up a radio to call for help.

Similarly, some forum members have taken the incredibly sensible approach of using a heavy grating to block off the companionway, instead of leaving it open. For that matter, I suppose a steel or aluminum boat (both can be problems in the tropics) would also be a high-security option.

And there are "weapons" ranging from a spray bottle with fresh ammonia, to an extra fire extinguisher, that are all conventional and legal--but they'll stock an attacker long enough for you to take firmer action.
And really, any martial arts studio should be able to teach you the basics of self defense. There are a number of lethal blows that require very little skill or confrontation. For that matter, even the NRA hosts regular "Don't Be A Victim" classes in UNarmed self defense, especially for women.

Why look for problems, like regulated guns, when there are so many other options that can do the job for you? Including, of course "Just don't go there." If someplace is on the State Department's warning list? Go elsewhere.

Last edited by hellosailor; 07-08-2017 at 04:01 PM.
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Re: Safety on board when sailing alone

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Originally Posted by jjarman123 View Post
Made me smile. I wonder if people who have never been to the US or the southeast US think we all walk around with guns falling out of our pockets or purses? I do carry one routinely but it is legal in my state. I work in a not so safe area of town. I live in the country but am usually coming home to an empty house (except for 3 dogs). Now once I am inside God help someone trying to come in. They will either be torn to bits or licked to death. But it is a different culture and we are used to guns.
It is legal in our state as well. For a number of years we had, what I thought, was a perfectly reasonable Conceal and Carry law. It required people to apply for their C&C permit and to take a firearms safety class. It was stuff I had to study to get my rifle shooting merit badge in boy scouts, but was oriented toward hand guns. The course also covered the law, how to notify an officer of your concealed weapon during a traffic stop, and standards for when you can discharge your weapon. It was designed to hold C&C holders to some standard of safety like police officers.

Then, for some reason, or state lawmakers thought that this was restrictive and passed an unrestricted C&C law that allows anybody to carry a concealed wepon, no permit or gun safety class required. I really didn't see what was wrong with the old system. I would be very nervous to be a law enforcement officer in my state.

Our community has a biking safety class for kids to learn to ride their bike safely to school. My kids got an auto insurance discount for taking a drivers ed course. At my job we take CPR training and a course to show us how to use the portable difibrilator device. At work we have four hours of training on fire response where the fire department lights a large pan of gas on fire and lets each person practice using an ABC fire extinguisher to put the fire out.

I'm grateful for the firearms safety training that I have had in my life and I don't understand why some people object to such training and view it as some limitation to our rights.

I know some people who carry guns who really don't know what they are doing.
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Re: Safety on board when sailing alone

Mid-
If folks were required to read the state and federal constitutions, and pass a reading comprehension test, before they were allowed to vote, would they get upset? Same same with firearms laws, even though most US citizens have no idea that both state and federal militia service is largely compulsory, and a condition of citizenship.

These are the same folks who were polled by some Harvard researchers around 1969. They were read a section of the Constitution and asked "What is this from?" and IIRC the leading answer was "Das Capital" (Karl Marx.)

My pistol will never fall out of my pocket, I keep it safely in my sporran.(G)
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Re: Safety on board when sailing alone

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I don't think you understand. I also am a dog lover and take my dog everywhere and keep current on all shots. A dog just places a few limitations. A certification of up-to-date shots is not enough. You have to have a titer test that verifies that the dog responded to the rabies vaccine. This titer test is not done at your local vet clinic.

There are countries where your dog would be confiscated and placed in a quarantine kennel for 3 to 6 months at your expense. (Some let you visit your dog).

I read a good bit about cruising with my dog and concluded that it would limit my destinations enough that I might consider leaving my dog behind. Many island countries have no rabies, and never have. The US is considered a country with high rabies activity. Some rabies free countries really don't want our pets there. The risk is just too great, so they make it very undesirable for us to bring our pets.

There are people who cruise with their dogs, but it creates some challenges.

One site with good info is:

Rabies Free Countries - Pet Travel
Thanks for the advice. Yes, I know about the titer test and it is only done in 2 places in the US so it takes a few weeks to get back. I've researched the first few places I may go and so far no big problems meeting a dog requirement. The only additional things I need beyond what I already do is the titer and the form signed by a USDA vet. Those are not big deals to me and well worth it.

I plan to research any country I go to prior to going and making sure I am all good with their laws. If it is something I can't get done I won't go there.
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