Firearms Afloat

I don’t mean to be a rabble-rowser, and it is not my intention to rant about my second amendment rights or anything like that, I just want to post a relatively simple question: what have YOUR personal experiences been with firearms afloat? Are they out there? Do you find crews, both in the foreign and domestic markets, who really like their guns and like to have them on them at all times? Are there any companies that allow this sort of thing, whether for recreational or self-defense purposes? I’ve heard stories about how every vessel is entitled to one 6-shot revolver “just in case” things get out of hand, but what I want to know is what really goes on?

I want to be clear: I am not talking about smuggling or gun-running, that is another topic for another day. What I am talking about are crew members (of all ranks, high and low) on vessels of all different shapes and sizes who are attached to their firearms and like to have them when they travel, for whatever their own personal reasons may be, recreational or defensive.

Thank you for your time,

  • PaddyWest

Most company policies state that no weapons are allowed on vessels and this includes GUNS.

Shooting skeet off the back deck of a tug is a blast!

I agree with AHTS Master, weapons of any kind have been against company policy and rules at every company I have ever worked for. It opens them to a huge legal ration of shit if they were to actually allow anyone to carry a gun onboard, then shot someone, either on purpose or accident.

The only vessel I have ever sailed that had a gun was a ATB, that made alot of foreign trips. If we went to Any place in Africa, or certain places in south America, the company would put a shotgun, and some tasers onboard. However they would be in the Captains quarters in a locked safe, and only be brought out when close to an area that raised fear of a pirate attack or similar.

I have a conceled weapons permit and participate in shooting competions on a regular basis, I carry conceled almost every day when at home, but my toys stay at home, I have never brought any weapon to a vessel, except a knife, and those are no longer legal in the oil field.

I rememeber reading some where that you can’t legally arm a merchant ship, because then they are no longer merchant ships they now fall into a armed ship, or almost a naval type vessel and opens up another can of worms. I don’t recall where I read that though.

Wasn’t the original HMS Bounty considered an armed ship, not really a naval vessel?

We used to shoot skeet off the TS state of Maine training cruises… Other then that fire arms have been strictly prohibited everywhere I have worked.

Firearms are strictly forbidden as per company policy where I work. Every other boat company I have worked for has had the same policy. Im very pro-gun but we all know there are people out on the boats who cant handle themselves in an adult matter and have hissy fits and feel the need to fight, having guns on board is a bad idea.

Nothing like calling an all stop to work to land on a beach and hunt for deer and/or geese. The wife loves the freezer full of game…

MARSEC level 4, click click…

Ask the former Captain @ McAllister who got locked up in Trinidad for not declaring firearms he had in his room. It took some $$$ to get him out of jail.

ChiefRob is right in what you mention. The IMO do not “recommend” vessels to carry weapons any more, but that does not stop the Captain from legally placing one in his cabin if he desires. Every company that I know of forbids weapons on board period. I’ve worked in West Africa, for the last 5 years, including the longest stint in Nigeria and my company does not allow us to be armed for any reason. Sailing in and out of Bonny regularly and dropping the hook 50 mile offshore still does not make them waiver and arm the vessel. The Nigerian navy send some guys on board with ak47s but they are the first to hide, literally. My company has had hijacked vessels a couple of times in the last two years.

Still, even if armed, you really only get one good chance to use it before it ends up being a liability.
The IMO expect us to fight pirates with fire hoses, and head office expects us to use discretion. Haha

I worked for MSC ship as a civilian (AMO) where we had weapons onboard, and the mate on watch in port carried a sidearm when alongside. Most of the time I took the M9 apart and locked it in my desk…after having never fired a weapon in my life, after 3 days of Small Arms Training and I’m suddenly qualified to shoot somebody who crosses the rail? No thanks.

We also had Navy security teams onboard when working in the Persian Gulf with their .50 cals and M4’s, but that’s a different situation.

Now I work for a US tanker company and no weapons are allowed onboard. Probably not a big chance of getting hijacked in the GoM though…

Yup I’ve heard that one. The main reason he got let out of jail was because he had gotten a serious staph infection. Mac almost lost the whole boat over that.

No,no,no, no. And no.

Better to be judged by twelve than carried by six.I think everyone on here is packing.

We anchored one time for 5 days in the Rio Magdalena. There was at least one security breach each night. Early one morning, the AB on watch stepped out on the bridge wing to see a dugout along side. The theives had emptied the paint locker and were about to load the boat. The AB fired a flare into the water and sounded the alarm to scare them off.

He later said he wasn’t thinking straight. Said he should have let 'em take it. “Now I’ll have to keep painting for the next 2 weeks”.

Sailed on a vessel last year where we had a Benelli MR1 and 1000’s of rounds of ammunition locked in the chart room at the back of the bridge. This belonged to the security team we had on board for passing the security zone off Somalia.