Firearms onboard?

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Firearms onboard?

Postby rhyne » March 9th, 2017, 1:54 pm

Hey gang... I stumbled upon a thread on a boat forum talking about carrying a firearm onboard (concealed or not). I hadn't given the idea much thought, but at the same time, I could see some very unique and rare situations where having one onboard could be a nice last line of defense... including times where launching the boat in the middle of the night, etc...

Anyway, Does anyone here carry a firearm while on the water? if so, or not... why? and have you had experiences where it was nice to have along?
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Re: Firearms onboard?

Postby Bill McIntyre » March 9th, 2017, 3:57 pm

I don't think we are allowed to discuss religion. :)
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Re: Firearms onboard?

Postby chris oak » March 9th, 2017, 8:09 pm

Bill McIntyre wrote:I don't think we are allowed to discuss religion. :)

lol

I can't find the complete answer. The guys online always say it's legal to carry anywhere on the ocean but the regs are a bit fuzzy. The law states that you cannot carry a concealed weapon without permit EXCEPT "Licensed hunters or fishermen carrying pistols, revolvers, or other firearms capable of being concealed upon the person while engaged in hunting or fishing, or transporting those firearms unloaded when going to or returning from the hunting or fishing expedition."

The law was probably made for fishing on land and it does not specify on a boat. I bet there are also city or county rules that apply as well, otherwise guys would be carrying at lakes in the city. If that rule applies to the city why wouldn't it apply to LA, OC, or SD counties?

There is a law where you cannot carry a loaded firearm on a motorized vehicle unless the ammo is separate, and the gun is in a locked container. I am always curious if they consider a boat to be a vehicle? This exact question was posed on WON and the DFG rep dodged the question by citing the law without completely answering the question.

I had a long talk with someone about this after my buddy got hit in the face with a thrown hammer from another boat. The guy I talked to (not my buddy) said he would have shot the hammer thrower. My guess is if you were not in dire danger i.e. if someone wasn't shooting at you, and you shot that person for throwing a hammer in California, then you would be found guilty of attempted murder or murder. It's different if you are LEO and trained to know what is a life threatening situation. The argument in court would be something like "you can dodge a hammer, you cannot dodge a bullet"..

If you carried that gun and drifted in mexican waters you would be in serious trouble.

I have guns but doubt if I would carry one on the boat. If you did you would have to clean it right away just from salt damage. You would also have to know when to bring it out, and I would not even think about pulling that gun out unless someone was getting ready to SHOOT me or my passangers.

This is not a debate about what you think about california laws, about your opinion on LEO etc. Ryan has a question on concealed carry on a boat and those with knowledge please chime in. Ryan I'd say call up the coast guard and ask them, I'm sure many of us have the same question.
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Re: Firearms onboard?

Postby Steve G » March 9th, 2017, 8:42 pm

Of course you can have it on your boat. Just don't point it at anything that you don't intend to shoot including the fuel tank under your feet.
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Re: Firearms onboard?

Postby rhyne » March 10th, 2017, 8:13 am

I happen to work at a gun shop (doing custom laser engraving on mostly pistols)... I haven't poked around too much but will ask some of the LEO's and coastguard customers whenever possible.
Bill... HAHAHA, hilarious.
Chris... good overview. another caveat could be how some boats can be considered a 2nd residence.
Steve... while of course having them onboard is legal... how about concealed carry or having them loaded?

and, this whole topic is just about curiosity of the law. i don't see any reason to carry in US waters. if anything, having one onboard in a case of stumbling upon drug runners or smthng extraordinarily unusual would be a circumstance worth having one around... but ya know, paranoia blah blah ... it's always nice to know the law.
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Re: Firearms onboard?

Postby dariian » March 10th, 2017, 10:43 am

I used to keep a red rider on board for seals.
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Re: Firearms onboard?

Postby chris oak » March 10th, 2017, 12:59 pm

rhyne wrote:and, this whole topic is just about curiosity of the law. i don't see any reason to carry in US waters. if anything, having one onboard in a case of stumbling upon drug runners or smthng extraordinarily unusual would be a circumstance worth having one around... but ya know, paranoia blah blah ... it's always nice to know the law.


100 percent. A few years ago there was a mass of stolen pangas with mexico refugees on them and loaded with pot showing up all over san pedro to marina del rey. They kept running out of gas or were just driving right to the shore.

There were customs officers checking guys at the cabrillo ramp because there was so much activity going on and I was super sketchy about diving for bugs and leaving my boat unattended at night because I figured if those guys rolled up on an empty boat that was registered and full of gas it would be mighty enticing to dump the stuff from their panga on there.

I'm back at work this weekend, I'll try to send a letter to the coast guard and see if they will give us a straight answer.
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Re: Firearms onboard?

Postby Bill McIntyre » March 10th, 2017, 3:22 pm

I was only half kidding with the religion comment. I've learned the hard way that the only thing more contentious than a discussion of religion on line is a discussion of guns. But since others have commented, I'll stick a toe in the water.

Before Chris even mentioned it, I was thinking about that time a guy in a boat threw a hammer at a diver. I guess you really have to know yourself, but I tend to get really hot over things like that, and if I had been there with a gun, I'm afraid that in the heat of the moment I would have used it.

