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Plan Sea

The following is a guest post by my old friend Sandy. He hosted me graciously during part of my 2010 trip to Panama, where he still lives. He’s now looking for supporters to join him in a new venture, writing about a lesser-known form of prepping and escape from tyranny.


The World’s First Preppers and How to Join Them

by Sandy Sandfort

Some anthropologists say that Man’s creation and use of boats date back 45,000 years ago into the Stone Age. Then and ever since then, humans in boats have had to be preppers. Whether you are crossing the Pacific or just traveling to the next island, you have to prepare. When Polynesians sailed their outriggers hundreds of miles to settle New Zealand, they took rats and other food, water and primitive navigation tools with them; they were preppers. When Columbus set out for the New World, he was to be a prepper, as were Darwin on the Beagle and Magellan on the Trinidad. All sailors are preppers. Today, everyone who sails is a prepper whether they use that word or not.

Today, so-called recreational sailors, yachties, cruisers, boaters or whatever, are a vast community of preppers. And in today’s world, sailing offers one of the best ways to “get out of Dodge” when things turn ugly wherever you are. If you are a prepper today, you are most of the way to being a “sea prepper” if you want to be. If you think you cannot afford a boat, think again. It can be done very easily if you are willing to examine some of your preconceptions about how to organize your life.

How do I know this? For several years, I have been thinking and researching sea prepping. I know it can be done, because I know people who have done it and when I run the numbers, it all adds up.

I want to write out the entire program in a book, tentatively called, Plan Sea. Sound interesting? If you want to be involved in creating this guide to sea prepping, please visit my website ( and click on the “Buy the Book” link at the top of the screen, then scroll down to “Come Join the Plan Sea Book Project” for information about how you can help make this book happen.


  1. MamaLiberty
    MamaLiberty September 19, 2015 6:48 am

    Good luck to him! Claire, you might suggest to him posting his proposal at TMM. We have a bunch of boat people who might be glad to help him.

  2. Vince
    Vince September 19, 2015 7:18 am

    If my seasickness would do the right thing and leave me alone I’d love having a boat that was stocked and ready. Heck, even if you’re not bugging out you can have a great time vacationing on water. All my life I’ve been a landlubber

  3. Jim B.
    Jim B. September 19, 2015 8:02 am

    I’ve always thought bugging out to sea was a good way to go. Despite some people who shall remains nameless. RAWLES! Oh, did I say that out loud? My bad.

    You just need to be careful where you go.

  4. LarryA
    LarryA September 19, 2015 8:45 am

    Today, everyone who sails is a prepper…

    Well, no. Ask the Coast Guard. Everyone who survives at sea tends to be a prepper, though.

  5. Ellendra
    Ellendra September 19, 2015 8:46 am

    I know some people on another forum who are always bragging about their bug-out boats. I’ll pass this along to them.

  6. Claire
    Claire September 19, 2015 10:20 am

    Thanks, Ellendra! And thanks, ML, for the suggestion of posting on TMM. I’ve passed that on to Sandy by email since I don’t know how much he might be monitoring this thread.

  7. MJR
    MJR September 19, 2015 11:20 am

    Let me say that I do not live on a boat. My experience comes from having a few friends who do the live aboard lifestyle thing and yes I am a little jealous. I did talk with them about their lifestyle because my wife and I were thinking about going that route. In conversations with then I have learned about some of the upsides and downsides. For me the list of downsides out matched the good things but my situation is different from you guys as I reside in the northern climate.

    The upsides are that if you are in a marina and a nearby boater annoys you there is the option to relocate your boat to another slip. Add to this the “no fixed address” issue and you becomes very difficult to be tracked. Then there is the SHTF issue, stuff happens and you can simply cast off and head away from danger.

    The downsides of living on a boat. The first issue is the size of the boat you will be living on. Remember the thread about tiny homes? Picture living in a “home” that is 12 feet wide and 32+ feet long where there is constant noise from the rigging of neighbour’s boats in the marina. Then there are the seasons… Being up here in Canada there is the issue of winter. If ice is not dealt with there is the possibility that the hull of your home (boat) will be crushed. The answer to this is to run a bubbler. This is an air pump connected to a hose along side of the boat that bubbles air so ice cannot form and crush the hull. Note you must have a source of stand-by power because if the shore power fails then the bubbler stops. Then there is heating, but this too is not a real issue. There are even wood stoves designed for boats that let you heat with wood. One friend told me how she hated winter on her sailboat because no matter what they did it was always cold and damp.

