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This is a guest post and entry in our non-fiction writing contest by Dave M
As a sixty-three year old retired firefighter, I have recently begun perusing survival blogs, books, and YouTube entries, and to my surprise, I found I’ve been something of a prepper all my life. Beginning as a ten-year old boy fantasizing about running off to Alaska with a 30/30, belt axe and sheath knife, to a chubby, old guy backpacking in Yellowstone, hunting Osceola Turkeys in the Everglades, and kayaking and diving in the Florida Keys, interests derived from a sense that our modern way of life is vulnerable in many ways.
Many outdoorsmen ascribe to the mantra “Go light, Go small” so I am amazed at the list of gear some “bugout’ers” believe to be mandatory, and in turn, ANCHOR them to their caches. At sixty- three I’m not at all interested in strapping a couple hundred pounds on my back. I prefer to be mobile, and create a buffer to the alleged chaos.
Allow me to suggest an acronym to the survival blogs…….BB…..BUGOUT BOAT……The boat I’m suggesting is a TRAILERABLE, SHALLOW DRAFT, COASTAL CRUISER SAILBOAT in the 20 to 25 foot range, (The suggested maximum size for trailering, see ‘TRAILOR-SAILOR ” on the internet) Yes, I hear the red flags popping up, “I can’t afford that, My wife will never, I don’t know how, etc.) but consider the following:
- It’s a mobile, recreational weekend getaway, a “cabin” on the water, and a vacation adventure, something like 70% of the U.S. population lives within a few hours of navigable waterways.
- It’s propelled by wind, and “living small,” a solar system can provide adequate electricity, plus, a small outboard kicker that sips gas, thSt with a little planning, is rarely utilized.
- It can follow the Sun, instead of feeding a wood stove, even the birds fly South.
- It’s a minimal investment compared to property and construction, and at a point sailboats begin to keep up with inflation.
- It can be stored on the trailer in your backyard, convenient for personalizing, stowing your survival gear and food (freeing up the spare bedroom), and it’s a man cave!
- It facilitates evasive tactics, allowing distancing the chaos, pollution, and zombies, sailing to offshore skinny water keys and islets, where the water and environment is cleaner, and the risks of intrusion are reduced.
- A SHALLOW DRAFT COASTAL CRUISER IN THE 20-25′ range is easier to conceal, easily soloed, and usually is outfitted with 2 quasi-private areas, 4 bunks, table, and mini-kitchen in various configurations. The load of all that gear and ammo is carried by the WATER, not on your back, or in a grocery cart; WATER, you can treat and drink (see “The Watercone” on the net), WATER, incredible edibles abound in and around, and millions spend beau coup bucks to recreate by it.
- The early Florida pioneers would ferry hogs, chickens, and seeds to a local key and have a remote, self-sustaining “larder”. You could be prepping your hiding place now, plant several “Guerrilla Gardens”, small, and remote, “don’t put all your eggs in one basket”, some small isles also have fresh water, resident deer, volunteer fruit trees, and coconuts. Prepping now could be conceived as recreation, and put your family ahead of the learning curve.
- Many solid SEAWORTHY trailerable boats can be purchased (sometimes well fitted out) for under Five Grand, check out E-bay and local classifieds. In this economy it’s an especially good time to shop, remember the adage ” what are the two best days of a sailors life?”
- Have aboard a good radio, capable of receiving underground broadcasts, short wave and “Ham” stations, for any news of conditions, as well as entertainment. Obviously a VHF and GPS system goes without saying, newer marine GPS have fish finders integrated at a modest expense, and VHF radios have designated weather channels.
- Pick up a kayak, and a foldable bicycle to enhance and extend foraging, bartering, and clandestine trips to the mainland.
- Create a “going ashore bag”, with axe, folding saw, small telescoping rake, shovel, and hoe, parachute cord, machete, seeds, and a couple of tarps, think Disneys “Swiss Family Robinson” the boat secured just off the beach, serving as house and storage, with a concealed patio/summer kitchen (tree house?) hidden just off the beach for daily routines.
Lastly, it’s not all paradise and Jimmy Buffett, there are mosquitos, No-see-ums, alligators and sharks( both edible), stingrays, snakes, heat, rain, and humidity, hurricanes, and did I mention No-see-ums, bring screens! There may be pirates, marauders, and opportunists! A watch program and constant vigilance would be prudent (tree house?), however your remote location should limit intrusion!
Spend a little time familiarizing yourself with fiberglass repair, and stock some repair items, a good friend who owned a fiberglass shop, once told me “fiberglass could last forever and a repair, done right, only makes it stronger”. Some of the less expensive boats you look at may be neglected, but don’t be discouraged, with a little elbow grease fiberglass can recover much of its original luster.
So, “what did I do to prep this week”………………. I bid on a speargun on E-Bay.
This is an entry in our non-fiction writing contest where you could win:
First Prize) Winner will receive a Stealth Body Armor Level II vest courtesy of SafeGuard ARMOR™ LLC and a $150 gift certificate for Wolf Ammo courtesy of LuckyGunner.com A total prize value of over $600.
Third Prize) Winner will receive copies of both of my books “31 Days to Survival: A Complete Plan for Emergency Preparedness” and “Dirt-Cheap Survival Retreat: One Man’s Solution” and a Katadyn Siphon Water Filter courtesy of Mayflower Trading Company. A total prize value of $107.
Contest ends on June 5 2012.