Many of you may not know it, but I love to saltwater fish in Florida. I try to go 4-5 times a year with my dad fishing around Tampa Bay or the Gulf of Mexico. There’s nothing more relaxing than dropping the boat off the lift and heading out for a day of sunshine and fish. I’ve always thought about the methods of concealed carry when fishing or being on the water.

When you start boating on any large body of water, you inherently have less ability to call for help whether it’s police or rescue services. My dad at first said there was no risk of anything happening on the water. I didn’t agree and said if anything it’s harder for police services to intervene if something was to ever happen. Now I wouldn’t say this is me being paranoid because it’s no different than carrying when going out to run errands in my mind.

Things to Consider

Over the last four or five months, I have really been trying to figure out the best way of carrying while fishing or on a boat in general. Saltwater fishing is especially tricky because the long term exposure to firearms will lead to corrosion if there isn’t continual maintenance. Another thing that should be obvious but isn’t to all people is the fact that firearms and alcohol should never be mixed. I never understood why alcohol and boating are mixed so often but when you add a firearm onto the boat it should never include alcohol as well. Carrying a firearm while on a boat should be like any other time you carry a firearm and should be looked at as any other activity.

Types of Guns

Shotguns

I visit west Florida and the Tampa area fairly often throughout the year and I’m shocked by the number of people who have been picking up mariner versions of the Mossberg Shockwave and Remington 870 both short and full-size variants to carry on their boat. When I talked with five charter boat captains I know, three of them said they have one type of mariner shotgun on board their boat. Personally, I thought this was a really interesting choice for carrying on a boat. I still prefer a handgun but in a pinch, I guess that would be a good alternative.

Handguns

My personal choice when heading out to fish is a handgun I can shoot effectively that won’t break the bank. I usually carry something that is reliable but doesn’t cost a ton just because of the salt water corrosion that will inevitably happen. It’s always amazing how fast saltwater over time can ruin most materials in a fairly short amount of time. On most fishing trips I have my Glock 19 or I will carry a Kahr CM9 if it’s really hot outside. Typically, I tend to only carry guns I can abuse and not worry. If you do carry often around salt water, the importance of firearm maintenance is even more vital than ever.

TFB Writer Alex C fishing in Tampa carrying a Smith & Wesson 360

I will admit this is probably the only time I would buy the SIG Sauer MK25 over any of the Elite packages. The protective coating SIG puts on the MK25 is one of the only guns you can buy stock that comes with a protective coating designed strictly against saltwater corrosion. You may see me pick up a used MK25 in the future just to do a long term test on how it holds up to saltwater corrosion.

Overall Thoughts

I think carrying a firearm when fishing or on the water, in general, is a smart decision. There is no easy way for authorities to reach you if there’s an emergency. Most days I go fishing even on Tampa bay I will see one sheriffs department boat for the entire bay. If it’s on the weekend, the police boats are constantly getting calls all over the bay. Typically you are on your own and I think it’s even more important to be conscious about your personal safety. Let me know what you guys do when going out into the outdoors. If you have any questions feel free to reach out on my Instagram page @fridgeoperator. Stay safe out there.

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