And I recall many years ago when my wife and I were trolling for marlin. A guy came running up along side, gave me the finger, and then cut across my wake and cut off four expensive marlin lures. I was really pissed and it may be good that I didn't have a gun.

In those cases and some others, I might have ruined my life. I'm better of without a gun in the boat.

Could there possibly be a time when having a gun might save my life? Sure, its possible, but I've spent a lot of time on boats for over 75 years and it hasn't happened yet. And even having a gun might not save me if the other guy didn't give me a chance to get to it. Most people who really wish you ill don't stand in the middle of the bow and shout "slap leather."
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Re: Firearms onboard?

Postby Donzi Paul » March 11th, 2017, 8:39 am

I just carry a flare gun, ;)

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Re: Firearms onboard?

Postby Steve G » March 12th, 2017, 9:24 am

I'll start this off by agreeing with Bill in part that if you have the potential to get hot over something that you're best off keeping yourself out of trouble by not putting your self in a position to react improperly with a fire arm or even a hammer for that matter.

So to keep it as non-political as possible I will say that the California laws are some of the most strict in the nation and are written in a way that makes it very difficult to defend your self with a fire-arm. Basically, you can keep one in your house unloaded in a locked container separate from the ammunition. You can transport it from point A to point B assuming point B is a valid place to take it to and you need to keep the ammunition and gun sufficiently apart so that you can't easily drop a round in the chamber, pop a magazine into the feeder etc. and fire it; which, makes it pretty useless for most self defense purposes because most bad guys aren't going to advertise themselves or give you five minutes to unlock your gun, load it and defend yourself. If your you have a CCW things change. If your boat qualifies as second home, again things will change slightly.

Also, keep in mind that the marine environment will destroy your firearm in no time, and protecting it as it would need to be to keep it from destruction will only hamper any self defense use in my opinion.

So from a carrying a firearm on a boat for self-defense perspective, I say leave it a home. If things are that scary out there keep your speargun loaded.
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Re: Firearms onboard?

Postby castronova » March 13th, 2017, 4:37 am

Other side of the country but I take mine on long trips. I have CCW and keep a loaded pistol with an extra mag in a back pack in my console. I usually only take it when going to the Tortugas (~70 miles out) area or camping on the islands. It never leaves the console for any reason. I do believe the vessel is considered a vehicle.

My reasoning for taking it is drug runners and cuban refugees, or even human trafficking which happens quite a bit down here from Cuba. I've never been inspected by Coast Guard or Fish and Wildlife with the gun on board.
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Re: Firearms onboard?

Postby chris oak » March 13th, 2017, 8:52 am

I sent the inquiry to the USCG, I didn't use my work email as I didn't want to raise any flags with my work center.
The hardest part is finding the right person to answer the question and I received this in the am:
"Good Morning,

You would need to contact your local Sector regarding this question. Your
question
deals with vessel requirements and the National Maritime Center cannot provide
guidance on this.

You can find a listing of all Sectors at the following link:

https://homeport.uscg.mil

Once here, select Port Directory. The Sectors, and their contact information
will be listed.

Please include your mariner/reference number with any responses, as the
previous email chains have been deleted for protection of your personal
information."

Im working my way down the rabbit hole, I sent another email out this am to one of the many email listings on that page. Stay tuned and hopefully I got the right person this time.
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Re: Firearms onboard?

Postby rhyne » March 13th, 2017, 10:35 am

:obscene-drinkingcheers: right on Chris. look forward to the news.
overall, reaching for a speargun in case of an altercation would be my likely response to a true threat... or a flare gun. if conceal carry isn't possible then it's basically useless to have one onboard except in those truly unique, incredibly unlikely scenarios.
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Re: Firearms onboard?

Postby Nate Baker » March 13th, 2017, 4:45 pm

Did you ask this question on Bloody Decks? I've known several shark fishermen who used firearms to dispatch sharks before hauling them aboard. Those guys may have the info you're looking for.
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Re: Firearms onboard?

Postby chris oak » March 22nd, 2017, 8:30 pm

as an update the coast guard section I emailed never replied, which is what I would expect since it would put them on the spot. I will keep trying different avenues and let you know what happens.
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Re: Firearms onboard?

Postby rhyne » March 23rd, 2017, 7:07 am

Good idea Nate... I'll do that and report back.

... Thanks for the update Chris. gotta love when they skirt answering certain questions. building confidence in our laws :)
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Re: Firearms onboard?

Postby Steve G » March 23rd, 2017, 8:27 am

The reason you may not be finding the answer that you want is because you are looking for too narrow an answer. There is nothing special about a boat (aside from special exceptions for flare guns). The rules apply the same as if you were transporting a gun in your vehicle, unless as I mentioned above your boat can qualify as your place of abode. The first part of the coast you will be carrying any firearm upon is California and California rules will apply. After you enter federal waters federal laws will apply until you re-enter state waters. State of California rules are far more strict and if your concern is protecting your self while diving lobsters at night it is California you are concerned with. Also, we have seen how law enforcement often doesn't know some of the fish and game rules which we believe to be so basic so don't expect these guys to understand the much more complicated gun rules.
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