Boat Bugout Planning

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on February 4, 2018


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Note: There are inside jokes in this article you won't get if you are not a regular Diner.  If you wonder why I made a reference, just move on. lol.


Home Built 22 2009 Homebuilt 22 for sale in Edmonds, WA My friend and co-Admin on the Diner Eddie and myself are both Sailing Enthusiasts, although neither of us currently own a boat you could reasonably do a Bugout with when TSHTF.  Eddie is in a better position to actually do this, he has a good deal more MONEY than I do, and he is Healthier too.  I do hope for a miraculous recovery from my various health problems though, and I do have enough MONEY to pursue the Seasteading paradigm that I outline here.  It's probably more than a typical Millenial has available, but it can be reduced substantially also, particularly if you are a handy sort of person who can do refurbishing and repair yourself.  Damaged boats like these go for pennies on the dollar quite often, and there are quite a few of them around Houston/Corpus Christi for instance these days in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.  Also numerous ones in the Brit & FSoA Virgin Islands.  At auction, you can sometimes pick up a 30' boat in reasonable condition for under $10K.  The little Pocket Cruiser at right is asking $16K and in good shape in Edmonds, WA.  Possibly affordable for a Millenial working as a Starbucks Barrista and saving his pennies while living in Mom's basement in the McMansion and keeping bizzy on the X-Box.  If he is not spending his excess income on Ganja, he can pour it into fixing up the boat and getting it ready for SHTF Day.  Once it is in decent shape also, he'll be able to move out of mom's basement and play the X-Box games in the cabin.  He might even get laid once or twice also. lol.

This paradigm is also cheaper than buying your own Doomstead and fitting that out for post SHTF Day Survival.  Buying land and setting up such a location is pretty expensive, and you need to do it well out of range of the Big Shities.  This takes you away from work opportunities for making higher wages while the money is still good.  You are also limited in that paradigm because you are subject to the vissicitudes of Nature for that neighborhood.  A beautiful Doomstead in the Canadian Wilderness can be wiped out by a forest fire in a heartbeat these days, even if you can run your car on charcoal gas you make yourself and heat your cabin in -20F temps.  Drought around your Texas Doomstead can ruin that plan in fair short order too.  Of course, you ALSO have the issue of Protecting & Defending your Doomstead once the political landscape collapses, since your "Title" to the property won't be worth a hill of beans at that point.  The cops you might try calling to help you fight of the Zombies probably would take your preps from you themselves after the Zombies were wiped out.

The "Seasteading" paradigm is hardly free of its own problems though.  Boats aren't very secure when docked or moored and easily burglarized or the whole damn boat stolen.  At sea as time goes by here in collapse you'll likely have to worry about Pirates too.  This already is a significant problem for Yachties sailing around Africa and the Mediterranean.   Modern boats also have a lot of parts which can (and will eventually) fail, and you can only carry so many spare parts and sails on a relatively small boat.  Then of course you have the traditional problems of the weather, which isn't getting any better these days.  Quite a few yachties lost their floating homes in the Carribean this year when the Hurricanes barreled through town. Despite these disadvantages, the Seasteading paradigm has a lot of romantic appeal, along with some realistic advantages as well.  If you live aboard NOW, before SHTF Day you can do it cheaper than either mortgaging for a McMansion or even just renting a flat in many overpriced real estate markets.  You can also change your location and take your dwelling with you to find work, although you are generally limited to the coastlines.  That is however where most of the population lives, so there are some opportunities for work still available in various places.  When SHTF Day comes to your neighborhood, you can make your escape (in theory) to virtually anywhere in the world if you are a capable enough sailor.  You could head for an Island in the South Pacific in a Tropical Rainforest Paradise to do daily battle with PYTHONS who want to share your living space, or the Fjords of New Zealand or even to Tristan da Cunha, Edinburgh of the Seven Seas, considered the most remote island on earth and home to about 300 inbred Brits. lol..

In this article, I examine some of the gear you want to have along with you, packed on your floating Bugout Machine all the time for a quick escape to GTFO of Dodge.  This article is actually the 3rd in a series I have been pursuing with Eddie on the Seasteading Forum Inside the Diner.  You can find the first two articles in the series in that thread, along with many suggestions from both Eddie and myself on worthwhile and affordable boats to consider for a Seasteading SHTF Day prep paradigm.

Disclaimer:  By NO MEANS is a Seasteading Prep Plan infallible, or necessarily even the best one for anybody.  There is no way to avoid all the problems that will occur during a full on Collapse Scenario.  However, as prep planning goes, it's one of the better ones and also one of the more affordable ones to pursue.  It's a whole lot better than throwing up your hands and just giving up and morphing into a misanthropic nihilist impatiently waiting for everyone including himself to die. Set a goal for yourself and make it happen.  Even if you fail it's better than moaning and groaning about your impending death.


