Carrying a Gun While Boating: Florida Boating Gun Laws Explained

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The Truth About Florida Boating Laws: Carrying a Gun on a Boat

First of all, rumors make me angry.  I detest rumors more than I detest the dentist, raking, cleaning toilets, or any other G0d-awful task that I must do from time to time.

There are a ton of rumors going around about carrying a gun on a boat in Florida.  Here are some of the most recent gun rumors I’ve heard about:

  • You can carry a gun on a boat in Florida, but remember the “3 Step Rule!”
  • You can’t carry a gun on a boat in Florida at all.
  • Guns are evil and they kill people so you shouldn’t carry a gun. (OK, I made that one up hehe)

Here’s the bottom line about carrying a gun on a boat in Florida, found in Florida law chapter 790.25 section 5:

Lawful Ownership, Possession, and Use of Firearms and Other Weapons
Possession in Private Conveyance.–Notwithstanding subsection (2), it is lawful and is not a violation of s. 790.01 for a person 18 years of age or older to possess a concealed firearm or other weapon for selfdefense or other lawful purpose within the interior of a private conveyance, without a license, if the firearm or other weapon is securely encased or is otherwise not readily accessible for immediate use. Nothing herein contained prohibits the carrying of a legal firearm other than a handgun anywhere in a private conveyance when such firearm is being carried for a lawful use. Nothing herein contained shall be construed to authorize the carrying of a concealed firearm or other weapon on the person. This subsection shall be liberally construed in favor of the lawful use, ownership, and possession of firearms and other weapons, including lawful self-defense as provided in s. 776.012.

So you may carry a firearm on a boat in Florida if:

  • You are 18 years old
  • You are lawfully able to own a firearm
  • You are using it for self defense or other lawful purpose
  • The firearm is securely encased and not readily accessible

What Does “Securely Encased” and “Not Readily Accessible” Mean? TELL ME NOW!

As defined in Florida law chapter 790.001, paragraph 17:

“Securely encased” means in a glove compartment, whether or not locked; snapped in a holster; in a gun case, whether or not locked; in a zippered gun case; or in a closed box or container which requires a lid or cover to be opened for access

So securely encased means your firearm must be stored in one of these ways:

  • In a glove compartment (locked or unlocked) OR
  • In a snapped holster OR
  • In a gun case (locked or unlocked) OR
  • Zippered gun case OR
  • In a closed box or container which has a lid that needs to be opened for access
If you are 18 years old, have no criminal history, and are not doing anything illegal, you may carry a gun in any of these places.  Your tackle box is a great place to put a gun on your boat!
Remember: The above picture is ALWAYS a bad idea.

Remember: There is No “3 Step Rule” in Florida. It Never Existed!

Tons of people have heard – even from Citrus County’s finest cops – that there is a “3 Step Rule” to carrying a gun (without a license) in your car or boat in Florida.  This “law” never has existed, never will exist, and whomever told you about the “3 Step Rule” was misinformed.

Remember: If you have a concealed carry license, your firearm can be on your person or anywhere in your boat as long as its concealed.

Did You Know That You Can Open Carry While Fishing in Florida?

Florida law 790.25 allows you to hunt, fish, and camp while open carrying your firearm. You are also technically allowed to open carry to and from these expeditions.  That means if you are fishing on your boat, or traveling to or from the fishing area, you may open carry.


What if a Law Enforcement Officer Approaches?

Step 1: Crap your pants.
Step 2: Crap them again.

Just kidding. But there is a real issue here – cops do not know the law. Think about all the other laws that cops need to know about – fishing rules, boating laws, etc. Firearm laws are at the back of their list!

In Florida, you are not required to tell the officers or Coast Guard personnel that you have firearms on your boat unless you are asked.

If you’re open carrying while fishing, however, I would keep your hands well away from your firearm at all time!

Keep in mind – no law enforcement official wants to be surprised by the unexpected appearance of a firearm. Angry cops write tickets. 🙂

If you see law enforcement, you are under no obligation to tell them that you have firearms unless they ask. If you are open carrying, keep your hands well away from your pistol.

