Surviving the SHTF Living on a Boat

I’ve had friends and I investigate the chances of survival living on a boat.

First let’s clarify I mean a small boat with a cabin area, water tank, toilet and a dry place to sleep; either a sail boat or a power boat with a cuddy cabin.

An experience is trying to go from a decent sized brick and mortar structure to living on a 30-foot sailboat, yes that experience was mine to share with you.


I was just a single guy who was given the opportunity to boat sit in of all places the US Virgin Islands on an island of Charlotte Amalie on the island of Saint Thomas. It’s a picturesque place with blue water, a tropical atmosphere and tourists, lots and lots of tourists.

I was given an opportunity to live on the sailboat a Morgan 30-foot catch with all the amenities only in a condensed version.

What I mean by condensed is think of your house or apartment and you are looking across the room into another part of the place but in a sailboat your range of vision is much closer about 9 feet in this sailboat so you’re up close and personal with everything.


Clothing, books, electronic devices all have to go in designated spaces usually drawers, under bunks and in hanging nets placed in every conceivable space on the walls.

sailboat-deckThe biggest pain in the butt was mold and dampness since you’re living on the sea and surrounded by salt water and constant movement which can sometimes be violent when a cruise ship comes into port at 5a and your nearly thrown from your berth by the waves hitting you boat. I did get smart after landing with a crash on the teakwood floor twice and strung up a hammock. It took getting used to but the violent rocking never affected my sleep after that.

Keeping water and food stores are also a bit of a challenge. I kept a huge supply of canned goods and besides the water in the fresh water tank (100-gallons) I kept one gallon jugs I would use to cook, drink and on occasion use for hygiene purposes. Oh yeah, speaking of hygiene when there is really no space for showering since its really confined and I’m 6 foot – two inches tall in my bare feet and a bit over 200 pounds it wasn’t exactly comfortable so if you’re my size you’ll also improvise with water, wash cloth and towel and you will have one heck of a time getting anything you get damp at all to dry out.

sailboat-galleyCooking in the sailboats galley was not difficult I had a duel propane burner stove top, 1 quart steel pot, 9-inch steel frying pan and blue porcelain steel coffee pot that I brewed my 9-cups in and stored the leftover coffee in a glass carafe with a screw on lid for drinking later with dinner.

The most interesting thing was the wine rack in the galley built to hold 12 bottles and I used it when I could since sitting topside in the evening with a breeze, crackers and brie and a great Cabernet was a delightful means of passing the time and sometimes company of like shipmates harboring would row over in their skiffs and imbibe too.

Would I recommend a boat for a SHTF situation – yes sure I would but my best recommendation is a decent size sailboat at least 21 feet long with a shallow draft as it doesn’t need gasoline to get you places except close to shore and the wind is free and most of the time blowing on the water.

I’d also recommend it being in salt water not fresh water as the fishing on salt water can keep you alive and an inexpensive desalination unit can keep you in drinking water too. It’s easy to sneak into secluded cove and hide out from pirates I know will be out robbing and doing what pirates generally do.

I found several under 30-feet on Craigslist for under $10,000 in good shape with sails and all the accoutrements needed for live as a salt sailor.


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  2. […] of the rest of the time, you can do without. This makes sailboats an excellent back up plan for a natural, or manmade disaster. You can get away from the chaos where you are, and get to almost anyplace on […]

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