Now, onto planning for SHTF Day on the Good Ship Doomstead Diner…


⛵ Seastead of the Day: Fitting out the Good Ship Doomstead Diner 3

Land Preps & Food

Staying at sea 100% of the time while in theory possible if you can live on just fish is generally not a real good plan for a bugout.  You're going to need to make shore some of the time to collect food of one sort or another.  Most repairs to a boat are far better accomplished at a dock, even if you don't haul it out of the water.  So you need to plan for making shore in some places at some times for some length of time, although that could vary quite a bit.

You have 2 basic types of shore locations you could pull into, developed ones from the Industrial Culture with Marinas and currently with supplies you can buy with $MONEY$, and Primitive ones, secluded coves on Islands and in Fjords where there are no services, but also no dangerous people.  Once SHTF Day arrives,  Marinas probably will not be terrifically safe, nor will you likely be able to buy much with money which has gone basically worthless.

Right now the Yachty Live-Aboard lifestyle is fairly EZ, so long as you have the boat and a steady supply of Mailbox Money rolling in from SS, Pensions and/or Investments.  Things become a LOT tougher once you take those things away.  Basically the only reason people in 3rd World Island Paradises tolerate retired Brits, Krauts, Frogs, & Yanks is because they are a source of $MONEY$ for their economy.  Take away the money, they will be White Meat on the BBQ in the backyard in no time.  White folks living in 3rd World countries will be mercilessly SLAUGHTERED by the locals in a Grand Celebration of throwing off the last vestiges of colonial rule.

So while today a Ray Jason of the blog Sea Gypsie Philosopher can live comfortably and cheaply on the Aventura cruising around the Carribean marinas where he can get free Wi-Fi along with his docking fee, if you are planning on using your vessel as a Bugout Machine for SHTF Day, you more have to consider what you will need to make life somewhat more pleasant in a secluded cove on an island off the coast of Maine (or wherever your choice of secluded coves happens to be located).

In this installment of the series, we are going to look at some of the Preps you will want to have aboard at all times, safely stowed away for SHTF Day when you have to GTFO of Dodge in a hurry and can't make one more Last Prep Run to Walmart.  On a boat the size of the GSDD, you run into problems here with stowage space for all the STUFF you might want to carry with you to make on-shore living in primitive locations a bit easier to set up.  If you are the dude from the Primitive Technology Utoob Website of course you can do everything with a stone axe you make yourself and a pair of shorts purchased at K-mart, but most of us are not quite that resourceful.


So, if you are not a Primitive Survivalist Professional, what do you want to try and stuff in the Good Ship Doomstead Diner for SHTF Bugout Day? ???

There are endless items from Industrial Civilization which could prove useful, although many of them have fairly short functional life spans.  We want to look for stuff that will give us at least 5-10 years of service once JIT Delivery Collapses.  We'll begin with our Food Preps, then get to shore living Preps after that.

Food Preps

Long Lasting / Dried Foods / Vacuum Sealed

100 lbs Rice, 100 lbs Spaghetti, 75 lbs Beans, 50 lbs Beef Jerky, 20 lbs assorted Nuts.  Dried Fruits. 10 gallons assorted vegetable oils.  5 Gallons Peanut Butter.  50 bags assorted Bear Creek Soups. 30 Bags assorted Freeze Dried Mountain House foods. 10 cases factory wrapped Energy Bars (24/case).

This is doubtless too much food to store in the small galley of the Wagstaff.  We will need to convert at least one of the Bunks to a storage closet for long lasting foods.  The galley storage itself will contain more normal every day foods we can get until SHTF Day arrives.  Frozen Steaks, Canned Soups, Fresh veggies etc.  We'll also have several bottles of multi-vitamins, vitamin C and assorted other vitamins.  Under normal circumstances the supply of Normal Foods will last 1-2 months, enough for cruising around the local islands and seeking out good secluded coves to head for on SHTF Day.

Besides the packaged food which should last around 2 years with supplement from Fishing and Lobstering, we're going to want to start growing some food wherever it is we drop anchor.  So we'll want along Heirloom Seeds in nitrogen sealed packets for crops that grow well in our chosen neighborhood.  Also prior to SHTF Day we'll have planted some perenials that bear fruit of various kinds, apples, cherries, walnuts etc in the Maine area climate I have chosen.  We'll also bring along Mushroom spores of various types, Shitake, Oyster, Portabella and of course White Button shrooms.  For carbs we'll bring along some seed potatoes and sweet potatoes.  With our 2 years of Buffer time to get our Food Forest going, we should be producing a nice annual yield to continue onward with the animal protein from the ocean, and also have some food to barter for other goods.  Maintaining secrecy though about the location of the secluded cove will be important for the first few years.

