The Dos and Don’ts of Having Guns on Boats

Whether you are a recreational boater, angler, or a hunter, it is important to know the dos and don’ts of having guns on boats. Guns can be helpful for protection and hunting, but they can also pose a safety risk if they are not stored and handled properly. In this blog post, we will discuss the essential dos and don’ts of firearms on boats to ensure that your waterborne adventures are safe and enjoyable.


Store Guns Safely

Properly securing firearms is perhaps the most essential do when it comes to guns on boats. Firearms should be kept in a locked container, preferably a gun safe. When storing a gun, make sure that it is unloaded. Always ensure that ammunition is stored separately and also secured.

Follow State, Federal and International Laws and Regulations

The laws concerning guns can vary depending on the location where you are boating. It is crucial to stay up-to-date with the gun laws and regulations wherever you take your boat. For instance, some states may require special permits, training or licensing to possess firearms on boats.

Keep Your Firearm Close at Hand

If you own a firearm for self-defense purposes, make sure that you keep it close at hand. Store it in a location that is within your reach. If you have a concealed carry permit, carry your gun in a secure holster that you can easily access in a high-stress situation.

Maintain Your Firearm

Your firearm must be well-maintained and in good condition. Regular cleaning and oiling will ensure that your gun will work when you need it. Make sure that you are familiar with the operation of your weapon and how to clean it correctly.

Practice Safe Shooting

If you plan to use your firearm for hunting, practice safe shooting. Know the range of your weapon, understand the hunting laws, and, always be aware of your surroundings.


Display Guns in Public

Flagrantly exposing firearms in public places, such as in marinas or on shore, can create unnecessary tension and escalation from others. This behavior may be illegal and threaten safety, so avoid carrying visible firearms or, if necessary, conceal them.

Drink and Handle Guns

Alcohol and firearms do not mix. Boating is a recreational activity, and alcohol may be enjoyed while boating means but you should always clear when using firearms.

Fire Guns on the Boat

Firing guns on boats is not only dangerous but can be problematic for law enforcement. The shot sound of guns can be mistaken as gunshots, which may lead to unnecessary calls to marine patrols local enforcement agencies.

Be Careless with Your Firearm

Boating can sometimes be a rough experience. Never forget that firearms can be dangerous, and you should keep your action to a minimum. For instance, avoid waving your gun around carelessly. Be respectful of your firearm and keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction when not targeting.

Engage in illegal activity

When on board in a boat that’s moving, ensure that you are engaging in legal activity. If the authorities confirm that you are involved in illegal fishing activities in federal waters, you could be subject to civil, criminal, and administrative fines, sanctions or forfeitures.


Boating with firearms is an American pastime, but it comes with significant responsibilities. By following the essential dos and don’ts listed above, you can stay safe and abide by local and international laws. Keeping firearms secure, maintaining them, and practicing safe shooting etiquette ensures that we can all enjoy our boating and hunting experiences without endangering ourselves or others.

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