Captain Cathar attempts to make the case:

Because of these challenges along any crowded coastline, I’d like to suggest that your readers consider a small sailing vessel as your bug out retreat. The greatest advantage is that you could get away in short order and with a minimum of sophisticated technology. The power of the wind can take you anywhere in the world…
What precedes and follows is a good list of the threats that might make bugging out necessary and a good argument that bugging out by boat might make sense. Bugging out by car makes sense as well in some circumstances.

bugout boat

Look at me, I am the Captain now.

It’s an insightful article, as is usually the case at Survival Blog, but with a significant blind spot: just as it does not make sense to plan to live in your car, it makes no sense to plan to live in your boat in SHTF. Here are a few reasons why:

  • The worse the SHTF is onshore, the more isolated you will be. While it’s a pleasure to spend one’s time sailing today, today’s navigator has access to GPS, weather radio, the Coast Guard, and peaceful, stocked ports. None of which may be available in SHTF. The romance of sailing today cannot be projected into a SHTF scenario.
  • Pirates. Yes, peg legs and funny hats and, AAAAARGH, Matey. With SHTF taking place in Somalia today, attacks by well-armed pirates have been reported along the shore from Tanzania to Oman and for hundreds of miles into the Arabian Sea. Do you really want to face a half-dozen motorboats full of armed and hungry pirates in your 28′ Pearson Triton?
  • Storms. Pray that your flight not be in winter, because if you’re sailing off New England, you’re in a fix.* If you’re in the Gulf Coast during hurricane season, you’re in a fix. In fact, anywhere in the world at any time, you’ll have to face the elements with no one to call, no one to come get you if you misjudge or just have a run of bad luck.
  • The Second Law of thermodynamics. Everything wears out, even your boat. Your food runs out. Your patience with that flat blue sea runs out. There is a reason very few people just float around the ocean until they die.** It’s neither a long nor enjoyable life in most cases.
  • The sea turns significant problems into catastrophic ones. If your daughter’s appendix bursts, how close are you to someone who can help her?

The idea of heading out to sea during an SHTF scenario sounds good on the surface, but like bugging out to Belize or Chile, its appeal is based on the experience of those for whom doing so today is a means of vacation and who unconsciously rely on technology and peace to move from place to place. SHTF, especially in an international scenario, is different. Rather than those who wish to sell you overpriced T-shirts, every landfall in SHTF will be crawling with those intending to sell your stores to starving people on land.

Bug out by boat, sure. But bug out to somewhere, get off the boat, and make a life for your kids where the wildflowers grow.

* And if you’re trying to get out of the Great Lakes, your boat had better be on ice skates.
** voluntarily, anyway.