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My hypothesis when I posted my firearms survey was that very few cruisers actually sailed with guns on board, outside of US waters. If I was to go by the limited responses that I received (only 1 or 2 actual “I carried guns” replies), I’d have to say that my hypothesis was correct. That wouldn’t be very scientific though. In addition to what was posted on our blog, I received a private message from a friend, one that wishes to remain nameless, who stated that not only did he keep a gun on onboard (recently acquired), but that he had first hand knowledge that many other cruisers did too. The content of that conversation surprised me, but I trust the source.

I added a couple of links to a comment reply yesterday but I’ll repost them here as most people will likely miss them.

In case anyone thinks that simply hiding the guns and not declaring them is a good idea:

Declare your Firearm or Face Jail

This second link is not about boats, but it does show how serious an issue this is:

Ex-Marine Who Carried Loaded Guns Into Mexico Is Released

In an only quasi-related topic, I just started reading a book entitled Dies the Fire. I’m only part way through it but, at the beginning of the story, an event that they refer to as The Change causes all modern devices that rely upon electricity and/or combustion to stop working. This includes all engines (cars, planes, etc.), and all firearms! In the book, everyone immediately devolves to using swords and archery equipment for hunting and defense. So, on that note, maybe we should carry a bow and arrow set on board? Perhaps even one set up with a fishing rig? 🙂


  1. Does anyone know if a bow or crossbow would be looked upon by authorities as significantly different from a speargun? Are they specifically named as items that must be declared at customs?

    Archery is one of the many hobbies I dabble in. I would think a well placed shaft or two in a prospective boarder’s boat (or person) might be a strong deterrent. That said, it would be fairly difficult to maneuver a bow in tight quarters down below, or even on deck with all the rigging. A crossbow, however, is much smaller and easier to handle. They are also extremely powerful and easier to shoot accurately without lots of practice. While I am certain that any jurisdiction would frown upon a cruiser killing one of it’s citizens regardless of method, it would be nice if ownership of the weapon used wasn’t a crime in and of itself.

  2. I had been looking at this for 10 mins. Then I finally saw it! She is holding a bow….. oooohhhh now i get it. Like all these videos you post of Rebecca i now see she is working out this whole time, I just thought she had a generous husband. 😉

    I believe most carry something in some form of defense but most know it is illegal but they travel with an American arrogance, that puts them above what a small islands law would be. There are a few islands that won’t let you wear or even possess camouflage clothing.

    Here is a story of a local women (not a cruiser) from Arkansas that went on vacation to Aruba. She took her pistol with her and wound up in jail.

    Fair Winds Mike and Rebecca, thanks for the pictures Mike 😉

  3. What kind of self defence do you want to achieve with a bow in a boat?

    In the cockpit or the cabin, where it’s cramped, bows are just fragile clubs. Better stay with the maritime tradition of the cutlass / machete, boot hooks and belaying pins / club. Those work better.

    From a distance, bows offer little damage at rather short range (up to 50m realistically) at only a moderate fire rate. And when facing people armed with firearms, bows are a losing proposition. You’ll only manage to anger them.

    As for using them for fishing, harpoons are more fun.

  4. I would be honored to have that archer as crew!!

  5. As I said before. I think this is a hard subject to get data on because if younarencarring them on board and not declaring them you don’t want to make that public knowledge.

    From a Defense perspective I am planning an industrial sized peeper spray painted to look like a fire extinguisher.

    We have to have them so they are overlooked

  6. I have followed a youtube journey of a couple who currently travel with a shotgun onboard in the Caribbean. One video shows exactly where the owner stores his weapon and several videos show them picking up the firearm after checking the firearm with the local authorities. I must say I was rather surprised to see it publically.

  7. Would a knife (bowie) be legal in most islands? While it does nothing for ranged attacks certainly deadly in close confines of the cabin or cockpit.

    • Machetes are a very common tool on practically all warm islands I’ve ever been. A sharp sailing knife should also be easy to reach on board for emergencies. If your weapon is also a reasonable tool in the environment it prevents awkward questions.

      That makes a well sized pipe-wrench preferable to a baseball bat on a boat and a good fish-hook or boat-hook isn’t to be dismissed either.

  8. A Canadian friend of mind sailed into New Zealand with a hunting bow and arrows a few years ago and customs impounded it until his departure. Needless to say the same would happen with all guns both here and in Australia.

    The tragic death of Sir Peter Blake who was killed attempting to defend his boat and crew in the Amazon is a warning point of the dangers of carrying weapons and engaging with those who are well armed, desperate and determined with little to loose. But then again we didn’t have to settle the “wild west” and the attitude to guns and the laws surrounding them are quite different Down Under.

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