Why take a gun on a boat? Well, I don’t think target shooting on your favorite sandbar is a good idea, but I have done some duck hunting over at Okeechobee in an air boat. I guess if you had a large boat and could mount a clay pigeon thrower on it, you could break some clay birds under ideal conditions while offshore with no other boats in sight. There’s always defense of self and property. Guns have of course been used to dispatch unruly sharks next to the boat, but even the commercial guys I know hardly do this anymore. It’s just a lot easier to simply snip the leader and let him go about his business. But I have to admit that in my days as a commercial longline fisherman I took revenge on many hooked sharks that had taken 50-pound bites out of a hooked swordfish or tuna before I could get to it. Now, before all you anti-commercial fishermen folks set fire to my column, I never set any gear inside of 50 fathoms of water and actually received a number of awards from Woods Hole and Mote Marine Laboratory for tagging and releasing many species of fish. I worked in conjunction with these people on several research projects, tagging and releasing marlin, sailfish, sharks and other species. I fished the waters from the Grand Banks to the Amazon Basin, and all of the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. The data I collected for these folks was helpful in conservation efforts.
Anyway, you know how I am all about gun safety, and one thing I learned early on is that handling a gun on a boat is a lot different than onshore. Constant movement of the vessel can affect safety in a big way. Slippery deck conditions and wind and weather make handling a gun on a boat a whole different ballgame. Close or cramped quarters on deck or in the cabin require extra consideration and training in order to safely deploy a gun. For self-defense, a shotgun is often chosen for use on a yacht or boat. What many people don’t realize that handling a shotgun, even a short-barreled tactical model, in a cramped area like a boat cabin or passageway requires some specialized training. If you don’t believe me, take your prized Mossberg or Remington tactical gun aboard unloaded and run some practice scenarios getting the gun out of its rack or case and trying to acquire a target picture in the dark. It’s a little harder than you probably thought, and did you sweep anyone in the process? Training and practice, my friend, training and practice.
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