Bracken Sends

Commenting on this post:

Seriously, sailing on the ocean will NOT work for 2/3 of people. Too much motion, it can be difficult for days at a time, and you can’t turn off the ride and get off. But almost anybody could rehab a funky 30-40′ houseboat, and just plain disappear. With a water draft under 2′ and an “air draft” under 11′, they can cover most of the South – far away from cities and highways.

Just look at a highway map, and all of those rivers that cut between them. The highways will gridlock, but the tidal rivers will be great, both for hiding and later for travel.

I’d get the cheapest houseboat with a frozen-up gas engine – you can get them almost for free. Then repower with diesel (easy), get it “river-worthy”, and there you are.

Get a few big camo nets, pull under a big oak tree on a bank, and disappear while the craziness sorts itself out. All miles and miles from the nearest road bigger than a farmer’s track.

36 responses to “Bracken Sends

  1. Hozay Buck

    I just read the one about hiding at sea on a sail boat, now I can see that working for some folks for a while. But the idea of hiding out on rivers while not new is still the best one to pop up lately.
    I have my own idea of where to boat it and have looked at it for years and believe it would be an outstanding idea.

  2. The Kentucky River is close to where I live and most of the locks have been welded shut by the Corps of Engineers. Farther to the South is the Cumberland River which is still navigable. Most of the newer houseboats have Aluminum hulls (no rusting) versus the older ones that have steel hulls. Many of the houseboats I have seen use a fiberglassed plywood for the exterior walls which will last a long time. Perhaps some cammo to make it less visible would help. Several years ago a friend of mine was trying to get a houseboat that was going to be available due to a divorce. He commented that he could keep his motorcycle on the front deck and be easily able to get on & off the houseboat with his cycle from many many boat docks along the way. To me this sounds like a workable plan to stay off the highways. My next project is going to be a “Wood Gasifier”. Even though that is “Old Technology” the ability to use scrap wood to replace gasoline for a fuel (or to power a generator) really gets my interest.

  3. This is a pretty damn good idea.

    Just don’t go ashore for mangos, like John Kerry did…

  4. Serious Matt, be quiet until my house sells, ok?


  5. Milo Mindbender

    A “Funky Houseboat” could be as simple as a 20′ pontoon boat with a small travel trailer secured atop of it, add a outboard motor, a couple of kayaks, or canoes along for shore running, and a chicken coop and you’ve got a floating retreat. Be aware that it wouldn’t be bulletproof, or really secure against raiding just harder to reach physically, and mobile.
    Most rivers that do not have lock systems on them would be large enough to hide your water buggy, and still be secure by virtue of distance from urban areas.

  6. Choke points are all the locks on the rivers.

  7. This is a great idea, but not as easy as one may think. I grew up on these Southern rivers here in Ga. and it is a world unto itself… Did my family have a houseboat, yes and it wasn’t as nearly easy as Bracken makes it sound here. But yes still a very good idea, just learn what you need to and then learn some more then practice that knowledge….

  8. As an ocean sailor and boat builder, for basic river work, an unskilled craftsman can quickly build a water worthy rectangular barge out of BC exterior plywood, fir 2x4s, stainless steel screws, and some epoxy glue. By building long and thin, one could get away with simply pitching tents on the deck and storing supplies below. With proper paint colors and using the recommended camouflage nets, such a barge would be hard to detect, mobile, and easily abandoned if necessary.

    If desired, a cabin structure could be constructed on the deck in the normal stick built home fashion for relatively little money. A small outboard slung over the transom (ass end) could provide propulsion if needed. In the Florida Keys, we moved huge two story house barges (18′ wide x 60’+ long) in calm weather by pushing them with an inflatable dingy powered with a 5-10hp outboard.

  9. Winston Smith

    Realize that the map doesn’t show all the locks, so it isn’t quite as extensive unimpeded waterway.

  10. Yeh well…. I don’t know about the rest of the former USA, but in Ky. more than 1/2 of the locks on the small rivers have been disabled for years .If you want to boat more than a few miles , you had best be ready to portage. The locks on the large waterways are controlled an monitored by the USACOE. and the USCG. NO ONE passes them unnoticed or unrecorded. The USCG and state FAW officers patrol the small waterways constantly, in boats as small as Zodiacs, to combat “poaching” and “fight the war on drugs”.- This whole idea is just escapist fantasy-. If you tried it here the state and/or feds would be onboard your boat in a week. The moment you said “warrant” the USCG would conduct a “safety inspection” with you in cuffs and impound the boat. The USCG and KFAW are HEAVLY armed (The USCG mounts M-240s KFAW carries M-4s) and armed “confrontation” WOULD NOT work out for the “boater”. This is just another goofy “bugout” fantasy-sorry Huck but building a raft and “flotin’ down de ribber” is no longer an option.

