10 Things That You Should Know Before Bugging Out By Boat

living on a boat, bug out boat

The idea of bugging out by boat may be a bit troubling to some, and I totally understand why it could be. You’re totally out of your element! It’s a huge adjustment going from moving about on land every single day to suddenly having to rely on aqua transport. What makes it even more troubling is that you’ll be bugging out and not simply going on a cruise.

However, bugging out by boat doesn’t have to be a scary experience altogether. Nothing should scare a person who is well prepared before bugging out, and keeps the following information in mind:

1. Current Location And Desired Destination


First and foremost, you should want to take into consideration where you are or where you are most likely to be in the event that bugging out by boat becomes your best option. Knowing your exact geographical location should include being aware of the closest body of water you can get to. Of course, if you’re bugging out by boat you’d hate to have to travel too far before you can set sail.

You’d also need to keep in mind your destination or whether you intend on moving from place to place. Is there anywhere close by where you can take cover? Is it able to protect you from harsh weather? It’s a plus if you’re able to find one that’s able to provide you with a great view while keeping you hidden (and safe) at the same time.

You know what’s even better? Finding a location that has a fresh water supply. You’ll be quite pleased being near a stream, river, lake, or ocean when it’s time to quench your thirst (not with unfiltered water, of course) or take a bath. Also, there’s usually lots of food near a water supply so you can bet your stomach will be quite pleased too!

2. Boat Selection

Types Of Boat

Realistically speaking, any choice between a boat, canoe, kayak, or inflatable raft would do you good on the waters. It’s a matter of deciding which of them is more convenient and/or accessible for you while keeping in mind other factors as well.

The canoe and kayak have been known to be extremely useful when it comes to travelling by water. They were the only means of sea transport available to native Americans and they managed just fine! Who’s to say you can’t either?

An inflatable raft, although less durable and resilient, is still pretty likely to get you where you need to go. It’s portable and easy to pack in a car should you need to drive towards a body of water. Do yourself a real solid by packing a spare one just in case. No worries, you’ll have plenty of space to do so!

Choosing the right boat for you should be done after careful planning. You’d want to have an idea as to how much you’re willing to spend, how much space you’re going to need, how the boat needs to be maintained, as well as what equipment you’d need for it. It’s nothing you can’t handle, right?

3. Equipment You Might Need For Your Boat

Equipments for bug out boat4

As I just mentioned, it’s important to know what equipment you’ll need or prefer to have for your boat. First off, you’ll need to think about the size of your boat. Doing so will help you decide what you need aboard as well as how many. What would you need?

For starters, you may find it useful to include generators, solar power and wind turbines, shower, GPS, radars, ham radios, televisions and freezers. This is all while being mindful of the size of your boat, of course. It’s also useful to bring along a water maker (to turn salt water into fresh water) for obvious reasons.

Be sure to include at least the following items no matter what size boat is at your disposal:

Life Jackets

You know what they say, “Safety first!”. Remember that when packing items to bring aboard your vessel, and there’s no way you’ll leave life jackets behind. They’ll keep you afloat should you find yourself off of your boat and into the water when you don’t want to be.

Portable Toilet

This may just depend on the size of your vessel after all, but I’m including it in the list as I’m pretty sure you’d be able to find a system that works just right for any given size vessel.

4. Security On Board The Boat


You should know that you’re better off with protection. There’s no question that you and everyone aboard be aware of what’s going on at all times. A smart plan would be to set up a watch program and/or make use of a drone scout. What’s the point? I’m guessing you would prefer to spot whatever’s coming your way before it gets too close.

Take advantage of the space you’ve got available by packing sufficient ammo and weaponry. This is after you’ve made sure you’re within legal rights to do so. It’s in your best interest to be very well prepared for potential threats (pirates and/or marauders).

With peeled eye lids and adequate machinery, I’d say there’s no need to worry about trouble…as much. It’s important to ensure that this part of the plan is carried out fully, it can be rough out there! I surely wouldn’t underestimate the potential dangers I could face while sailing through the ocean, and neither should you. Stay wary, stay alert, and most importantly; never panic.

As long as this is kept in mind, it will be a lot easier to take control of a challenging situation. Living on a boat calls for much, don’t you think?

5. The Cost

The Cost

I know, I know; I’ve mentioned quite a few stuff but not a word about cost consideration. Just in case you’d prefer the prompt, please be mindful of the costs you will face when getting things in order.

You might wonder if bugging out by boat is a cost-effective method. You might’ve even heard that it wasn’t. I mean, if you’ve got this image of you bugging out on a top-of-the-line yacht, then I’d have to agree that it isn’t cost-effective. Otherwise, it’s quite possible to bug out by boat without spending an arm and a leg. With thorough research and some patience, you’re bound to find just what you need within your budget.

Thankfully, today’s economy provides a wide range of choices. You’ll be able to get a reasonably priced sail boat with a shallow draft with trailer in equally reasonable condition (don’t hold me to that part!).

You obviously shouldn’t want to purchase a boat that will plunge you into debt. Make use of the internet and other reliable sources to give you the proper guidance you need to make your purchase. If a big vessel is really out of your reach, then I would suggest leaning towards a rubber raft or a kayak.

