Published on July 31st, 2012 | by Casey Rostorfer
“I’m On A Boat!” Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse By Sea
Every one of us here at Zombie Training has a plan and if you are reading our magazine, we hope you do too. It can be assumed that your plan includes a stronghold location to hunker down in for the long haul. Some may prefer a fortified home or office building as their bug-in location, perhaps some will choose to find an underground bunker. Then there are those, like myself, that may prefer a more scenic vista; perhaps something with an ocean view. I plan on surviving at sea, and I’m here to tell you why, in my opinion, having a pair of sea legs provides the best opportunity for long-term survival.
The idea of using a boat on a large body of water to escape the horrors behind you on land is not unique. In Dawn of the Dead (2004), the remaining group of survivors decides to rush to the marina and cruise a yacht out into Lake Michigan. I thought this was a fantastic plan, that is, until they decided to pull up and moor to an island they weren’t sure was completely uninhabited. In the end, they all got eaten.
Author Brian Keene wrote a novel called Dead Sea, in which a small group of survivors makes it through the ravaged streets of Baltimore to the harbor. From there the group sets sail for the middle of the Atlantic, eventually setting up camp on an abandoned oil rig. That plan would work well, except in that novel the zombie virus jumps species several times. In the event of zombie fish and zombie seagulls, DO NOT attempt a water escape people. The idea of a zombie human is horrifying enough, but zombie sharks, whales and seagulls are terrifying on a whole other level entirely.
The most appealing reason for an extended post-apocalyptic holiday on board a sea vessel is your proximity to land and therefore large clusters of the undead population. On a boat, you are your own little floating vestige of security. Assuming that the undead are not strong swimmers, as long as you are in deep enough water, and the zombies didn’t retain any knowledge from Mr. Brown’s 7th grade P.E. rope climbing lessons, you are fairly safe from those potentially deadly bites and scratches. On the flip side, however, you are also a decent distance away from any provisions you may need. If you didn’t think ahead, you will quickly succumb to starvation and dehydration, and while that may be preferable to being eaten alive, why not aim a little higher with your survival goals? An escape by sea isn’t a “fly by the seat of your pants” type plan. If long-term survival is your goal, some forward planning and preparation is quite necessary.
There are distinct disadvantages to shipboard living, I will admit. Most obviously, you are eventually going to run out of fuel for your boat. You will need to find a safe, or at least fairly safe, harbor in which to occasionally refuel and restock. The other obvious downfall is the weather. If the weather starts getting rough, your tiny ship may be tossed like the S. S. Minnow. The chances of ending up on an island with Ginger and Mary Anne are slim; however, unless you are expecting Ginger and Mary Anne to be shambling and grey in pallor wanting to eat your face off. When the barometer starts to drop, head as close to the nearest shore as possible without attracting any attention from the dead dwellers on the land.
When picking your survival vessel think within the limits of what you, and the members of your crew, could realistically captain. If you can putter around the local fishing hole with a trolling motor on your 8 foot pontoon boat, but have never taken a sailing lesson in your life, that 25 foot full sailed beauty in the harbor may look appealing, but you will waste enough time fumbling around trying to figure out how to unmoor and pilot to draw unwanted attention from both the living and the dead alike.
By essentially choosing a pirates life for you, one faces the same basic challenges as trying to survive on land in terms of basic needs, the most pressing of all being potable water. The most convenient option for those on venturing out on salt water would be to have an onboard desalination system. Although expensive, the high capacity systems have equally high output and can produce up to 500 gallons of potable water per day from the existing sea water you live on. The downside to this is that if it breaks, a repair man is no longer just a phone call away. A less efficient but completely effective method to collect potable water is to use a solar distillation system, which requires nothing more than sunlight, a large bowl or bucket, clear sheet plastic, a heavy object and glass or cup to collect the resulting condensation.
As far as food goes, if your shipboard cupboards are bare you may think you are sunk. I disagree! With commercial fishing now caput, the fish populations in all oceans and rivers will return with a vengeance. With the foresight to pack some fishing gear, a tasty meal of fish (loaded with Omega 3 fatty acids and protein) is just a catch away, made even more tasty by the salt left on the bottom of the bowl/bucket you used to distill your water.
To anyone else who chooses a life on the open water, I salute you and wish you fair winds and calm seas. Just don’t drop by my boat and ask to borrow a cup of sugar. I sail well-armed.