    In winter up here If there is a SHTF event the option of hauling anchor and sailing away is gone when ice surrounds the boat. Mind you there is a way around this. As one friend told me when I asked the simple answer is to commute, notr that he and his wife are retired and love boating. In late fall he sails south from lake Ontario down the St Lawrence to the Atlantic. From there he heads south to spend winter in the Florida Keys. The only issues he faces are the weather (hurricanes) and pirate activity. Yes there are still bad folks on the water. He then returns in April.

    Add to all this the costs associated with the boating lifestyle. Maintenance, salt water is very corrosive. Docking fees at a marina can be a little high with the fees being charged on a per foot basis. Then add in the cost of electricity. This can come from shore power or solar or a combination. Then there is the cost of fuel for the engine. Remember that even sailboats have some sort of engine because the wind is not constant. One bad thing about being a live aboard type is the marina costs. These seems to be this belief that if you own a boat big enough to live on then you have buckets of cash. Another item to look at is land transportation. Unless your boat is within walking distance of amenities you will need land transport and a place to store that transport. Having a car on a boat means having a big, big boat which means big, big costs. There are the options of bikes (motor and peddle powered) but if you live up here in the great white north peddling a bike in snow is never fun.

  8. jed
    jed September 19, 2015 2:59 pm

    I can understand the appeal of boating out. But it’s hard to get past the thought that if something happens to my boat, I have fewer options — perhaps none, than if something happens to my vehicle or cabin. At least if I’m on land, I can walk, assuming I’m capable. I can walk much farther than I can swim, and carry weight while I’m doing it. Seems to me that contingency plans are easier and more accessible on land.

    Matt Bracken has written on the subject. Here are two:

    Letter from Matt Bracken Re: Blue Water Sailing as a Retreat Option?

    Get yourself a thirty-footer and go!

    I suppose it helps to live hear an ocean, which I do not.

  9. Jim B.
    Jim B. September 20, 2015 6:08 am

    Yes, boating is not for everyone. I despise the assumption if one has a boat then one must be rich. If one has brought a boat then one is not neccessarily rich, not anymore. : ) Then there’s the used market, there are ways to get a boat on a budget. One can get an older hull that may not be in “prime” condition and restore it. Just like a car, putting in money as you go along. Many seek out old outboard hulls just for this purpose, because it’s so much easier (within limits) to re-power the boat. Even old sailboats can get new sails and riggings.

    Also, there are many different kinds of boats. You may want one to go up rivers to bypass jammed highways and roads.

    The point is: There are many different reasons to have a boat as there are purposes. The thing is to not dismiss them out of hand.

  10. Sandy Sandfort
    Sandy Sandfort September 20, 2015 8:39 am

    Just come quick comments on some other folks’ comments:

    MamaLiberty suggested I post on IMM because there are “a bunch of boat people” there.” I have signed up, but I have no clue as to which forum to post on to reach those folks. Suggestions?

    Jim B. said, “You just need to be careful where you go,” which is true. Of course, you must be just as careful where you stay…”

    Ellendra, sounds like a great idea. Please do send that site along.

    MJR, I appreciate your insights, just remember, most of the expenses, inconveniences and even dangers exist even if you stay land-bound. Nothing is perfect, so you have to do your own calculations to balance risks and benefits.

    I am very happy with everyones comments. If you would like to consider “sea prepping” further, please help me get the word out. Got to, click on “Buy the Book” and scroll down to “Come Join The Plan Sea Book Project” to see how you can help. (MJR has already helped by telling me something I did not know. “Bubblers” can protect your boat from ice in cold climates. Cool, thanks

  11. Ron Johnson
    Ron Johnson September 20, 2015 6:46 pm

    I’ve always thought of my 26 foot sailboat as my camper on water. While I haven’t done extended stays on the boat, it is certainly do-able, at least for me and my wife for part of the year. I’m a bit land-locked so my options are limited, but just having the ability to shove off and put a moat of water between me and some bad actors could be important, temporarily.

    The ‘bubbler’ idea works, as long as the temp is not too cold or the ice too thick. I used to keep my boat in the water year round in Missouri by positioning a couple of bubblers around the slip. That isn’t possible in Wisconsin. The bubbler would, as some point, freeze solid during a minus 20 degree two-week cold snap.

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