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This isn't a subject I've seen discussed much (well, I've never seen it discussed), but it is something that I am torn between; Having a bugout location and/or having a liveaboard sailboat. I think there are advantages to both.

A BOL can be discreet. You can grow/raise your own food. But you are stuck in one location and subject to the hordes.

A sailboat (either a monohull or catamaran; catamaran would be my choice) you can go to just about anywhere in the world. You can catch some of your food (fishing/diving). Very few people would go to sea if TSHTF. But it depreciates in value and requires a lot of maintenance.

Has anyone else thought of using a sailboat to bug out?
 

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Free Mason
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A few weeks ago a person was looking for a place to launch a boat after SHTF. I have thought of a liveaboard from time to time. In a SHTF I do not think it would be any safer. There is less problems with people but the weather can be difficult. I was on an island off Point Judith RI one Summer and tried to go back to the mainland in a blow. When I cleared the end of the island the seas went from 3 feet to 12 feet in an instant. Quite an eye opener. I was on a large container ship off Cape Fear and the ship was rolling 25 degrees. I was on the ferry from Yarmouth NS to Portland ME one year and the waves broke over the dining room three decks up. An 8 hour trip tool 22 hours. The sea can be nice but do not under estimate it's power. No boat is big enough. I saw a plaque on a boat that said "Boating: Hours of pleasure interrupted by moments of shear panic".
 

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Improvise Adapt Overcome!
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I have often thought about this myself. The idea is to sail the Caribbean hitting all the islands on my way to Costa Rica, Stay on the Carribran side for a while, then down to Panama to go through the canal. Once through, I'd go back up to CR then settle there.
 

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that is my plan. i have a 34' Cal that is completely liveable and here in Puget Sound adverse weather is not a issue if you pay attention and do have some basic sense. depending on where you live a boat is a logical and exteremely practicle option.
 

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.........................
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I lived on a small sailboat in SoCal for a more than a year a while ago. A good boat has a number of features that make it an exceptional bug-out method.

A Cat is wonderful for living but it is very expensive to keep in a slip. Access to shore has been severely restricted recently. I lived in the last long-term free anchorage on the West Coast. It no longer exists. So slip fees can be expensive and often marinas allow a small percentage of their slips to be filled by liveaboards.

Boats can be expensive. But if it is your home as well as your bug out location, it can be an excellent solution.

A watermaker gives you unlimited clean water.
A windmill and/or solar panels provide free power.
Fishing provides some food.
Sails provide free, limitless motion.
 

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Sam Adams was right....
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Nice living if ya can get it...


 

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Unemployment sucks.
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Ive allway wanted to do that. Just because it would rock. But I want to live as mobile and off the grid as possible. So if i didnt live in the middle of the Midwest a boat would be top on my list.
 

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A sailboat is an option as far as a BOV. But it's important to put aside the romantic notion of sailing off to the islands. IMHO a sailboat offers a chance to to get away from land for up to a month. But in the end the sailor must return to land for supplies. Those with sailboats should spend some time exploring their nearby coast for good hideout areas. Though they are becoming scarce. There are still some "rural" coastal towns located on rivers and sounds that could be a good bug out place. While a sailboat beats a RV handsdown. It still shares many of the same limitations. Not saying it can't be done, but its mainly an option for those who've lived the liveaboard lifestyle for some time or those who've experienced the long distance sailboat cruise. As a temporary retreat for those who know what they're doing it's an option to keep in mind.
 

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Living aboard is great...if you can do it. As mentioned, living aboard is often restricted at best by authorities if allowed at all.

Unless you got a Cat or Tri, I dont see it as a long term solution beyond about 5 years due to maintenance issues that will require a haul out. With Multi Hulls your going to be restricted to mooring out on the ball unless your really lucky and can get an end tie (not a safe idea) or you got enough fun dollars for a slip and lucky enough to find such a wide slip. On the "Ball" your going to have to be totally self suficient for power and water. You will also need some other boat to get too and from the "Ball" to shore and back. It gets old quick.