These laws only apply to Florida and U.S. Federal waters. If you are venturing to foreign ports such as the Bahamas, it is advised that you contact the country’s consulate to determine what the firearm-carry laws are in advance.


Sign up for FREE Concealed Carry Classes!

If you are interested in getting your Florida concealed carry weapons permit we offer frequent classes in Citrus County, Florida. Contact us today to learn more about how you can get your Florida concealed carry license or to sign up for a class.


  1. Thanks for the information to the general public. About time they were educated with the CORRECT information. Been a CCW holder for well over 10 yrs. Never leave home without it. Can’t wait till you get your range open in Citrus County!!

    • Hi Rick!

      Thanks for your comment.

      Glad to hear you never leave the house with out your firearm! Wish more people would do the same. Florida has over a million permits, but the vast majority don’t carry daily.

      Thanks and be safe,


  2. Thanks I have always been told to remember the three step rule…
    I do have a question I have a holster bolted under my stearing wheel where I carry my 45
    I do have a ccw are you saying this is unlawful in my truck that even with a ccw it still has to be hidden

    • Hey Jim!

      Thanks for your comment. With a concealed carry permit, having your firearm secured the way you described sounds fine. As long as its out of sight it can be anywhere in the car.



  3. My wife,mother n law and I would like to get concealed carry permits. When are the classes and where. We live in Dunnellon.


  4. Thank U Andy For The Boating Info Vinny & I Have A Boat & We Took Your Class & Now We Know . Thank U Very Much. Hope Classes R Full For The Summer For U . Keep U Busy, Thanks Again
    Heather & Vinny

  5. Hey Jim,

    Thanks for this article it’s been very very educational, if you could please just explain one thing. Let’s say I go on my fishing “night fishing” on my friends boat am I allowed to open carry even though I do not have my concealed permit?

  6. Great and easy to understand message posted regarding having a firearm in vehicle or boat. As for concealed carry,means just that,being concealed,not exposed or in view. What about carrying holstered,and in view,is a permit required ?. Holding a weapon in hand,in a just in case situation is considered branishing,when not in a life threatening situation, a gray area. If one is stopped for a road violation,speeding ect. and has a weapon on board,out of courtesy,i would let the LEO know,and not wait to be asked.If a search of vehicle is made,and weapon found, might be questionable. This disclosure is out of courtesy,and may prevent a road violation,and a warning only.If stopped in Michigan,the very first thing done,is letting the LEO know that there is a weapon aboard. If otherwise,and weapon is found,your going to jail for nondisclosure. Check state laws before traveling.All about common sense.

  7. I’ve searched for an answer to my question, but with no success.
    I never leave home without my pistol, I do not have a concealed permit because I simply do not believe I should have to get permission from a corrupt government. Most generally it’s strapped to my ankle, otherwise its in my center console. I have employees and friends that are felons,they sometimes ride with me and I worry about them getting in trouble because they are with me but, I will not jeopardize me or my family’s safety . Where would I find the statutes/laws for carrying with felons? Also when I go camping and fishing with them.

  8. Do I need a CCW to open carry while fishing in florida? Or is it open to any person who is legal to have such firearm?

  9. Ok so we see we can open carry while engaged in fishing, camping and enjoying the outdoors in florida, even in the conveyance to and from the outing, My question is how does this apply to Federal wildlife refuges within Florida? like
    Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge,
    Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge Etc. etc. As we traverse roads, trails and waterways within the refuge ???

  10. I have a couple questions.
    1- i do need a ccw to open carry when fishing or camping in Fl ?
    2- i can take class to get ccw for free? On the selectd dates?

  11. Are the laws stated above in 2013 still current in 2020?
    Also, would you kindly post a link to the current Federal and FL laws websites?
    Thanks for posting this information, and thanks in advance if you are able to help answer these questions.

  12. Looking at “” shows that it has changed.
    I will now check with USCG

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