A live-aboard sailboat or motor cruiser is another frequently touted retreat option. Unless you are an experienced blue water yachtsman with many years of experience, then I cannot recommend “sea mobile” retreating. I only know a few yachtsmen with this level of experience–most notably Mark Laughlin and Matthew Bracken. (BTW, Some of the characters and descriptions in Matt Bracken’s recent novel “Enemies Foreign and Domestic” shed some light on sea-mobile retreating.) IMHO, for a long term Crunch with anticipated fuel shortages, only a sailboat with an auxiliary engine makes sense. If you do choose this route, then by all means select the largest sailboat you can afford (and that can be manned by a small crew) with the following features:
A minimal radar cross section.
A retractable keel so that you can navigate shallows.
A very quiet auxiliary engine.
The largest fuel and fresh water tanks possible.
A full suite of communications gear (marine band, 2 Meter, CB, and HF.)
At least two Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers, plus a sextant in case the GPS satellites ever fail. (Or in case the GPS constellation is destroyed or significantly degraded by anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons.)
A hull and rigging design that will “blend in” with the crowd of seasonal yachtsmen.
Plenty of spare parts.
Be forewarned that your inevitable desire to add a large photovoltaic array will be in direct opposition to blending in. If you buy photovoltaic (PV) panels, buy canvas covers to make them less obvious when sailing near shore. A sailboat moored at night is vulnerable to sea-going looters. Even today, piracy is a problem, particularly in the Caribbean and the waters around Southeast Asia. This threat will surely expand by an order of magnitude WTSHTF. So plan your landfalls carefully!
Mobile approaches to retreating have too many drawbacks to recommend them, except perhaps in a few cases for someone with a huge budget. Pragmatically, you will need a defensible fixed location with a deep larder, tools, weapons, barter goods, and friends that you can count on. In essence, the only tenable “mobile” approach is for the very short term: a reliable vehicle that gets you to a well provisioned and defendable fixed retreat. (But I highly recommend living at you retreat year round, if at all possible. I will articulate this fully in future posts.)