6. Boat Maintenance

Boat Maintenance

A boat is a vehicle, after all. Get the proper information concerning the right way to maintain your vessel. Proper maintenance can not only lead to an overall better performing vehicle, it can also keep you from spending a whole lot of money! How so? This is because poor maintenance can lead to different parts of the boat going faulty.

Do you really want the headache of having to look around for expensive boat parts? Me neither, buddy. Be sure to lessen those odds by doing all you can to keep your boat running smooth.

Another source of motivation to do so would be the thought of a faulty part causing your vessel to stall while you’re on the waters. Far from a pretty picture, right? I’d sure hate to have that burden on my shoulders.

Aside from that, there are plenty more hazardous situations that may present themselves if your boat is not properly maintained. Let’s do our best to remember there’s no hospital wing out in the ocean! Negligence can be very costly, and can cause one to pay with more than just money. It won’t hurt to carry along some fiberglass patch kits to make quick repairs.

7. Weather And Other Dangers


Boating isn’t always a liberating and fun activity, it can also be quite dangerous. It’s important to be aware of exactly what you’ll be exposed to, or at least have a pretty solid idea.

Just to paint you a clear picture, you would essentially be exposed to: heat, bugs, humidity, adverse weather conditions, water lice, snakes, leeches, and mosquitos-all of which can quickly cause serious illness or death.

Don’t forget that there are also objects in the water such as; logs, reefs, and random junk that could cause crucial damage to your boat. Naturally, you should seek proper training as well as proper education, practice tips, and carry first aid kits to lower the risk of threats. It’s best to be as prepared as possible for any possible hazard. It will also be a smart idea to gauge your travels according to the concerns listed.

Another smart idea would be to (if you have the chance) make trial runs to familiarize yourself with the routes you’ll be taking. This way you can mark potential hazards on your map, as well as your back up map. If possible, check out the shoreline for any possible hiding spots for someone ready to ambush!

8. Noise Discipline

In addition to using your eyes to look out for hazards, it’s important to use those ears to listen out for them too. Be mindful that sound travels over water and it may be in your best interest not to generate more noise than absolutely necessary.

With that being said, everyone aboard should be keen about practicing noise discipline. It’s a vital factor when it comes down to survival, and should definitely be a part of any training you may choose to undergo. It’s an important practice not just on the waters, but also when you’ve docked on a shoreline.

Why is it so important? Because you’re very likely to be surrounded by total silence while on your bug-out boat, which means sound is going to travel far and wide. You should prefer keeping a very low profile so as to prevent giving away your exact location to any unfriendly outsiders. Be sure that everyone who’s going to be on board understands the importance of noise discipline and has had enough practice.

How irritated would you be if some pointless yelling led pirates straight to your boat! Beyond words, right? Maintaining a hidden position should be priority, in my opinion.

9. Navigation

I’m sure I mentioned something about having two maps. Even if your boat has some sort of built-in GPS, it couldn’t hurt to make sure that you’ve got some sort of built in GPS.

What I’m trying to say is; try to equip yourself with the ability to navigate without using technology. It’s always good to be able to do certain things without some fancy gadget, and I believe that steering through the sea is one of those things.

What’d happen if your technology becomes faulty? I don’t think anyone fancies the thought of drifting aimlessly at sea. Equipping yourself with certain navigational skills should be part of your preparation routine.

So what are the right skills to know? Well, firstly I’d say that you’re going to want to do a little research on map reading if you don’t already know a thing or two about it.

Being able to read an old fashioned map will surely help ease your worries about the reliability of your gadgets. If it was good enough for 17th century travellers, it’ll definitely be good enough for you!

Another handy skill would be navigation using the stars. FYI..not an easy skill though.  Don’t be rendered utterly hopeless travelling at night!

10. How To Put Out A Boat Fire

Boat Fire

I don’t think I have to express how big of a catastrophe a fire on a boat can be. Should this situation arise, do your best not to panic. I know it seems a lot easier said than done, but do your best!

Panicking in this type of situation is sure to lead to clouded judgement and a greater chance of poor decision making.

Try to keep a clear head, and handle the situation with a plan you came up with before-hand. Seems better than just running around and screaming, right?

So what’s the plan? Pour some water in a glass and throw it at the fire. I’m only joking. Actually, you should be in less of a pickle if you follow this simple three-step process:

Step One

Keep fresh fire extinguishers in places near the most likely locations for a fire; the galley and the engine compartment.

Step Two

In the event of a fire breaking out, move everyone aboard out of the cabin and into life vests. Call to report the emergency, and prepare for a worst case scenario-abandoning the ship.

Step Three

Use the extinguishers to fight the fire once you’re clear on how to use them.

Summing It Off​

Living on a boat doesn’t have to mean total distress for you and whoever else is on board. As I’ve mentioned, preparation is key and a positive attitude will guide it. Don’t let fear of the unfamiliar drag you off course or knock your focus. After all, this is about survival, isn’t it?

With these tips in mind you’re bound to feel a lot more at ease on your bug out boat which should mean smoother sailing. Know where you are and where you’re going, know your boat, know what you have on board, and be vigilant at all times.

About the author


Colin is a freelance writer and editor. A fan of The Walking Dead. It led him to think what if SHTF and what does it takes to survive. Colin hobbies includes gears, tech gadgets and rehearsing different "End Of The World" situations in his head.

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