Preparation is the best defense against the inevitable zombie or ‘infected’ infestation that will wipe out the majority of civilization. In this article, I will attempt to explain the advantages of holding up in a well equipped boat, rather than a land based survival strategy. I will further explain what kind of boat you need to prepare, and what gear you will want to take with you.
The Perfect Boat for the Infected / Zombie Apocalypse
The zombie apocalypse is most likely right around the corner, as you know. Those of us who survive the first shocking, bloody horde of infected will need a plan to stay alive until the hellish infestation has killed all of the easy prey and starves itself out (or a cure is found if you’re an optimist). If you are currently living in an urban, landlocked area… well you didn’t really consider how undead-friendly your lifestyle is, did you? Why not just cover yourself in tartar sauce? We’re going to write you off as tasty infected-treats and move on now. If you’re in a rural area, you have a shot at survival if you stockpile a lot of canned food and reliable weapons, so that you can literally head for the hills.
Now if you’re in a coastal location, you have another option. Life at sea. In this article, I’ll explain the benefits of getting yourself a ship, how you’re going to want to equip and modify her, suggested activities, and tips for the crew. Avast me maties, there be zombies!
- Fast Infected from 28 Days Later: In modern zombie lore, the fast infected in 28 Days Later and 28 Weeks Later (U.K.) are the most brutal, frightening kind. Call them what you want; zombies, infected, hordes… I don’t care about the semantics. They move like lightning, they’re hungry and merciless, and one drop of blood infects. Some of them can even be ‘advanced’ in that they are slightly more clever or more agile. In other words: Nasty. They straddle the ‘alive’ side more than the ‘dead’ side, given that they can starve if they don’t feed. But we’ll use them as the example because if you encounter Night of the Living Dead (U.K.) type zombies, you’ll be over prepared!
- Above Average Crew Training: Let’s face it, the average people are already dead. You and your crew are considered above average, and quick learners. Think Left 4 Dead (U.K.) survivors, but less military training and more all-around useful knowledge. Between all of your friends, you’ll have some skill in hunting, some fishing, some boating, some medical, some technical, and some practical.
- You Start Preparing Now and Scavenge Well: We’re going to provide the links to everything you need, but I doubt you are going to run out and secure yourself a ship today. So we’ll assume that you stock up on canned goods and the basic survival gear that you need, and can scavenge the rest before you get wiped out!
Why a Boat?
There is a common theme in most zombie lore: Zombies don’t swim! The best they can manage is walking along the bottom of the ocean, and the infected that do need to breathe won’t go near a deep body of water. In short, the zombie apocalypse is a land-based phenomenon.
Another advantage of being on a ship is plentiful access to seafood. Some types of infected and zombies can screw up the entire land-based ecosystem, killing animals of all sorts and poisoning smaller water supplies with their fetid corpses. On a seagoing vessel with a desalination unit, you have plenty of fresh water.
Finally, a good ship is a portable, weatherproof fortress where you can get a good night’s sleep without fear of zombie infestation or crazy isolated survivors. You have to select the right areas to anchor up at night, and avoid particularly harsh storms, but other than that you’re golden!
Selecting Your Ship
Some people might be thinking: Find something fast and easy to sail, with low maintenance. Fuel efficient might be a plus.
As it turns out, you actually want something like this:
This is a 94 foot motor sailer with a Karavoskaro hull. It has a 10 foot draft and a 23 foot beam. It has 8 cabins, 2 diesel engines at 380 horsepower, 2 generators, a fully equipped galley, life boats, and a full high tech suite including radio, autopilot, radar, and echosounder.
The first question that might pop to mind is: Why such a monster ship? Well anything over 60 feet is probably OK, and you can tailor your ‘acquisition’ based on the number of survivors you have with you. But you want to go big for several reasons. If you come across a huge cache of goods on an ‘away mission’, you’ll have the space to store things without ever needing to come back to the area again. Larger boats don’t tip as easily during harsh storms. Finally you have a lot of freedom to customize because of the extra deck space, and you’re going to need it!
You want a motor sailer for obvious reasons: If you run out of fuel, you’ll still have wind power! You always want options, and jury rigged sails are notoriously inefficient. Ration that diesel, always be on the lookout for more fuel, and run sails whenever possible. That is the survivor’s way!
The down side is that you’ll need a larger crew for larger ships. Though not impossible, running a big vessel like this all by yourself is a mammoth task. You’ll live a short, hard life without much sleep, and you’ll need almost every skill in the book to keep everything working right. However, if you think about it, without skill diversification and another set of eyes, you’re probably dead anyway. No man is the every-man, and with nobody to watch your back your chances of survival on land (or in a smaller boat) are slim to none. If worse comes to worse and you end up alone, you can always find a sheltered area to anchor up and use your ship as a permanent static base of operations.
