Living on a Sailboat : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Has anyone given any thought to the logistics of living on a sailboat should TSHTF? Reant, lease or buy? They come with generators, radios, storage lockers for food and water, etc. etc. Gotta be safer than living in a City (i.e. bug out from LA to Catalina...) Course there is always the risk of pirates... Plenty of fish, rig up a tarp to catch rainwater if any, whadda ya thunk???

(Maybe a submarine would be better...)

-- Andy (, November 08, 1998


The friggin pirates are gonna get ya Andy.

-- Type r (Sortapreparin@polly.anna), November 08, 1998.

Having been on a sailboat from four to six weeks at a time annually during my teen years, I can say this about that: Yes, they can come with generators, and refrigeration, and hot water can be had if you keep the engine running.

However: you still need to get fuel. Pleasure craft would be one of the first things to suffer if there was any fuel shortage. Diesel can be hard to come by on land; it's no easier from the water because there aren't even as many 'gas stations' for boaters.

Your idea of 'plenty of fish' implies a certain ignorance of fishing on the ocean. There are no lake trout between LA and Catalina, nor are there any sole or cod or halibut to catch, and your sailboat wouldn't be able to be rigged for that as well as sail.

Have you ever sailed before? Can you manage a boat in bad weather? Do you know the rules of the road? Can you tie a bowline? Can you back and end splice a rope? What would you do if you lost power, and can you manage the sails alone if necessary? Do you know about the equipment to enable that? A boat big enough to support you and anybody else would be in the neighborhood of 30 feet long; can you bring something that size into the dock? Do you know how to set an anchor fore and aft so you don't swing into somebody else? Are you aware of the fact that boats smell, aren't insulated, and are cold and damp in the winter? Do you know what zinc is for?

It's not as romantic as it seems; there's a lot of work involved, and sail and power boaters alike know the truth of "a hole in the water into which you pour money" in reference to boats. They aren't RVs, nor is it camping. Ignorance on the water can and will kill you.

It's like going back to the land; if you're not there already, it's too late to start now.

-- Karen Cook (, November 08, 1998.

Thanks Karen for your take - I agree with you in many respects - but consider the worst case scenario as described in Roberto Vacca's book "The Coming Dark Age" where in a societal meltdown situation the freeways will be jammed solid for miles on miles. People with guns are going to *take* sailboats/cruisers that are still in a harbour and unprotected. What better way of escaping the roadblocks that will be erected to contain the exodus from cities. Of course maybe the coast guard/navy can "dissuade" boat owners from doing the same. But if you are an experienced sailor this approach could work depending on whereabouts in the world you live. In December '99 not everyone will be living in adverse sailing waters. Fishing likewise needn't be nets, but simply rods or hand lines. Extra fresh water could be stowed on board - extra fresh water/supplies could have previously been squirrelled away on an uninhabited island. I think this is a viable alternative for some people if thought out and planned for well_in_advance. At the very least it might get you out of a hostile urban/city situation - think about it.

-- Andy (, November 08, 1998.

Andy, you present an interesting question about living onboard a boat during this Y2K situation,maybe a sub also??? As you have read the other messages. May I enlighten your thoughts concerning the weather changes that are now occuring all around the Earth. Underwater earthquakes make for some hefty waves should they come your way.Many are happening now in the Pacific. Here in Florida our famous Hurricanes whip up quite a stur on the waters. Apparently you need to watch what storms do with boats. Hopefully your not planning a "Gilligan's Island" type thought process. And about subs ? I'd hold off on that one, there will be too many of our Subs that will be crippled by the lack of the GPS satellite for moving around under the water. I'd stick with an RV and that way you can still fish and live off the land too.Best of luck with your plans...

-- Furie (, November 08, 1998.

Oops No spam and Karen, I'm forgetting my smilies:-) and sarkies:-> ... lighten up a little:-(

My question was an attempt to get a take on what others thought of the idea - yes, hurricanes, tsunamis, pole shifts, Captain Pugwash and The Mother Ship splashing down adjacent to my boat did cause me to ponder if it would be a wise idea;-)

If things break down irretrievably my bet is you won't see many boats tied up in Marina del Rey while South Central is marching east EOL:-D

-- Andy (, November 09, 1998.

