Letter Re: Bug Out Boats

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Hugh,

I lived aboard my 37′ sailboat for 10 1/2 years. The quick answer is bugging out by boat is only a good option if you are just using it to get to a safe, land-based location. The two biggest problems are the limited amount of supplies that you can carry and you have to come back to land at some point in time.

To the unknowledgeable lander, catamarans seem like a great idea. To be able to be offshore for any length of time, you need a boat that can safely carry lots of stuff. Stuff is heavy. Catamarans have the least load carrying capacity of any type of boat. Full displacement boats have the most load carrying capacity. Semi displacement and planning boats fall in between. Another problem with catamarans is ultimate stability. Catamarans are very stable up to a point. Once you pass that point, they turn turtle and are more stable upside down then right side up. There are a lot of other issues with catamarans that I won’t go into as a bug out option. Don’t get me wrong; I like catamarans, especially power catamarans. They have their place in the world. It’s a “different horses for different courses” issue. Think of the catamaran as a thoroughbred. Think of your bug out vessel as a Clydesdale or oxen. Which would you rather have to carry all your stuff when you need to bug out?

My 37′ sailboat has about the same amount of usable room as a 25′ RV or travel trailer. If you are serious about using a boat to bug out, get an RV and live exclusively in that RV with all of your stuff in the RV, no cheating by storing stuff outside or using outside power. Periodically jack up one side of the RV to a 15 or 20 degree angle and now live in the RV.

It’s expensive, I mean really expensive. Just add the word boat to any product and the cost will double or triple. Just keeping and maintaining a boat is expensive. The smallest of pocket cruisers will cost $500 to $600 per month to moor, maintain, insure, property taxes, et cetera. A more usable size in the 30′ to 35′ range will cost around a $1,000 per month. What other preps could this money be better spent on? And you have to come back to land at some point in time. Now you are a sitting duck. The bad guys don’t even have to have a boat. They can just pick you off at their leisure as you row into shore in your dinghy.

And the issues just go on and on. Bugging out by boat could work for a limited number of people with a unique situation. Lastly, don’t forget to get the Admiral’s approval and keep the Admiral a happy sailor. If you can’t figure out who the Admiral is well good luck. Fair seas and calm winds. – L.C.

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