Equipping Your Vessel
You’re going to need some fairly specialized equipment to survive without ever needing to go on land, so it’s a good thing I’m telling you now so that you can get booked up on all of the concepts before you face the Night of Terror! This is where having a balanced crew comes into play, as some knowledge of plumbing, electronics, and general DIY (U.K.) is necessary to make it all work. Once it is all working however, you can stay out at sea for months at a time, only needing to find safe harbor once in a great while to do any external repairs in dry dock. And you have months to find and monitor such a location, so it shouldn’t be a problem.
Other than the built-in features of your ship, you’ll need:
- A desalination unit: The reason should be fairly self evident, but I’ll explain. Drinking water is the most critical resource on a zombie-proof seagoing vessel. If you don’t need to go near the land, you don’t have to deal with the screaming, infected hordes. If you don’t want to buy one now and store it away in some secret location, make sure you have the plans for a DIY desalination unit. Instead of digging, you’ll be constructing an enclosure out of an old water tank by cutting off the top and bending in the edges, so have extra wood and plastic on hand. The reason for this modification is that the deck of a boat rolls with the waves, and traditional construction would slosh salt water into your fresh water container. You’ll get the hang of it. Use this until you can find a $5,000 professional grade desalination unit and spare filters. Once you have one of these installed, you just need the power to run it for an hour every day and you’ve got about 30 gallons of fresh drinking and cooking water!
- Solar panels: You need to achieve diesel independence as quickly as possible. That was the reason for the sails, and that’s the reason for installing solar panels. Do you see those zombies on the shore? The ones that want to eat your face? They want you to run out of power to desalinate your water. They want you to get nice and close. Instead, install a boatload of solar panels! You can use rigid solar panels in mixed sun and shade areas (like under the sails), and flexible panels on smaller sloped surfaces. There is a lot of surface area on a 94 foot ship, so you should be able to get away with using your desalination unit, some lights, cooking, and running the radio. It won’t support 24 hour use of things like radar and sonar, so use your head. Some things will require you to burn diesel. For everything else, there’s solar.
- Crab and Crawfish Pots: If you’ve been paying attention, you know that the next thing you need to worry about is food. Your canned food should be saved to supplement fresh food, rather than become the bulk of your regular diet. Have you ever seen Deadliest Catch (U.K.)? Well that’s what you’ll be doing, albeit on a smaller scale. You’ll be setting a few light duty crab and crawfish pots (U.K.). Properly baited, you’ll catch crab, crawfish, and small to medium weight seafood of all sorts. There are worse ways to spend the zombie apocalypse than grilling fresh crawfish, I assure you! Your boat is already equipped with a light crane and hard points for normal fishing rods, just make sure you have a stock of lures and hooks for when trapping is light.
- Dynamo Survival Light and Radio: The final thing that you’re going to need is a way to seek signs of civilization. That means a radio and a flashlight… and you can’t be running back to the corner store for batteries. Enter the solar/dynamo survival radio/flashlight (U.K.)! Every survivor should have one, and you should have at least 3 extra on the boat itself. Even if everything else has gone wrong, even if you’re out of diesel and your solar has failed, you can survive. You have sails, you have condensation water filtering and rain water, and you have these to search for radio signals and move around at night. Just don’t shine them at the infected. They hate that.
- Life Vests: Do you know what really sucks? To outrun a horde of screaming infected, meet up with other survivors, get on the most secure ship you can think of… and then falling overboard one night and drowning. Drowning sucks. So life jackets (U.K.) seem to be in order. Again, every survivor needs one, and having at least 2 extras around is a plus.
Equipping and Training the Crew
Other than what you would normally want to give your survivors in any hell-on-earth situation (guns, chainsaws, tool kits, med kits, knives), you may want to consider a few extras that are particularly nice in a naval situation. I would suggest at least a couple bows and crossbows, both for bow fishing and defense that doesn’t depend on machined ammunition. Unlike their land-bound counterparts, everyone should carry a flare gun as well. There is no danger of getting overrun by the alerted zombies when you’re at sea, and signaling an airplane or helicopter can mean the difference between life and death!
Everyone should learn from everyone else of course, cross training will avoid gaps in the group’s survivability should someone get eaten. In addition, everyone has to understand that they debark and embark the main vessel via a life raft. This is the ultimate gateway to preventing infected incursion. The worse they can do is kill an away team and you lose one of your lifeboats. The main group lives. Finally, in a place as tight as a ship, you never take anyone new aboard without a strip search examination! There is no quarantine shed, and no room for error or mercy. Strip them down right on the life raft. If there are any bites, throw them into the ocean and don’t look back!
You can never be too prepared for the inevitable undead uprising. I hope that this article has given you some ideas along the lines of naval survival strategy. Share it with your friends! Stick together, and when the impending global zombie domination comes to fruition, and you’ll have smooth sailing! This article is brought to you by Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (U.K.), now in stores!