What size knives are allowed in Cayman?

| 13/09/2017

I just want to know what the legal size limits are for knives here in Cayman. I’ve seen a few knives overseas that I would like to get, but I don’t want to get in trouble with customs. I’ve tried asking a few people here, but the answers vary a lot. So is it blade length that matters? Or the type? Since one can easily find huge kitchen knives here. What about camping knives? Sorry for the loaded question, I just want to know my options.

Auntie’s answer: Before I get to the specifics of your questions, I must say I was a bit surprised by them. There are a “few knives overseas that (you) would like to get”? What is that about? I am struggling to understand why you would want to bring in knives. However, having said that, people are encouraged to ask me anything, so I will answer your questions in good faith.

The answers you seek are found in the Penal Code (2017 Revision). While I freely admit my ignorance of most types of knives, I draw you attention to Section 78, which details these “instruments”. The code mentions and describes daggers (which actually include swords), flick knives, gravity knives and just plain old knives, the last one including “any cutting instrument, not being a dagger, whether ending in a sharp point or not”.

The code further calls an offensive weapon “any object made or adapted for use for causing injury to the person or intended by the person having it with him for such use by him”, and a prohibited weapon includes a flick or gravity knife. Under the category of restricted weapon, you can find machetes and knives. There are plenty of other weapons that are listed in these categories but I am restricting my answer to knives.

A few other sections are relevant as well. Section 79 says, “A person who imports, manufactures, sells or hires or offers for sale or hire, or has in his possession any prohibited weapon commits an offence and is liable to a fine of ten thousand dollars and to imprisonment for ten years.”

Section 80 specifies, “A person who wears or carries any offensive weapon, not being a prohibited weapon, outside his own house and premises commits an offence and is liable to a fine of five thousand dollars and to imprisonment for four years:

“…. Provided further that if the offensive weapon is a knife, no person shall be deemed to have committed an offence against this section if he shall prove that he was wearing or carrying such knife outside his own house and premises for some lawful purpose for which such knife was necessary.”

One other part of the code that relates to your question is Section 83 (2), which says, “Nothing in this Law shall prevent –
(a) any person from carrying a clasp knife, provided that it has not a blade of more than four inches in length whether ending in a sharp point or not provided that it is not so constructed as to be convertible by means of a spring or other device into a dagger, flick knife, gravity knife or knife with a fixed blade.”

That’s about all I want to write about knives so I hope that answers your questions.

The law mentioned in this column can be found on the CNS Library


Category: Ask Auntie

Comments (32)

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  1. David P says:

    I don’t know, and I’d like to know for sure so I’m calling to find out tomorrow. That being said the Customs web sites seems fairly clear on the matter. Short of certain blades, knifes of all sorts can be brought onto the island. http://www.customs.gov.ky/portal/page/portal/cushome/restrictions

    What I’m particularly needing to know is if my dive knife is ok. It’s a significant blade, sharp, pointed and with serated side. The last thing I want it to get arrested and/or fined for breaking Cayman Law while snorkeling or scuba diving.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Actually I am quite disappointed in this answe from auntie Anne. Why is there the natural assumption that the ONLY reason the person is asking is to bring in knives for protection or possible harm. What about as others are suggesting – for cooking, or for diving or for collection. Auntie Anne you need to provide a response that address the position of customs in the other scenarios as well. Is it that if I go to Walmart and buy a Chinese chooper or a paring knife and I have this in my checked luggage that I need to declare this with custom? And face a possible fine or confiscation?

  3. Anonymous says:

    You can have whatever you w ant so long as it stays in your house. Makes no sense but, then again, very little makes sense on this island. Been here 17 years never had a problem where I needed one for self defence.

  4. Anonymous says:

    So sad. Anyway , you can bring any size knife you desire . As a matter of fact stainless steel are duty-free . To carry on you in public , the blade has to be no longer than 4″ and there are some types not allowed to be carried in public .

  5. Anonymous says:

    Also, butterfly knives can be used as somewhat of an art in the way to open them and throw them around.

  6. Stop The Crime says:

    This answer needs FAR more clarification. There are long machetes being sold at AL Thompson’s as I write this. They are going for less than $10. Are you saying these are somehow illegal?

  7. Anonymous says:

    You can buy kitchen knives and machetes on island . If you are coming here to reside shop local as much as possiblrpe, thank you.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Knives are forbidden on commercial passenger aircraft , for a very good reason.

    • Anonymous says:

      Wrong, all you have to do is put them in your US checked baggage with your rifles and pistols.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Pro-tip… If you keep a machete in your vehicle make sure you also keep a pair of gardening gloves. Your lawyer will thank you.

  10. Al Catraz says:

    “I am struggling to understand why you would want to bring in knives.”

    I am struggling to understand who is the domestic Cayman manufacturer of the knives in everyone’s kitchen.