    • Well Mr. Ray, your comments regarding the .gov regulations and their enforcement goons only helps to solidify my “dislike” for the bastards. Thanks for your important information regarding .gov restrictions on our waterways. I have to wonder how long it will be before they implement the same restrictions on our highways.

    • I would really like those 240s…

  11. I didn’t mean to imply that a houseboat was a simple solution, only simpler than all of the factors required for successful ocean sailing. Naturally, the river navigator has to know about every lock, bridge, snag, sandbar and obstacle, manmade or natural, permanent or temporary. That goes without saying.

    • No locks on the Chesapeake Bay or any of its tributaries below their respective fall lines. Stick to tidal rivers and creeks and you’re probably good to go. At least until the next hurricane or nor’easter.

  12. TimeHasCome

    My Scottish ancestors used Crannogs to defend their generation . It’s like a stationary house boat

  13. No plan is one size fits all nor perfect. Problems exist and must be overcome.
    If you have the location and the knowledge this could be an alternative to heading for the hills, which Im thinking could get crowded fast.

  14. “The American Dream ended (on November 6th) in Ohio. The second term of Barack Obama will be the final nail in the coffin for the legacy of the white Christian males who discovered, explored, pioneered, settled and developed the greatest Republic in the history of mankind.

    A coalition of Blacks, Latinos, Feminists, Gays, Government Workers, Union Members, Environmental Extremists, The Media, Hollywood, uninformed young people, the “forever needy,” the chronically unemployed, illegal aliens and other “fellow travelers” have ended Norman Rockwell’s America.

    The Cocker Spaniel is off the front porch… The Pit Bull is in the back yard. The American Constitution has been replaced with Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals” and Chicago shyster, David Axelrod, along with international Socialist George Soros will be pulling the strings on their beige puppet to bring us Act 2 of the New World Order.

    Our side ran two candidates who couldn’t even win their own home states, and the circus fatster Chris Christie helped Obama over the top with a glowing “post Sandy” tribute that elevated the “Commander-in-Chief” to Mother Teresa status. (Aside: with the way the polls were run, he didn’t need any help!)

    People like me are completely politically irrelevant, and I will never again comment on or concern myself with the aforementioned coalition which has surrendered our culture, our heritage and our traditions without a shot being fired.

    You will never again out-vote these people. It will take individual acts of defiance and massive displays of civil disobedience to get back the rights we have allowed them to take away. It will take Zealots, not moderates—not reach-across-the-aisle RINOs to right this ship and restore our beloved country to its former status.

    Those who come after us will have to risk their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to bring back the Republic that this generation has timidly frittered away due to “white guilt” and political correctness…..

    I’m done.”

    –Anonymous Marine

  15. North of the Bakken

    Hello guys,
    Try to think if society was breaking down what kind of wide scale panic there would be.
    Seriously, the most important time would be to sit out the first two or three weeks on your marine platform.
    Very doubtful anybody would be looking for bayou Billy and Bernice Bugouts when their entire subdivision is grid down and grandma’s Chrysler and hair is on fire.
    One large action packer full of cans and pastas and a fishing pole and you could tough it out for quite a while in a small bay and watch the fires of Babylon burning all night, every night in relative tranquility.

  16. If you do this, your boat might be portage-able if you make a set of bike wheels that you can lower/attach so you can roll it out of the water, maybe then attaching a bicycle to it so it’s like a bike trailer – and keep the boat skinny, like 3 or 4 feet wide. Also, there might become such a thing as River Pirates. I don’t think the Festivities would be over in 2 or 3 weeks either. Especially near a river where people will try to fish or get drinking water, if deliveries and the power are off – the river itself will become contended territory. That’s all I have to say about that idea.

  17. Well, here I go again. Guess I had more to say. I’m sort of used to there being no part of a riverbank that isn’t owned by someone or other. But I live in an exurb. Floating down past people’s property or being a newcomer on the river during SHTF might get you shot at, or other things (paddle faster, I hear banjo music!).

    My strategy would be to do recon first: go to some place in the country now on a day off, get a realtor, look in the local paper for land for sale, or take an ad out in the paper yourself saying I Buy Houses, and look at properties – there would probably be a few that are vacant. You’ll get an idea pretty quick where you could park that BOV or boat come the SHTF. Also you might find a place for rent, or that would actually LET you park there.

    I’ve also seen a thing where a guy used an old fiberglass boat as a root cellar. Lends a new meaning to a boatload of preps.

  18. Pat, that 40′ remodeled houseboat at 18.5K is what I’m talking about. Imagine how cheap the “before” models are, with the frozen engines taking up space in boatyards. If possible I’d repower in diesel, just for the longer fuel life. At the rates these boats consume diesel, you could carry enough in barrels to last for years.

