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Hello folks,

Up home for a few days prior to going for some diving at Whitby. A diving buddy of mine is expressing a interest in taking his new Spear gun and getting some lunch whilst we are diving. Aside my total indifference to the catching of animals (I've caught and eaten many a scalop/crap/lobster myself) and my nature caution at someone shooting off barbs within my water area...i was wonderig at the law regarding these.

As i'm away from PNLD and about to go out, i was wondering if any one knew the relvent law on the possession and use of a speargun.

My buddy is a 56year male or sound mind.

I have a feeling, after a brief look, that it might be covered under the crossbow laws (as same mechanism of fire) though unsure. I was also wondering as to the aspects of fishing with it, as whilst it will be in the sea, it will very much only be RHIB based and as such in UK waters, so if there was any protections there, as there are with fresh water fishing in some circumstance.

Interest for information sake rather than anything,



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Just found this in s1 of the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975, it covers "spears" so I guess spearguns will be the same thing

1 Prohibited implements

(1) . . . no person shall—

(a) use any of the following instruments, that is to say—

(i) a firearm within the meaning of the Firearms Act 1968;

(ii) an otter lath or jack, wire or snare;

(iii) a crossline or setline;

(iv) a spear, gaff, [tailer,] stroke-haul, snatch or other like instrument;

(v) a light;

for the purpose of taking or killing [salmon, trout, eels, lampreys, smelt, shad, freshwater fish and any specified fish in any waters]

It seems like it's just illegal to use one for anything that lives in freshwater or otherwise specified. It should be okay other than that.

To back that up, I found this on http://news.bbc.co.u...von/3056380.stm

"It is illegal to use spear guns in freshwater areas"

Edited by N7_Spectre
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No licence is required for a speargun However, Spearguns and spears are potentially lethal and when used in a dangerous manner, the laws governing the use of an offensive weapon would apply. Spearfishing is illegal in the non tidal reaches of Britain's rivers. No licence or permit is required for fishing in the sea around the coast of Britain.

The following are not regarded as firearms for the purposes of the Firearms Act 1968

'Nail (etc) guns "Hilti" guns, hot air guns, alarm guns, line throwing equipment, flares etc (except Very guns), devices for firing nets to trap birds, harpoon/spear guns, tag guns (such as Kimble or Dennison) and crossbows.'

The crossbow act 1975 states to posses or own a crossbow one must be 17 yrs or older A draw weight of less than 15kg applies to crossbows for people under 17 yrs. there is no restriction on the draw weight for over 17s. Under the wildlife & countryside act 1981 the use of any bow,arrow or other similar item (crossbow) is prohibited for the taking/killing of any bird/animal. Spearguns, which are only crossbows without the cross maybe used for salt water fishing ie bass, cod etc but is illegal to use to take salmon, sea trout & trout. There is no actual restriction as to where one can shoot a crossbow

Crossbow Law

A person under the age of seventeen who has with him—

(a)a crossbow which is capable of discharging a missile, or

(b)parts of a crossbow which together (and without any other parts) can be assembled to form a crossbow capable of discharging a missile,

is guilty of an offence, unless he is under the supervision of a person who is twenty-one years of age or older.

4 Powers of search and seizure etc

(1)If a constable suspects with reasonable cause that a person is committing or has committed an offence under section 3, the constable may—

(a)search that person for a crossbow or part of a crossbow;

(b)search any vehicle, or anything in or on a vehicle, in or on which the constable suspects with reasonable cause there is a crossbow, or part of a crossbow, connected with the offence.

(2)A constable may detain a person or vehicle for the purpose of a search under subsection (1).

(3)A constable may seize and retain for the purpose of proceedings for an offence under this Act anything discovered by him in the course of a search under subsection (1) which appears to him to be a crossbow or part of a crossbow.

(4)For the purpose of exercising the powers conferred by this section a constable may enter any land other than a dwelling-house.

5 Exception

This Act does not apply to crossbows with a draw weight of less than 1.4 kilograms.

The Violent Crime Reduction act 2006 amends various parts of the Crossbow act 1987, the most important of which raises the age that they may be purchased from 17 to 18.

Edited by Killicksparker
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Cheers folks, that helps me when we talk next. I figured that the crossbow act would come into it like.


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do you know how old you have to be to use one under 17 is it or under 18

Edited by georgefisalad

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do you know how old you have to be to use one under 17 is it or under 18

See my post above

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Bear in mind that there are different types of speargun.

My dad and I used to spearfish off the coast in Wales. We used a 'rubber band' type speargun and also one that operated using compressed air. My Dad at one point had a few old compressed air spearguns from his student days that he destroyed at some point when a change in the law meant that they would become illegal - something about their power, I think.

I have no idea what that change might have been.

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