    Are you saying there is some sort of procedure for purchasing a set of knives and bringing them into Cayman?

    • Anonymous says:

      B’cause the crap kitchen knives sold here at seriously inflated prices are a waste of steel and $$$.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Why then is it OK for a grounds keeper to walk into a gas station with a machete to purchase a drink? I see this happening on a regular basis and was even shocked to see someone walking into a grocery store with a 24″+ machete and his face wrapped in a black t-shirt. obviously I turned and walked back to my car to report a crime to 911 buy before I could he came out with a patty and his face unwrapped . I still find this shocking yet a person like myself can’t carry a taser or pepper spray as protection or I will be put in jail. This Island is so backwards.

    • Anonymous says:

      Carry a machete and I guess you will be fine?

    • Anonymous says:

      I think you’ll find this in the islands all over the world. I suggest you travel a bit and broaden your mind. Until then just chill out, it’s an island thing. Don’t forget where you are?


    • Anonymous says:

      Everyone should have a machete (or cutlass if you prefer) for self defence. You work with the legal tools available. But note the advice about keeping your garden gloves with it. You could shave yourself with my gardeners machete, mine is duller but the simple fact of having it is the deterrent.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I think unless you’re talking about a practical knife (for use for example when camping) (which are available on island in hardware stores), I would suggest that you refrain from bringing any knife to the island. Whilst I understand that some people collect knives and have a fascination with them, there is something inherently unhealthy about finding interest (and beauty) in an object which in most cases is designed to kill. As it’s literacy month I would suggest you take up an interest in books instead, you’re less likely to harm someone and you may broaden your knowledge. Good luck sir!

    • Anonymous says:

      I have a collection of Eastern swords, because I consider them a work of art and have no ‘fascination’ with killing. But you would do well to remember that our food was once killed with knives, arrows and spears.

      • Anonymous says:

        Here here, me too!

      • Beaumont Zodecloun says:

        Indeed; for many people, knives are merely tools, as well as works of art. I have a set of meat processing knives that are occasionally useful in my profession. I’ve carried a pocketknife all my life, and rarely does a day go by where it isn’t used. Like yourself, I have a few unique knives that have some artistic, asethetic and/or historical merit.

        I don’t appreciate the judgement passed upon by the person asking the original question. The person to whom you responded appears all too quick to assume that an appreciation of a fine tool equates to a dearth of knowledge, literacy or appreciation of books.

    • Anonymous says:

      Some people also use knives for cooking…

    • Mokes-for-all says:

      Sorry, but that is rather a naiive comment. Knives are tools, each designed to serve a specific, or general, purpose, depending on the type of knife. By your logic, we should no longer buy screwdrivers or hammers, as those could also be construed as ‘designed to kill’. Not to mention baseball bats or cricket bats. Where do we stop? A well-constructed, sharp knife is a godsend to anyone who needs one as a functional tool. You just have to make sure that it is not a tool who is using it.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thanks I’m now dumber for reading you’re comment

    • Al Catraz says:

      Neither the question nor the answer seem to address any meaningful distinction around what sort of “knives” we are talking about. The answer seems to suggest that if you fly to Miami, pick up a set of kitchen knives at Target, and bring them back, then that is somehow illegal. Absent anything in the question which addresses what sort of knives we are talking about, then both the question and the answer are indefinite, meaningless, and unhelpful.

    • Al Catraz says:

      “I would suggest that you refrain from bringing any knife to the island.”

      Including diving knives? That seems bizarre for a diving destination.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Anyone that gets into a scuffle and is found to have had a knife or machete of any description, faces serious charges – even if the intention was defensive. It’s just a really bad idea.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Why would you be surprised by this question. Many people collect knives, daggers and swords. Why would you think that the person asking the question has any sinister reason for wanting this answered save to ensure that he/she does not get harassed/charged by someone in customs. Which by the way can and does happen as I know someone who when returning from university brought their collection back and was harassed.. Also I don’t really understand your response. Are you saying that the importation or sale of machetes is an offence? Huh these are sold locally and needed for yard work. Can you please be more specific with your answer. As far as I know importation/possession is not an offence. The offence is if you have them on your person out in public. Please clarify???

    • Jotnar says:

      Swords and or pointed blades and knifes without an everyday use are offensive weapons rather than prohibited ones, so the rules banning importation do not apply, but the ones re carriage in public do. So you should be able to import your sword or dagger, just don’t carry it to a bar or night club, or for that matter anywhere outside the home. Whereas a machete is a knife – so carriage outside the home is fine provided you can demonstrate you were doing so for a lawful purpose. So carrying the tools of your trade, even if its a machete, into Fosters is fine if you are in the course of your normal affairs where a machete may be useful – carrying it into Fete or Bananas not so much. Its pretty much common sense.

    • Anonymous says:

      Auntie thinks collecting knives is icky.