  19. RobRoySimmons

    I think the author said after TSHTF not before when the Paycheck Stormtroopers still patrol the waterways. There will be a day when the Paycheck Stormtoopers will sell those 240s, unless you think somehow Mr. Paycheck is going to get his full pension inflation adjusted.

  20. riverrider

    um, what happens when all those water treatment plants go down? thats right, a wall of crap coming down the river. good luck with that. or if the coe walk off the job, leaving the dams and locks to nature? one good rain and…..

  21. In Kentucky only the rivers with volume barge traffic have manned and maintained locks. All the rest were disabled under “down sizing” the COE. The Salt river runs through Ft. Knox-DON’T TRY IT-the last bunch that did a year or so back is still awaiting trial. If they are lucky they face mere trespass charges and a 10000 fine for TUBEING on the Salt River.- Along the Ky. river you have places that are outright controlled by locals living on the banks who are far less than friendly to “outsiders” Notably “brown” ones. You can fish there in safety, but I would not linger for days without an “invite” and for shure wouldn’t come ashore without one. Putting to sea on a boat gives one freedom. Not so a river. Rivers are more like roads-the traffic only go’s two ways, they are patrolled by LE, and if you have a problem there is nowhere to “run”. The “locals” line the “sides” Any small “roadblock” and you are trapped, forced to abandon your boat in a river valley and run uphill to escape. If followed or hunted it will be by “locals” who know the countryside far better than you ever will. From what I know of the people who live on the banks of the Ky. They are mostly kin who have lived there for generations and would know if a stranger /new boat tied up in a creek within the day- and the rumors about it would FLY . Everyone within miles will know every outside detail.–EVEN WITHOUT TELOPHONES. Hiding would be impossible. You don’t think so? Get to know somebody along the river and ask where the game warden is set up. I’ll bet he /she can tell you. I think this is probably true for most rivers in the east.

  22. I wouldn’t want to be moving down river unless I had to.

    Get off the main drags and sloughs find you a good backwater or oxbow lake that has extended seasonal access. Large delta areas and convergences would, IMO be the best areas to look for semi-permanent redoubts.

    Nestled along the edge, in the overhanging canopy of a multi-acre backwater lake, opposite of the ingress (assuming the surrounding banks aren’t accessible by vehicle), could provide you with several hundred yards of standoff.

  23. Don’t forget the Intracoastal either, there is a lot of empty marshland on the land side covered with reed beds and coves galore. You may be able to anchor behind a screen (at least from other passing boats – aircraft you iz found!) and temporarily make a life there. Riverrider makes a good point – cholera and worse will be flushed into river, you will have to treat all your water.

    A house boat with kayak or canoe – beats walking down a road with your crap in a shopping cart.

  24. I still like small sailboats, shallow draft with daggerboard, and ones with a lowerable mast, for the Sound and NW. Something like a big catboat.

  25. I have even looked into using the railroad tracks as an alternative route to get out of town. I would imagine that in a SHTF situation that the Interstate Highways would quickly get gridlocked, the secondary highways would most likely have roadblocks (either locals or the Gubmint Thugs) but somehow I can’t help but think the railroad trax might get overlooked. I own some rural property about 30 miles away and the same RR Trax that pass thru my town pass about 2 miles from my rural location. I have already located several RR crossings where I could hop on the rails. I have DVD from WWII showing jeeps & a string of trailers (without rubber tires on the rims) that were used to transport troops thru the Philippine Jungles using the existing train trax. I already have all the Rail Road radio frequencies in a scanner to avoid a “Conflict” but if the need arises I can use that route as an alternative way to get to my bug-out site. Sure couldn’t sit on the trax like I could on one of the OxBows on a river (for a few days of waiting to see what is going on) but there might be some sidings somewhere along the way that might work out. This reminds me of “ABSOLVED” where some rail cars full of military equipment got “sidelined” out in the stix, but it does open an alternative as a way to get out of town.

  26. Houseboating is a great family activity and the idea of using it as an escape pod has merit. Just remember no plan is one size fits all. Even if it’s not a plan for you, read and learn and expand your knowledge base.

  27. Regarding travel on the railroad, a relative of mine would let the air down on the (run flat Dick Cepek) tires on his ’74 Jeep CJ-6 and run up and down the railroads for hunting access. Those heavy mudder tires would stay on the rails to 30 or 40 mph, no steering wheel needed. Like any linear egress route, scouting and planning will reduce vulnerability, but not eliminate it.

  28. Was reading about a guy who built a little cheap catamaran using large diameter PVC pipe. Combine that with the “tiny house” movement and you have something, maybe…

    I think there are a lot of marshlands that don’t get patrolled. Maybe not a houseboat but some small craft like a canoe that can be slept in temporarily might be useful. Get out the camo paint…