Cruising the Open Waters Armed…Laws to Consider

Cruising the Open Waters Armed...Laws to Consider

( – The need to defend yourself doesn’t stop when you’re trying to slow down and enjoy life while cruising on the open waters. In fact, you face a variety of vulnerabilities, like crossing paths with some pirates. So, you have decided to carry a firearm with you. You have all the necessary permits where you live, and you are proficient with the use of your weapon. But is this a good idea? What about the laws concerning traveling on the open seas with a firearm?

First Consideration

The first thing you need to do is decide if it’s worth the effort to bring your firearm on your boat cruise. Firearms laws vary from state to state, sometimes drastically. Crossing state lines with a gun can get you into trouble, let alone crossing into another country.

Once a vessel is more than 24 nautical miles from any coastline, you have entered the high seas or international water. Once you cross that boundary, you fall under the country’s laws in which your vessel is registered and whichever country’s flag it’s flying if it’s different.

It’s also important to understand that there is no law enforcement in international waters despite the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and their Suppression of Piracy and Armed Robbery Against Ships programs. In other words, there is no authority to protect against terrorists, pirates, enforce laws, or board and inspect vessels.

US Federal and the Laws of Other Countries

When you travel outside of the US on a vessel, you are still under US federal law when traveling with a firearm on board. When you want to travel to another country, be sure to research their laws and regulations regarding weapons like you would when traveling from one state to another.

When traveling to the waters of another country, make sure your research sources are current. Laws frequently change in some locations, and you want to know about any recent changes that could affect you.

International Traffic in Arms Regulations

American citizens traveling overseas are subject to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations. Also known as the ITAR, it is a regulatory system used to safeguard national security and US weapons technology.

The ITAR requires any person departing the US with firearms or ammunition to obtain a license or valid exemption from the Department of State Trade Controls or Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security prior to travel. These regulations apply regardless of your travel method.

Final Thoughts

Recent news items and Hollywood movies have raised concerns about pirates and terrorists when traveling by water. If you decide to take a weapon with you, make sure you know how to use it and have researched potential risks where you plan to travel. You may find yourself confronted by attackers armed with AK-47s, AR-15s, and even rocket-propelled grenades.

Of course, there are other ways to travel, like taking a bus, train, or airplane. Check out how to be prepared when traveling and going through the Transportation Security Administration’s screening process. Additionally, check this handy item; it could save your life one day.

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