Shelter & Equipment

With our nutrition needs now mostly taken care of, we want to look at  building a semi-permanent living arrangement on shore.  The boat won't last forever even in the best case scenario, and there is always the possibility it will be blown off its anchorage by a nor'easter.  Besides that, many of the skills we need to accumulate and practice need to be done on shore, such as making fire, making cordage and rope from natural materials, stone knapping…the list is endless.  Personally I am done when the batteries go dead for the power tools, but younger and healthier members of the Diner Tribe will need to work on these skills.

There are so many things you might WANT to bring along here for the ride, but you are quite constrained by the storage space on a 34' boat.  It's also hard to prioritize as to what is MOST important to pack for the Final Bugout?  I'll list a few important items, in no particular order and no exact quantity.  How much you can actually stuff onto the boat can really only be answered once you start packing her up.  How much living space are you willing to sacrifice to carry more preps?

You can substantially enhance and upgrade the amount of stuff you have available for after SHTF Day by creating Storage Caches in varous secluded coves in your sailing neighborhood.  Such caches can be created with 55 Gallon storage drums or heavy duty PVC storage containers and buried, with the burial coordinates stored encrypted in your GPS/Smart Phone/Journal.  This is a good Insurance Policy also against being raided.  In order to get these cache locations set up in time before SHTF Day, the sooner you can get started on this Plan the better, of course.  However, for most people at the moment just buying the fucking boat will take a while, so you just have to hope SHTF Day does not arrive before you have time to get all your plans and preps set up.  Meanwhile, what do you jam into those 55 Gal drums waiting for SHTF Day? ???  :icon_scratch:

Rope, Cordage, Cable, Monofilament, Wire, Bungee Cord, Nylon netting etc.

It's going to be a long time (if ever) before you can make rope and line in anywhere near the quality of the stuff you pick up at Walmart these days.  Also you will have to eventually learn to live without Elastics like Bungee Cord.  Elastics are something we take for granted nowadays, but before around the 1800s they weren't available  at all, not even made from latex. So the more of this stuff you can stock up on the better.  The uses for line and rope are of course endless.  You will also want hardware like block and tackle and turnbuckles, splicing equipment etc.  If you have enough cord, you can make nets yourself fairly easily, but they won't be as good as commercially made nets either, and if you are fishing for a good percentage of your food, nets are invaluable.

In the Tools category for your cordage, you're going to want to have both a Manual and Electric Winch along, preferably one powerful enough to haul your boat onto a cradle on land for maintenance and storage purposes.  You'll also need pulleys, block & tackle etc for the bigger ropes and cable.  For small stuff like Thread and Monofilament, you'll need needles to pull it with.  For wire, you'll need Pliers to grab it and twist it with.  Remember, after SHTF Day, all this stuff will become harder & harder to come by.

Hardware, Nails, Screws, Glue, Duck Tape

Although eventually you will have to find other ways to fasten materials together (mostly by lashing), the longer you can put off this problem the better.  Certainly you want enough hardware around to make it easier to put up your first Lean-to, Yurt or A-Frame like Mr. Primitive Technology set up for himself.  BTW, I don't think the Thatch on his roof would make it through a nor'easter or hurricane with even just Cat 1 winds.  Also, how long in REAL TIME does it take him to collect all the materials and build one of these things?  ???   :icon_scratch:  Even if it does take a few days though, it's still a lot less loss than your typical FSoA style McMansion getting washed away at the beach in the latest King Tide.

Duck Tape is a product you absolutely cannot have too much of.  Bury at least a couple of cases of the large size rolls.  For glue, a few cans of 2 part epoxy is good, plus a big supply of typical Elmers Wood Glue.

Another nice material to have in your cache is some flat plane glass, to make Windows out of.  Windows improve your hut enviroment a LOT!  You can use plastic sheeting for this as well, but glass is definitely classier for the prepper. Tarps & Tents

Like Duck Tape, Glue, Nails and many other industrially produced items, Tarps are something you can never have too many of, in too many sizes.  The polymer material these suckers are made from is something you will never be able to reproduce, and are good for everything from groundcloths to roofing, tents to blankets, patching holes, you name it.

Even though you can make a Tent from a Tarp plus you will be building a more permanent dwelling on the land once you are established, it's still good to have at least a couple of industrially produced tents along with you in a couple of sizes.  You want a relatively small one you can carry on a backpack if you want to trek inland on your island to do some Hunter-Gathering.  You also want a relatively large one to set up on other islands as temporary shelter while you scour this location for mussels and clams and look for wild edible foods.