"If things break down irretrievably my bet is you won't see many boats tied up in Marina del Rey while South Central is marching east"

uh, uh, I meant west dang nabbit, never could tell port from starboard either, if it's not the crips or bloods it'll be the friggin' pirates...

-- Andy (, November 09, 1998.

On the other hand - you'd only have to worry about the pirates, providing your boat can support you (maybe off Baja, MX if near South CA, North CA/OR/WA is a bit cold/windy/dangerous/no harbors for my taste).

Best obviously is near a deserted isle in Carib if you wish isolation/safety (no huuricanes till mid/late summer), but more likely to have more people. And they don't call them the Dry Tortugas because there is drinking water available.

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (, November 09, 1998.

"What better way of escaping the roadblocks that will be erected to contain the exodus from cities. "

If it comes down to Martial Law I wouldn't be to sure of this. I would be fully expecting one of the following to come your way A)Naval Gun Boats B)Coast Guard or C)Some form of law enforcement Helicopter. Your odds are better than on the road, but you still run a risk of being stopped.


-- Rick Tansun (, November 09, 1998.

I thought very briefly of living on a boat as a way of staying mobile, etc. If there are problems, just sail away into the sunset... but, the reason i discarded it among others, was that i hope to minimize my dependence on the system as much as i can. I want to be able to grow food if necessary, i don't want to be too dependent on intact fuel supplies, and to be able to raise small livestock. I couldn't do any of these on a boat. No room to grow food, and very little storage, so you are really dependent on society to provide it for you, which is too iffy for me. You need fuel for the boat, which also requires money, and an intact fuel supply. No room to raise livestock, though there is the possibility of fishing, so that's the least important of the 3. I imagine you have boating experience to even seriously consider this, but it seems to me that this route will make you way too dependent on a possibly very tenuous situation. If things take longer than a year or two to get past, you will probably be in an untenable situation, unless you are also a trust fund baby, and have an unlimited supply of fundage.

-- Damian Solorzano (, November 09, 1998.

Karen Cook:

You wrote (above):

"It's like going back to the land; if you're not there already, it's too late to start now."

I posted a question "Is it too late to move...?" (See thread) Surprised you didn't post an answer there. Do you really believe it is too late to start now? If so, why? Or is it very obvious, and you are being very kind to me by not saying anything?


-- Lizard (, November 09, 1998.

If Kevin Costner can do it, you can too!

-- steverino (, June 14, 1999.

For the past ten years, I spend 2-6 months on my sailboat every 2-3 years. Most of the posters on this thread have made very good points.

Dont worry about pirates. You are more likely to have problems with the U.S. Coast Guard than with pirates. I have also found that the sailing community is usually very helpful. Bartering is common and most sailors are more than willing to help other sailors.

The limit storage space is a valid concern. Although you can strip a boat down to its bare essentials and store provisions in nooks and crannies, you will still have to re-provision at port.

Fresh water is always a problem. Many of the live-aboard sailors that I know have known customized their boats to deal with these problems. You can catch rainwater in your sails or by putting a drain in your boats deck. On one island in the Bahamas, I got buckets of fresh water from a cistern. But fresh water will always be a concern.

The weather is also a concern. I relied on constant weather reports to determine when to make a crossing. On some islands in the Bahamas, the only weather information I could get can from a local sailor who would rebroadcast the US Coast Guards forecast. Reading the clouds, winds, barometer and thermometer can be useful, but I always like to see a weather map before making pulling anchor.

Despite these concerns, I believe that a sailboat is a good Y2K survival option. If I come to the conclusion that Y2K could be an 8  10, then I will probably be on my boat as soon as the hurricane season is over.

If you do your homework, you can find islands that can provide their own water, food, power and dont rely too heavily on tourist dollars. Cuba is an island that meets these conditions. There are other islands in the Caribbean that can supply their own food, water and power. You just have to look for them.

If you decide to the sailboat option is right for you, be sure to take you boat for a shakedown cruise. Also be sure to stock up on spare parts and have any tools that you might need. You will probably have to make any needed repairs by yourself.


-- B. K. Myers (, June 19, 1999.

Thanks BK,

I know this is a good idea for some people, providing you have the experience of course...

-- Andy (, June 19, 1999.

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