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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

equipping a G.O.O.D. boat

Equipping My G.O.O.D. Boat, by Doug W.
I live on a 42 foot boat and have no access to a land-based defensible position here in the northern part of Puget Sound. In order to prepare my wife and me for the coming collapse we have had to adapt and innovate our thinking a little bit. Because we live on the water between two major population centers we believe that when the stuff hits the fan people will not be viewing an escape by water as a viable alternative they will be looking for land with house and food so we may be under the radar for awhile which will allow us to sneak away quietly and find a quiet little bay up coast to hunker down in and prepare a defensive positions. With some sustainability via the ocean and the game that we will be able to shoot in those isolated bays and coves.

Most people that we talk to have no idea how to run a boat let alone know how to handle all the mechanical and marine functions. The areas we are looking to retreat are only accessible by water or plane and the bays we will be in you could not land a plane in. So our only real threats will be pirates or other boaters. Up and down the coast are various small villages that will be abandoned because they are not sustainable without food and fuel brought in on regular basis some of these villages may be a place of refuge for us if we need to but I envision us in an uninhabited bay or cove. Once we get to the bay we fell a bunch of trees and drag them to mouth of the bays to act as a barrier for any boats that try to come. If we do have to abandon the boat, the bays that I am thinking of have trails and old abandoned cabins in them so we can make our final escape to there. Failing that, I can launch my 12’ hard bottom inflatable with outboard engine and do some hit and run tactics or use it as another escape platform.

My main concern will be the ongoing procurement of diesel fuel if we need to move a lot. It would be ideal to find some other like-minded boaters and set up a defensive community there. We have set the boat up with 3 redundant electrical sources 1) wind generator for our 8-6 volt golf cart bats with an 8 d for start, 2) on one the main diesel engines we have a 150 amp Zena alternator that can double as a welder and charging system for the boat on the other 120 hp Ford Lehman we have a 65 amp heavy duty for running the boat and keeping the 8 [six- volt] golf cart batteries charged up 3) We also have a small 3,500watt diesel generator that can back up any of the electrical system. All of these systems are tied to our Heart 2500 watt inverter system.

We have stored on the boat 180 day supply of food including various buckets of rice, wheat, flour and MRes. I have a good supply of fishing, crabbing and prawn equipment being an ex-fishing guide I envision bartering local seafood for various other needs. On board I have a set of diving gear in case in need to do some under water boat disabling, or do repairs on our own boat. The boat has the ability to carry 250 gals of fresh water and with the number creeks and rivers that dump into the west coast water will not be a problem. Septic will not be a problem. We will have a small desalination unit that will feed into the main tank at about 2-3 gal an hour which give us the water we need to sustain ourselves. For showering and hot water we have a passive sun heat hot water system as well as a heat exchanger on the main engines that will give all the hot water we need when the mains are running. The boat also has four sources of heat 1) the main engines have the heat exchanger tied into a hot water hydronic s system throughout the boat with 12 volt pumps that transfer the hot water heat trough out the boat. 2) A Hurricane hot water diesel furnace system that is tied into the 12 pumps and fan system through red dot heater exchanges. 3) In all of the rooms we have 1,500 watt cadet style wall mount heaters that can run off the 8-6 volt batteries. 4) We have a portable Little Buddy propane heater for back up in the event of failure with 3-20 lb propane bottles. We also carry 450 gallons of diesel with a burn rate of 1.5/gal hr per engine that we will use for G.O.O.D. time having lived on the coast my whole life and explored most of it there are number bays that one could hide in for a long time until things blows over.

For defense of the boat I have a 12 gauge riotgun with 200 rounds of slugs and 00 buck shot. A Mini-14 with folding stock .223(with 2,000 rounds), 18 shot Remington .22 with 30 boxes of high velocity long rifle, Jennings .22 pistol and stainless .38 with 150 rounds. I am planning to buy a dummy .50 caliber to (covered up while at port of course so as not freak out the locals) mounted on the front of the boat to give that "don't mess with me" look. The final on board defense with be quart size canisters of military grade OC, and of course our whacked out pit-bull terrier.