Getting insurance on a boat as a live aboard is hard to find and expensive when you do. Im not really sure for the reason why as every boat I have seen sink or burn to the water line that was not refueling was a unattended boat, not one thats lived on. You would think it would be cheaper since the boat is always being used and as such usually well maintained and status checked for leaks on a regular baisis. The insurance companys claim that becuase you live on it its more suspetable to a claim being made. I didnt find this to be the case in the 7 years I was a live aboard in SoCal aboard my 37ft Sloop rigged Lancer. In a SHTF situation this is irrelavent, but in the mean time while you wait for that SHTF to happen, insurance is going to be an issue for you!

There are a thousand other things I could mention here, but if you do a search you will see where I have commented on a number of threads over the last 3-5 years, and I only skimmed the surface of the topic. It has its good points and it has several others that you must seriously consider. I will say this...living on my boat was probably the best 7 years of my life and the most relaxed, it was a lot of work too!
 

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Not To Reason Why...
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How about a submarine!...lol jk, boat is something to look into, I just don't have enough time to learn about it, wish I could. However I'd be worried about pirates and what happens to those naval vessels after SHTF They don't need a key to start.
 

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Wanderer
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I have often thought about this myself. The idea is to sail the Caribbean hitting all the islands on my way to Costa Rica, Stay on the Carribran side for a while, then down to Panama to go through the canal. Once through, I'd go back up to CR then settle there.
Not to be a wet blanket, but if SHTF the Panama Canal may not work. It takes lots of manpower and infrastructure, electrical power, etc. to make the locks work and go from one side to the other. If there's a collapse the Canal may just not work anymore. Then, too, China is in control of it, which may be a factor to think about too. You may have to go around Cape Horn, one of the most dangerous stretches of water on the planet.
If you bug out on a liveaboard, I'd plan on staying in whatever ocean you start out in.
 

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Wanderer
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How about a submarine!...lol jk, boat is something to look into, I just don't have enough time to learn about it, wish I could. However I'd be worried about pirates and what happens to those naval vessels after SHTF They don't need a key to start.
They don't need a key, but they need a sizeable crew to run them, a trained crew who knows what they're doing. And subs do need to surface every now and then for food, etc, especially the old diesel powered subs, not all are nukes.
 

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Isn't open water kind of already pirate's territory where not patrolled? Yeah I know abductions/piracy is rare, but in a SHTF scenario, I would think it would be rampant. I'm not a boater, but isn't there kinda no where to run and hide when attacked on water?
 

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Once you leave American, Canadian waters you are pretty much at risk of Piracy. In fact the closer you are to land the more of a target you are!!!

When I transit from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas, I immeadiately head about 90 to 120 miles off coast and go south and track anything closely that my Radar (48 mile range) can pick up, especially any vessel that appears to be shadowing me just over the horizon for any length of time.

I also do not respond to vessel assist calls, I call the authorities for them and stand off at least 10 miles. One of the common tactics used against pleasure boaters is to hail a boat requesting vessel assistance. As you pull along side you then are pretty much at their mercy if they are pirates and dont have a legitimate emergency. That close up you dont have anywheres near enough fire power to shoot your way out of it. In a sailboat your not going to outrun those big honking diesel engines they got in those boats either!

Another tactic they often use is to pull in at night to a remote anchorage where another unsuspecting boat has dropped anchor for the night. They wait for you to all bed down for the night or they gamble that your out drinking margaritas like a goldfish in a goldfish bowl and too far gone to put up much resistance. Usually they will just be thieves and not Pirates, but Pirates know that such vessels are easy targets of oppertunity. The best defense for this is to keep underway until you reach your destination or make a port of call in a well known harbor with marinas available. Im leary of any boat that pulls in and moors near me at dark!

Priacy and boarding aint all that rare. Most just involve straight up two bit thieves looking for money and jewlery. Pirates want that, any cargo, electronics, engines and possibly the vessel as well if there is a market for boats to drug smugglers. Good situational awareness will help you avoid most problems with both, thieves and Pirates.
 

