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Old 01-20-2007, 11:59 AM   #15
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Its pretty clear that you have your opinions on firearms and I have mine. So lets agree to disagree. RT

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Old 01-20-2007, 09:49 PM   #16
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Rob, where in the Caribbean were you born? I assume it was one of the USVIs, but that's not a sure thing, I know. I'm sorry that your father had such problems in the Caribbean, but he might have been more exposed to theft as a resident carrying conspicuous amounts of money.

We have been going to the Caribbean for 30 years, still own an apartment on the island of St. Martin, and lived and cruised the entire eastern caribbean chain in the late 80s, early 90s. We had an anchor stolen in St. Martin, but I am pretty sure it was another cruising yachtie that stole it (well, Peter might have lost it after he buoyed it and left it in the lagoon for several weeks).

With regard to crime, I would say that the USVIs have the worst crime problem in the Caribbean. There is no place in the Caribbean (except for Colon, Panama) that I did not walk alone. I also think that, due to its success as a tourist destination, the Caribbean probably has a greater incidence of petty theft (purse snatchings, pockets picked, etc.) than other places, though we did not experience such problems; we probably didn't look as if we carried enough money to make it worth it to try to steal!

However, petty theft is not, in my opinion, an excuse to carry or use firearms. But if you feel better wielding a shotgun whenever a friendly fisherman approaches your boat, that's your choice. But do read my friend's report of a piracy attack in Indonesia, at http://www.cruiser.co.za/hostmelon39.asp

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In 1986 we went cruising for a few years. After 20 years and 50+ countries and several oceans, we are STILL "cruising for a few years".

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Old 01-23-2007, 10:53 AM   #17
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I was born in Barbados and lived there until I moved here. My father is a local, my mother a US citizen so I can come and go as I please, hold a Bajan passport, etc. IMHO, you don't really understand how things work unless you have lived there full-time and are plugged into the culture and fabric of the place. Barbados has crime, some of it quite violent, and some of it never makes it to the newspapers. Not good for tourism. Growing up it was a popular thing to walk the miles of beaches under moonlight. Its really very beautiful. And dangerous. Never once went without Dad carrying. Have been approached numerous times but once they hear a locals accent they usually move on. Tourists have been attacked/mugged/raped. The most common tool on the island is a machete and it is also the #1 crime weapon. There are places on the island that you do not go unescorted and certainly not at night. Just like anyplace else. It may look like paradise but if you don't respect it you may be sorry.

I whole-heartedly agree that petty theft is not an excuse to carry a firearm. Prudent measures such as locking up belongings usually takes care of that. I also do not think "waving a shotgun" at anyone that is not directly threatening you is smart either.

So when do I think a firearm may be warranted? I hate to pick on you friends post but to make my point I will comment. The first thing that strikes me is your friends gave away too much information. Who they are, how many, where they are going. The second thing is maybe they should have bought some fish. Pay with small bills and coins to make it look like you don't have much more. The fact that your friend noticed that they were really checking out the boat is another sign. They wanted to board and were refused. Why were they refused? I get the feeling your friend was not comfortable from the start. It would have been prudent to pull up the hook and find a safer/different anchorage. After they left I would have got the shotgun unlocked and accessible. Then the sailing buddy needed to know exactly what happened. After that increased vigilance may have caught them before they got to the boat and boarded. I can see of no better time for a firearm on board. Simply letting them see it as they approach would likely turn them around in a hurry.

Putting myself in that situation should I be busy wrestling with some guy with a sickle? And what of my wife? Can she be expected to fend off intruders too? While I agree that I have no possession that is worth a human life I do have my own life and that is certainly worth everything to me. Someone boarding my boat, armed, may just want some cash. Or they may want everything and cut my throat in the process too because they can.

Its all about a measured response. Daylight in an area that is considered safe for cruising, no need for the firearm. Approached by a boat that appears friendly in daylight, smiling unarmed folks on board, maybe a bit wary, but likely no need for the firearm. Maybe unlock it and have it handy inside the companionway. Approached by a high-speed boat, firearm ready but not displayed. Approached by high-speed boat, armed occupants visible, firearm ready and on display. Nightime, approached by ANY boat, firearm ready inside companionway. Anyone that pulls alongside, jumps on your boat, uninvited, is not there for a social visit. If you have seen them approaching and have the firearm ready then you have the option of displaying it. You them also have the option of repelling them. Or if you choose not to do anything then whatever happens is what would have happened anyway.

Will this help? Maybe. There may or may not be time to act. Having a firearm gives you a choice. Its simply another tool to use. I sincerely hope I never need one but I would rather have it and not need it. FWIW, a good friend is a career USCG. His guestimate is better than 50% of the commercial vessels he boards are armed and maybe 20% of the recreational. This was Caribbean and US waters patrols.

This is not to say I have a problem with people who think carrying firearms is a bad idea. Fine, don't carry them. I understand that the likelihood of needing a firearm is very small. I also understand the drawbacks. Its a personal decision. It seems to me that people plan for cruising. Everything is considered. Personal security should be planned for as well not be left as an afterthought. RT
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Old 01-23-2007, 11:12 AM   #18
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Old 01-23-2007, 01:36 PM   #19
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I'm sorry, but I'm from europe and we, sissy europeans, are not used to guns.

Can anyone tell me where except USA guns are allowed, so cruising sailor can carry his?

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