No matter whether you are on vacation or out for a day on the lake, there may be an instance where you have your firearms with you while you are on your boat. Your firearm can be an invaluable tool for you, especially in terms of protecting you and your family from any kind of dangerous situation, but you also want to make sure that you are properly transporting it when you are on your boat.
Abiding by the Law.
The first thing to consider in relation to transporting your firearm on your boat is whether you are lawfully allowed to do so. Depending on where you are located, you have to worry about four different types of laws that can play a part in granting you permission.
- Maritime Law.
These laws, also known as admiralty laws, or laws related to navigation, coastal jurisdiction, and maritime relations between nations. In the Constitution of the United States, maritime laws are governed by the federal government and its courts. This means that if you are traveling in U.S. waters, you must abide by federal laws. However, if you are in international waters or in the jurisdiction of another country, you want to make sure you are abiding by those laws.
- National Laws.
The United States has gun laws that specifically govern your ability to have a firearm. It may not even matter if you are in an ocean or the Gulf of Mexico. If you are on federal land or if there are laws specifically related to the carrying of firearms, you may find yourself needing to check to ensure that you are not in violation of those laws.
- State Laws.
Every state has laws governing a person’s ability to carry a firearm. You are likely to find that the same laws that govern carrying a weapon in your vehicle also cover carrying it on a boat. Check with these laws to ensure that you are not in violation first. These can usually be found at a place like the FindLaw website.
Transporting the Firearm.
If you have reviewed the laws governing the carrying of firearms and have found that it is perfectly acceptable to do, then your next step is to take the proper precautions to carry your firearm. You will need equipment and a little common sense to ensure that you are safely transporting it.
Get a Case
This is the first step. You want to ensure that you have the proper case to carry your firearm. It should have a secure lock on it, and should come with some kind of fixture that enables you to be able to attach it to the boat so it is not easily removed. This prevents it from being knocked overboard or keeps someone from attempting to take.
If there is a storage area on the boat where you can secure the case, then it is not necessary for it to have some kind of strap or cord to secure. You simply lock the firearm in the storage container to prevent it from being lost or stolen. No matter what kind of case you get, ensure that it is waterproof. Consider that the waters can get rough at times, and the last thing you want is for your firearm to get damaged by salty water.
Keep Your Gun Away from the Water.
This should go without saying, but you need to be careful about having your firearm around the water. Consider that salty water easily corrodes metal, which can cause your firearm to get damaged, maybe even making it useless. A lot of the firearm is probably made of metal such as stainless steel or nickel, and you need to ensure that you protect the weapon by keeping it away from any potential to get water on or in it.
Keep Your Firearm Unloaded.
It also makes sense to keep your firearm unloaded. This is something that many are unwilling to do because they carry their firearm with them to ensure that they are safe while they are out on their boat. That is understandable. However, while transporting your firearm keeping it unloaded ensures that there is a lot less risk of somebody getting injured, maybe even killed.
If you are worried about potential dangers that may arise while you are out on the water, consider carrying a clip that is already loaded with your firearm. Set in the case so that it is accessible if needed in an emergency. It will likely take you just a few seconds to slide the magazine into your firearm, which is unlikely to cause you any danger.
If you do absolutely feel that you must carry a loaded firearm with you, then make sure you do the following things:
- Ensure that the safety is activated before placing it into the case.
- Ensure that the muzzle is facing away from anyone while in storage. It should either face forward, up, or to the side.
- Ensure that the chamber is empty.
What to Do If Transporting More Than One Firearm?
Maybe you are in a situation where you are transporting more than one firearm. If this is the case, then you should basically follow the same steps that you would you are transporting a single weapon. Just to be on the safe side, here are the things to keep in mind.
- Ensure that all weapons are in their case and unloaded before you board the boat. This is even true if you intend to have one weapon that is loaded during your trip. For safety. It makes sense to have all of them unloaded prior to boarding.
- Ensure that firearms do not face any passengers. When storing always check to ensure that the position of the muzzle of the firearm is such that no one could be hurt if it should accidentally discharge.
- Try to secure all firearms into some form of locker or through the use of a sturdy harness. This will ensure that during rough seas that the weapons are not jostled or knocked overboard. All cases should be waterproof, and all weapons should be stored so that they do not face any of the passengers.
- If you do not have a locker, many weapons experts suggest storing the weapons in separate locations on the boat. Secure one firearm at the front, one at the back, and one on each side of the boat.
- If you are carrying one weapon that you intend to keep loaded, loaded after you have secured all of the other weapons on the boat. Keep that weapon close to you, but protected from rough seas and water.
When you have reached your destination, follow the same procedure you used to bring the firearms onto your boat. Any weapon that is loaded should be unloaded first. Each weapon should be released from the storage locker or harness separately and removed from the boat one at a time.
If you follow the safety procedures, you should have no issue. It is just a matter of being smart and doing things that can protect you and your passengers. That will help to ensure that the transporting of your firearm goes smoothly and without incident. So, bon voyage.