How Should Firearms Be Transported In A Boat

How Should Firearms Be Transported In A Boat? {it’s not just load/ unload}

Dogs are man's best friends while guns are man's best weapons. And just like our canine friends, care should be taken when transporting guns from one location to another especially on a boat. Speaking of boats, how should firearms be transported in a boat? This is a question whose answer depends on where you normally go hunting or fishing. In most states, there are strict laws on how firearms should be transported on a boat.

Thus before taking your gun on a fishing trip, make sure you know what the law of your state says about carrying guns on a boat. Also, it is important to know how to transport guns on a boat with or without the law. Here are some techniques you can employ when transporting firearms on a boat.

Get A Case

Personally, I do carry my shotgun when going fishing or waterfowl hunting and one of the things I have learned is that a carrying case always comes in handy. I recommend getting a best rifle case used for water fowl hunting or a Pelican Case.

These are cases specially designed for carrying guns in a boat. As such, these cases need to be waterproof and have a sling. Therefore, you can carry the gun on your back or tie it to your boat. Personally, I always tie my shotgun to the side of my boat with the muzzle facing forward.

My Favorite Pelican Cases 

Pelican 1750 Rifle Case

Should The Gun Be Loaded or Unloaded 

This is a question that is always the topic of debate among most of my hunting buddies. While some prefer carrying their firearms loaded others prefer carrying their firearms unloaded.

So how should firearms be transported in a boat, loaded or unloaded?

Well, to be honest, it depends on what the laws of your state say about carrying guns. Some states state that firearms should be carried unloaded on a boat, while other states are silent on this. Personally, I prefer carrying an unloaded gun on a boat.

should the gun loaded or unloaded

If you prefer carrying a loaded gun, then I recommend that you ensure the safety is on. Also, make sure the muzzle is facing forward away from you. However, ensure the chamber is empty even if the gun is loaded. If you have a side arm and a Concealed Pistol License, there is no reason why it should not be loaded.

Carry It In A Fixed Case : When?

If you are cruising on rough waters, tying your gun to the side of your boat might not be enough. In such situations, I recommend getting a case permanently fixed to the boat. Alternatively, you can use locking mounts to fix the gun to your boat. The idea is to ensure the gun is securely fixed and is not moving due to the rough waters.

Using a bungee cord to secure your firearm might not be the safest thing to do. I know cases where people have been injured when the firearm they are carrying falls down and fires. Therefore, to avoid accidents or damaging your boat, make sure your firearm is securely fixed if you are cruising through rough waters.

How Should Firearms Be Transported In A Boat2

Keep The Gun Away From Water : How?

Saltwater is the one thing that your firearm should never come in contact with. This is because salt water corrodes metal. And it does not matter whether your gun is made of nickel-plated metal or stainless steel.

keep the gun away from water

This is why it is important to carry your gun inside a waterproof casing. In other words, do not make the mistake of carrying your gun without a case. When you gun comes into contact without saltwater, its lifespan can be shortened. If you are cruising on the fresh water, you will still need a case to store your firearm in.

How The Muzzle Should Be Facing On The Boat?

So let's say you have gone fishing or hunting with a friend on a boat, and both of you are carrying firearms. In such a scenario, make sure that one of you occupies the front position of the boat. The other person should occupy the rear position of the boat.

How Should Firearms Be Transported In A Boat

Additionally, the first gun should be placed in the front with the muzzle facing forward. The other gun should be placed in the rear position with the muzzle facing rearwards. I further recommend that both guns should be stored inside a case.

Carrying The Gun From Home To The Boat

So it's not possible to transport your gun from your home to the river, lake or any other water body on your boat. To get to your intended water body, you will have to transport your gun in your car. To make sure, you are within the law when transporting the gun in your car it is important that you know the law.

carrying the gun

In some states, California being a prime example, you can only transport a gun inside a locked case. Also, the gun should be empty. Fortunately, you can use virtually any kind of case including a medical kit, as long as the gun is locked. However, this applies to pistols. For rifles, you will have to transport it inside its official case.

In other states, these regulations do not apply. Therefore, make sure you are within the law when transporting your gun in your car from your home to your boating area.

Other Techniques

As a gun enthusiast, I have many friends who carry guns on their boats. And in my conversations with some of them, I have picked up some unique techniques on how to transport firearms on a boat. One of my friends actually ties a cord through his gun's trigger guard and ties the other end of the cord to a part of the boat. This is to make it easy to retrieve the gun in case it falls accidentally. This technique works if you are using a small flat boat. Another thing you should do is keep the gun lubed and dry.


In conclusion, there are many answers to the question how should firearms be transported in a boat. However, to be on the safe side, make sure the gun is unloaded, and the safe is on. Additionally, carry the gun inside a case such as a Pelican case. Thus, if your rifle did not come with a custom case, you will need to buy one. The case should be waterproof.

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