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I have often thought about this myself. The idea is to sail the Caribbean hitting all the islands on my way to Costa Rica, Stay on the Carribran side for a while, then down to Panama to go through the canal. Once through, I'd go back up to CR then settle there.
In a SHTF scenario, you think you're getting through the Panama Canal? Uhhh, good luck!
 

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Living YOUR dreams!
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Isn't open water kind of already pirate's territory where not patrolled? Yeah I know abductions/piracy is rare, but in a SHTF scenario, I would think it would be rampant. I'm not a boater, but isn't there kinda no where to run and hide when attacked on water?
Agreement!
I think sails might be do-able after there is no more chance of petro-powered piracy. Although 'Waterworld' will probably never come true...
Still, ya can't outrun a bullet & boats of that type aren't known for their armor plating.
I'll stick with my bit o'sod.
 

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Improvise Adapt Overcome!
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Actually, in a SHTF in the US, infrastructure elsewhere probably will work. For example, Jihadidst don't seem to know Panama exists(They have limited geographical knowledge), so why would the Locks there suddenly stop working? The US does not power every corner of the earth. Places like Central America are generally much poorer, and therefore vastly more off grid andself sufficient. There is simply less to go wrong there.

Also, if I get there and the locks *Are* shut down, I'll just stay on the Caribbean side...the babes there are just as hot.
 

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Another big sticking point is food resupply.

I did really well on my boat, catching plenty of Yellowtail, Mahi-Mahi, Wahoo and Yellowfin Tuna underway. In most areas Grouper and Calico Bass were a dime a dozen. That does a pretty good job of providing the protien. But what about Fruits and Veggies? You pretty much have to run the risk and come into shore and resupply. Unless you have access to a remote area this will entail purchasing or bartering. I suppose that some of that fresh fish could be sold or bartered to get your resupply.
Do you think you could also get other supplies through bartering? You will need a lot of filters for that water maker, lots of high strength rope for anchoring and tying up at docks as the sun beats these up quick not to mention chaffing.

Consider too some of the skills you will need. If you own a large boat and your not an electrican, you will be soon, I promise. SW is hard on electronics, especially connections and wiring. Do you sew and have a heavy duty machine? Its a good thing to have and a skill to know. The first time you have to pay someone to repair a sail or replace a dodger, I can guarentee you will get one and learn to use it. Mechanic? Man if you need one of those you will get violated at the boat yard! I didnt have too many issues with plumbing on my boat, thank God becuase you gotta have arms like an orangatan to reach a lot of it!

Lets talk about boats a little too while we are at it. Tug boats are great from a stand point of being defendable, but they are slow and use good gobs of fuel to power those huge potent engines. House boats are roomy, but are for very well protected waters only. There is a reason why you dont see many on the coast! Trawler Motor/Crusiers offer the room of a house boat, reasonable fuel consumption, but top out at 12-18 knots. They are pretty robust and can handle rough weather pretty well too. Most can be powered off a 200-250 hp diesel engine. Sport Fisher boats...there is a reason all the big game fishermen call them Battle Wagons! They are big bulky and roomy, but they catch wind like you wouldnt believe making handling a challenge at times, take a pounding when the wave action is up so one less than 35 plus feet is out of the question in my opinion. Even modest powered Sport Fishers have big powerful engines and consume fuel at a rate that will make you dizzy! Sail Boats, there are the Multi Hulls and the Mono Hulls. Tri Marans are speedy under sail. Thier narrow main hull will seriously restrict you on interior space which will be at a premium already. This means you will need a much larger boat than other wise. They are easily over loaded weight wise as well. Catamarans are a better choice in a multihull. They provide far more usuable room. They are fast under sail and can sail in the lightest of winds. They too can be easily over loaded as far as weight capacity goes. One great advantage they both have is the ability to traverse very shallow waters. Most only need only 2-3 of feet of water. They can easily be beached to do hull maintenance, so that you dont require a boat yard and a lift for Haul Out. In a SHTF situation this can be a huge bonus. Both are increadibly stable platforms in the water although neither are all that great in heavy seas. Reaching speeds of 15-18 knots is very realistic in a Multihull. Mono Hull Sail Boats are probably a good choice in a lot of respects especially those with a shallow keel. Foot for foot most will carry far more weight than a multihull. They handle rough seas much better. The displacement designed hulls will be considerably stable, but wont be as nimble in handling. Speeds in a Monohull are usually 7-8 knots on a good day. Sail boats are usually great as their hull design makes larger engines a waste and unneccessary. Most are only used for docking and manuvering at a harbor anyways. A 10-20 hp is usually plenty of engine for a under 40ft boat unless out to sea under moderately heavy head winds. If choosing a monohull I would seriously suggest and recommend CYS (Caribbean Sailing Yacht) for brand. These boats are build like a brick crap house making them a very solid although heavy boat of the semi-displacement and heavy displacement designs. They cost a bit more used but are very solid and durable boats that can take some hard use and abuse.

