Bug Out Boat:
Watercraft as an Emergency Escape Mode of Transport

In a world where gas has run out, owning a bug out boat will put you at a distinct advantage over other survivors. Rivers will become the new highways and your boat will be the perfect method to get around quickly and easily. 


Many major cities are built around rivers, so you'll be able to access the downtown areas easily with a quick escape route built in. It will also be a invaluable way of carrying heavy goods from one place to the other if you need to change base camps.


Using a bug out boat can be a creative way of avoiding the inevitable log jam of road traffic that will immediately follow any evacuation announcement. However, it does rely on your base camp being on or near a river if you plan to use the bug out boat as a getaway vehicle. In some situations, you may be able to use the boat as a temporary base, but you'll need to make some modifications to allow you to stay on board for longer:

  • Water converter - the most important part of any survival is having access to drinkable water. In an apocalyptic scenario, you can't be sure that any water, even fresh running water like a river, will be safe from pollutants. Likewise, if you're on the open sea, you'll need a water converter to remove the salt from the water to make it safe to drink. These tend to work by reverse osmosis, meaning that any impurities are leeched out, leaving pure water behind.

Seachoice Solar Panel
  • Solar panels - running a motor boat or yacht on diesel will see you into the same problems as those people using cars and trucks as their bug out vehicles. By installing solar panels, or even a small wind turbine, you'll increase the sustainability of your boat as well as extending the amount of time you can stay out on the water. You shouldn't need more than a couple of square yards to power the water converter and cold food storage devices, and the fact that you'll be storing your boat out on the water means that you could connect a battery to store excess power ahead of time. 
  • Dry food storage - being clever with how you store your dry food below decks will determine how long you can stay away from land. Simple ideas include rotating shelves that spin on a central axis so you can store multiple shelves of canned goods in the same space as one large shelf. Choosing to buy freeze dried food also saves on space, as well as any MRE that require hot water to become a full meal.

Inflatable Bug Out Boat


If your budget doesn't stretch to a fully powered yacht or motor boat, an inflatable boat will see you through the first few days. Make sure that the model that you buy inflates quickly and the pump will run from a generator. For a four-person boat, it could take half a day to inflate it manually and you won't have that time to waste. Having an inflatable boat does give you greater flexibility compared to a proper boat, as you can store it as part of your bug out gear and only inflate it when the time comes and you're at your identified water source.

In either situation, you'll need to do some research on your local waterway network before you start to prepare your bug out boat. This includes finding out which rivers flow in which direction, how deep they are and if there are any barriers, such as low bridges or white water rapids, that may hinder your escape.

Now, here are a couple of imaginative and creative boats for bug out.


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