Our electronics package include the various things you need for maritime navigation 24 mile radar that can be set to provide a defensive perimeter alarm out to 1 mile, 2 Raymarine depth sounders in both the upper fully enclosed station as well as the lower station, a loud hailer for the broadcast of "don't mess with me" warnings, One fully rotational 2 million power spot flood light, 2 heavy duty anchors with lots of chain and floating line for the defensive perimeter around the boat good for prop fouling plus we have redundancy in our VHF radios as well as a short wave system, 4 - 12 gauge flare guns for signaling [and perhaps some fear inducing], auto pilot, video camera system with four outside video cameras that can monitor the boat at all times , paper charts of the West Coast as well as 3 GPS systems (two hand held and one mounted), two FRS radios, I hand held VHF radio, 2 portable 1 million candle power spot lights, a yagi 16 db directional antenna that allows me to dial into any broadcasters that are still operating along the west coast.

On the boat I have a full complement of spare parts and a large tool chest I can do almost all repairs short of rebuilding the engines. I took a diesel engine course at the local community college just to give me a little more info on the mechanics of diesel engines. My wife works at the hospital and has a good working knowledge the medical techniques and supplies. My son is in law enforcement and has assured me when the time comes with his SWAT training and equipment we will be well protected. The thing that I am concerned about the most is how will I know when to make the break and move on what will be the signs that say that is time to go and what do I do with those who don’t believe and hence have to leave behind that will be very difficult. God has assured us he will be us guiding us and directing us until he comes again. That is my only comfort.

JWR Replies: There are a few weaknesses in your plan, but you will certainly be light years ahead of the average urbanites and suburbanites of the Seattle-Tacoma metropolitan region who will be geographically isolated in the event of a major disaster. The weaknesses that immediately come to mind are:

1.) Limited food storage. You should pre-position as much storage food as possible onboard your boat. Once your food runs out, your options will be very limited. Although they are illegal in most jurisdictions for private fishing in fresh water, I suggest that you lay in a supply of gill nets, for the event of a true "worst case" where fishing regulations become meaningless.

2.) Limited fuel storage. Once your fuel runs out, your options will be very limited. Within the weight and balance constraints of your boat, increase your diesel fuel storage as much as possible.

3.) Limited water storage. You need to get some dedicated equipment for collecting, hauling, and filtering fresh water from shore. You should buy at least 8 heavy duty five-gallon plastic water cans or alternatively some five-gallon HDPE plastic buckets with spout lids. (See what fits best in your inflatable.) It is also important to procure a water filter to treat that water. In the long term, as your budget allows, you should also get a backup manually-pumped reverse osmosis Water Maker, to provide redundancy in turning sea water into fresh water.

4.) No photovoltaic power generation capacity. Once you are out of diesel to make power, your wind generator will be insufficient to keep your battery bank charged.

5.) The 1,500 watt electric wall heaters that you mentioned are designed for use on shore power, or when you have your engine running. Without your engine alternator or your auxiliary generator charging the system, running one of those heaters will drain your battery bank in just a couple of hours. Here again, once you are out of diesel fuel to make power, those electric heaters will be useless.

6.) The "abandoned cabins" that you mentioned are undoubtedly located on land that already has an owner, and odds are that someone will be there, in hard times. In the event of a total collapse, you might have the chance to build a cabin on public land out on an island. So bring a barrel of timber spikes and nails, several axes, several saws, a shingle froe, a hardwood mallet ("maul"), an adze, a draw knife, and assorted carpentry tools. And of course bring a good book on building wilderness cabins, such as Beard's classic book: "Shelters, Shacks, and Shanties".

7.) You should thoroughly scout out primary, secondary, and tertiary harbor locations, preferably in the American San Juan islands. Since you own guns that are "no-nos" in Canada, that rules out the Canadian San Juan islands. That is unfortunate, since there is a much larger selection of great little uninhabited islands up there. (I visited several, when I spent a summer on and around Cortes Island.)

8.) You will probably be safer at night anchored "out in the channel" than you would be in the confined waters of a small bay or river inlet. I'd recommend adding a .308 or .30-06 stainless steel bolt action rifle to give you better range in keeping pirates at a safe stand-off distance. (As they say, "Keep your friends close and your enemies at 9X distance.") Buy several hundred rounds of ball or AP ammo, and at least 60 rounds of tracer ammo, for putting the fear of God into nocturnal pirates.

9.) In the event of a long term disaster, a diesel engine coastal cruiser carrying a gas-engine inflatable won't be tenable. A true blue water sailboat with lots of PV panels and carrying a couple of sea kayaks would be more appropriate.

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