Retreat: Live-aboard 30-Foot Sailboat
Age: One male 34 years old
Background: Grew up in small town next to Vandenberg Air Force Base, watching missiles being launched and sometimes blown up [“flight terminated”] over the ocean. I always knew that seeing one missile being launched meant “test” and that two or more mean “imminent death”. Grew up with most “toys” being bought at army surplus stores. My brother and I were the only kids who when we played “war” dressed in full army gear, complete with combat boots, helmet with outer cloth cover stuffed with branches, belt with two canteens, belt back pack, shovel, ammo cases, full camo clothes…the list goes on and on.
I moved to a southern California harbor 40 miles from Santa Cruz Island about two years ago to be closer to work (and distance myself from the nuke magnet–Vandenberg AFB ). I have been getting everything on the boat ship shape for last two years. I have also been buying survival gear suited for an ocean retreat WTSHTF .
Annual Income: Was $46,000 a year until I got laid off three months ago.
Investments: So far 30 grams Pamp Suisse bullion, survival gear, food stores
Present Home: 30 foot Catalina Sloop sailboat that was but in the 1970s. I have upgraded the rear stern rails to ones with incorporated rear seats, repaired both sails, replaced the lifelines, replaced all essential lighting with solar powered LED lighting and have kerosene backup lighting in every berth. I also have solar powered exterior lighting.
For entertainment I have an XPower solar power pack that will charge my Creative Zen and portable DVD player starting from dead batteries with a one day charge on the power pack. That gives me 3-4 hours of DVDs and 11-12 hours of MP3 music a day, every day [for pennies in the lifetime cost of the system]. I have spare new batteries for all three units in the boat. Since I live aboard I am tax exempt and only pay $45 USD every two years for craft registration. I also have to pay $20 USD once a year to have harbor patrol give me a live aboard safety inspection. Insurance is $400 a year.
Vehicles: I have a 2005 Tank Urban Sporty 150cc scooter made out of chineseum and a 1999 Honda civic LEV (low emissions vehicle), they cost about $120 USD a year for registration and about $600 a year to insure with the minimum required by law. The scooter gets about 60-to 80 mpg and the Civic gets 30-38 mpg but I mostly ride the scooter.
Firearms: Winchester 12 gauge semi auto with 300+ rounds of birdshot (also have bandoleer that holds 50 rounds). Compound bow and arrows. Flare gun and 10 flares. About 60 yards cheap floating rope. (This is a defensive weapon) to foul the props of any would be attacking boats Just cut it into 10 foot strips and throw into water. I also have a machete, an axe, a Blackie Collins design Gerber clip lock serrated knife as well as about 30 other (various) knives.
Gardens/Orchards/Food source: What’s the biggest highway in the world that is full of food? The ocean, it is also the biggest moat in the world.
Property Tax: None.
Communications: VHF  radio handheld and onboard units for emergency use, cell phone for domestic calls.
Food Storage: 50 pounds of rice, large supply of canned ham, large supply of canned food, I have also stored a lot of extra salt and cooking oil onboard for bartering purposes. I have room to store 20 gallons water built into the boat and have room for about 50 more gallons in storage.
Fuel Storage: 20 gallon tank built into the boat, five gallon tank in the dinghy and 5-1 gallon tanks under the cockpit seats.
Survival gear: Propane barbeque with extra canisters of LP , PUR Survivor 06-LL Desalinator Watermaker, 400 count 65 mg potassium iodide tablets sealed in factory bottles, solar lighting inside and out, solar fan that I made that works day and night.
Two fishing poles and assorted fishing tackle, Sailrite lsz-1 sail and canvas sewing machine with heavy duty stainless steel hand crank for use offshore. And of course the assorted tools needed to keep the boat working.
Worst Case Scenario: Economic collapse, nuclear war, Waterworld, tsunami, civil unrest, corrupt government declaring martial law, you name it. I am just a power cord and four dock lines from New Zealand via Hawaii or Baja California to Mexico. The thin veneer that holds “civilized” society from becoming something like the Rodney King riots is not as thick as you might think. Like a castle with a large moat, like an island or an oil rig is how I plan to bug out. Since owning the sailboat I have traveled over 400 miles in five trips to the islands and in that time I’ve used perhaps one gallon of gas.
Blow ships are the cat’s meow when it comes to efficiency. Top sailing speed (so far) 9.4 knots under full main and 120% jib.
JWR’s Recommends: Increase your food storage! Buy as much as can possibly fit in the space available. You should also increase your solar charging capacity so that you can keep your deep cycle batteries (for VHF radio, navigation, and cell phone charging, et cetera) topped off, even without running your auxiliary engine.
For defense, first buy 50 rifled slugs and at least 100 buckshot 12 gauge shells (000 is the best pellet size for shipboard defense.) You should then add a scoped stainless steel .308 or .30-06 bolt action rifle for “stand-off” self defense against pirates. (A stainless steel Browning A-Bolt  with a half dozen spare magazines would be ideal. Second choice would be a Winchester Model 70 Classic Stainless .) Buy at least 500 rounds of .30 caliber ammunition–a mix of AP , ball (FMJ ), and soft nose. BTW, it is too bad that you can’t buy tracer ammo in California. If you lay down accurate fire with AP ammo at 450 yards, pirates will go find someone else to pick on! I also recommend that you add an intrusion detection system  to your deck, to alert you if anyone attempts to board your sailboat when you are berthed or anchored at night. Also, if your budget allows, buy at least six large white parachute flares , so that you can engage targets with your rifle at night. And if you can afford it, also get a headset-type night vision monocular, such as an AN/PVS-7B. Get firearms and medical training as soon as you can afford them. (Low-cost training is available from the American Red Cross , the Appleseed Program , and the WRSA .)
Buy a spare membrane and any other key spare parts for your desalinator. I recommend that you get as much blue water sailing experience as possible Since you’ve been laid off, it could be a great opportunity. You might try networking to find a trans-pac yacht crew/security position. (Check Craig’s List  and CrewFile.com  for openings.)