Sailboat size...depends up on the number of folks involved and the length of time you expect to be confined to your boat. Sure you can pick up a used Catalina 26 and a couple with a child can make do for a pretty good while. But realistically a couple on a Catalina 30 (w/shower...boats this size and smaller usually dont have showers in them due to room restrictions) would probably prove to be the minimum size with a boat in the 38-42 foot range being a much better option! Two couples could proabably do well on a 45-46 footer. More than that and I think you need to seriously look at a 50-60 foot boat. This sounds really large and they are but then I have lived on one for 7 years and speak from experience! The difference in 4-6 more feet of boat makes a HUGE difference in living acommodations and comfort, more than you can imagine until you are living aboard for a while.

Pay attention to the boats lay out above and below deck. Shoot for one that can be single handed if possible. After 40 feet you can pretty much count on needing at least 2 people minimum to get it underway and keep it going. On the interior, layout is paramount. The more open and roomy the interior the better. It feels larger than it really is, air can circulate much better, it can be better lit with lighting and from skylight/hatches. You dont want to be running an obsticle course when trying to quickly make it from one end of the cabin to the other. Bunks in a stateroom are much more preferable to a bunk with just a curtian and you will sleep much better. Dont under estimate that galley either! Get one with an efficient lay out and plenty of counter space, one with large deep sinks! The one on my sloop is L shaped and provided a lot of counter space and kept everything within easy reach. This made meal prep easy even under way while rocking and rolling. Even though I cook mainly in a wok, you will be suprised at just how cramped things can get when your meal preping. Buy cooking utensiles expressingly designed for boats. They are slip resistant, compact and store very well compared to the dishware you are acustom to at home. The head...look for one that has the toliet in the shower pan as a combination that still leaves enough room to stand. This makes better use of the space and makes taking a shower easier when the boat is rocking. I know this sounds odd but trust me on this one. Make sure the head also has enough room to facilitate changing with the door closed even if you are a couple and intimate. Just cuase you can stand in it doesnt mean its roomy enough to be comfortable. Get a grill that clamps/bolts to the rail of your boat. It gives you more cooking options for meals and variety. Its also nice to cook out side on a warm day as opposed to heating up the interior. Insulation, the more the better. In the sun boats get hot fast, in the winter they get bone cold even when it aint that cold outside. It will also prevent sweating if you use AC/Heat, this will cut down on mildew problems which can be huge on a boat especially in the warmer climates. If your in an area where there is fog, a radar is mandatory in my opinion, otherwise you will likely meet something by accident. In Sand Diego this can be an issue and its just about garenteed to be an issue in the PNW on a near daily basis for parts of the day. Consider a power wench for the anchor rode. In 50 ft of water you will be using at least 250 feet of anchor line. It takes a long time to pull that anchor up with a hand crank one and if you dont have "22 inch guns", you will after a few times of pulling up the anchor!!! A power wench is money well spent!
 
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