Letter Re: Bugging Out Via Boat

In reference to the article about using boats to bug out I have a few thoughts. The writer was very thorough about his facts and accurate as far as it goes.However, I have a few thoughts. As a former Officer of the U S Merchant Marine (12 years, ending as a 1st Mate, Unlimited Tonnage, Motor and Steam, Any Waters) I have had experience in most marine environments.

The biggest drawbacks to using a boat as a primary means of escaping are visibility, fuel consumption, and low speed. The writer covered a lot of this and this reply is not meant to disparage him, or to apply to those who live so close to waterways, or who are restricted in the number of ways they can move out of an area. If a boat is the best way, as, say, an alternate to a ferry or a congested two-lane bridge, then by all means, motor, sail or paddle away.

Boats literally drink fuel. All boats do. The physics of propelling a vessel against a mass of water requires it. And, unless you are bugging out in a cigarette boat, they are slow. As the writer points out, the faster you move, the more fuel you dump. And the type of emergencies that require you to “bug-out” most certainly wont be leaving fuel docks open for very long.

And then there are pirates. What else will you call thugs in boats that chase you to kill you and take your stuff? They will have go-fast boats. Count on that one. And its very hard to hide any kind of boat on any sort of body of water. Try it sometime.

Canoes and sailboats? Well, I have a canoe. A 15 foot, Kevlar-hulled rough water special. Will I use it? Its in my plans to utilize if need be. But next time you are cruising down some placid river somewhere in a canoe or small outboard, take a look at the banks.

How much can you observe of bottom-land timber and brush while watching for currents and obstructions? How long will you last against a guy with a rifle or shotgun firing from cover sitting out there in the open? I will say if you can make open water in a sailer, you may be okay for awhile. Unless some other runner has a faster vessel and sees you out there all alone and unable to move away.

All in all, hitting a river or other body of water in a boat to hide or make a run for your get-a-way is a real longshot. Stocking a pontoon barge for a night-only 2 or 3 day run somewhere is about the only way I’d even consider using one, except in the most extreme situations. – Ed in Mississippi