Like all the rest of your industrially produced preps, your tents and tarps will not last forever, and the more you have them out and exposed to UV radiation, rain and wind, the faster they will deteriorate.  As quickly as possible you want to become proficient at making temporary shelters from the locally available materials like Mr. Primitive Technology, and keep your tents and tarps packed up and dry for emergency use, like say for in the aftermath of a Hurricane where your nice Thatch Hut A-Frame got blown away by 100mph winds.  If you just use them for emergencies, you probably can get 5-10 years out of them.

Land Transportation

Wherever you make port, you're going to want to have some form of transportation besides just your feet.  So you want to carry aboard a bicycle at the very least, a BMX style off-road bike with wide knobby tires probably the best choice.  You'll need quite a few Spare Parts for this, since after SHTF Day you probably won't be able to get replacement parts that fit.  Tires. Inner Tubes, Chains, Brake & Shift Cables and Derailers here.  With a decent supply of spare parts, you might make the bike last 5 years or even 10, depending how often you use it and over what kind of terrain.

For myself, I would bring along my Ewz, a direct drive electric scooter which has very few parts and is amazingly simple in design.  No chain to break, no gears and you hardly ever need to use the brakes because the motor does the braking when you let go of the throttle.  I might even consider upgrading that to a 4 wheel model if I have enough room left in on-board boat storage to fit it.  These vehicles either dissassemble or fold up into pretty compact shapes, so putting it aboard a 34' vessel isn't out of the question.

The main limitation on any of these small EVs in terms of lifespan after SHTF Day is the batteries.  If you have some kind of civilization still running, it will be possible for quite some time to recycle old lead-acid batts, but this will require some system of trade as well as some means to transport around the newly recycled batts and take away to the recycling center worn out batts.  None of that is very likely to be possible in a real collapse scenario, so you can kiss off your EV after probably MAX 5 years.  Not a real problem for me since I don't figure to live more than 5 more years anyhow but worth planning for if you have a longer life expectancy than this.

There is still more gear to look at, Medical supplies in particular.   We also need to consider how we can begin trading with others once the main fallout from SHTF Day is over in a couple of years, 90% of the population is dead and the survivors are attempting to reform community and rise from the ashes of collapse.




























































7 Responses to Boat Bugout Planning

  • Joe Bloggs says:

    Thanks RE! A huge and fascinating topic with as many opinions as there are articles about it. My preferred boat: ketch rigged, 35 to 45 feet LOA (too large with too much sail area is too difficult to handle) with long keel or fin keel with skeg hung rudder (avoid spade rudders), GRP, pilot house (prefer to live on rather than in the water), diesel inboard.

    If buying second hand make sure you check the hull for osmosis, hull-deck joints for rusty nuts and bolts, wheel or tiller to rudderpost connections for defects, integrity of spars and entire rigging and look for leaks/cracks around the stern gland.

    • RE says:

      For straight sailboats, I like Cutter rigs most.  These days I look at mostly Motor Sailers, which come in a variety of configurations for the sail component.  For a larger boat for more Diners, I would go with a ketch rig, but the smaller ones I am looking at for just myself only need one mast.


  • Joe Bloggs says:

    Also check seacocks from inside and outside. Never buy a second hand boat without inspecting on the cradle on dry land. There is a reason why some boats sell for pennies on the dollar: they are death traps!

    • RE says:

      You should always have a professional survey done before buying an older boat.  We have discussed this issue before inside the Diner.


  • Joe Bloggs says:

    "It's a whole lot better than throwing up your hands and just giving up and morphing into a misanthropic nihilist impatiently waiting for everyone including himself to die."

    cannot imagine who you are referring to  😉

  • Bobtail says:

    I agree with all of this but will add some points. The spaghetti needs to be eaten in under a year after its bought, or insect eggs inside the packets will hatch and eat it. I learned that from trial and error. Another thing is i believe its not good odds to wait until a collapse to learn by trial and error if possible. U should try to be regularly sailing to a location u have already surveyed and started setting up. Where to find water or make catchment or dig for it all needs to be known in advance. How to protect your garden from animals that would eat it, also can't be left to trial and error. Bird netting is not expensive but essential in that case, even if stakes and pickets can be made from the bush surrounding. Because this is a cheaper and arguably safer paradigm than owning a stead, it should not be for only experienced sailors. People with no experience need time  to learn to sail and practicing the route to an unimhabited island or coastal place.  The yacht cost vs land cost also needs to consider property tax and county rate cost with owning land as u never own it as long as u need to pay those. Just because u have income now to pay, doesnt mean u always will as we progress . 

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