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Safe At Sea, Legal In Port

How Do You Secure Your Boat At Sea Consistent With The Laws When In Port?

Some of the most exciting trips in the world are increasingly impacted by piracy. Scuba dive in the Red Sea or around Indonesia and you will be conscious of the risks of piracy.

International Maritime Bureau Piracy & Armed Robbery Map 2013

So, if you want to see the world, protect your family, and follow the laws, what do you do? Here are two tricks that may be of interest.

My starting premise is that most lethal weapons lead to problems in port and most "less lethal" weapons are crap at sea. For one example, noise-based systems are unpleasant… but so is much of everyday life in places such as Mogadishu. Note the piracy rates around Greenwich, Connecticut are holding steady at zero. We will need to consider steps that go beyond the unpleasant.

The first trick is to maintain a readily available 37mm flare launcher, a piece of equipment that can easily fit within the classification of a signaling device at sea. This is not a weapon. That being said, my experience is that a few crew members with these can effectively signal "please stay off of my boat" in any language:

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It nicely splits the difference between legality and security. My favorite models are manufactured in Connecticut by Bates & Dittus.

What do you do if they misunderstand this signal? Another piece of equipment worth maintaining at sea is skeet and trap sporting equipment. This is fun for owners and crew and can be done in an environmentally sensitive manner (essentially just replace lead shot with steel). Mossberg even has a model, the 590A1 Mariner, which is specifically coated with their "Marinecote" finish which protects it from saltwater.

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While this piece of sporting equipment has never garnered undue attention in port, unwanted guests could be forgiven if they interpret several crew members shooting clay pigeons off of the back of a boat as an invitation to leave.

Safe and sound:Click to enlarge

Want to learn more about modern piracy? You may want to read Dangerous Waters: Modern Piracy and Terror on the High Seas.