Why boats are the way to go in a zombie apocalypse

Floating around while the world burns

In all zombie movies, books and games the creators were tasked with a very important question: “What can my zombies do?” Can they run? Can they think a little? Open doors? Shamble? Run? It’s always something that has to be compiled into a neat zombie package that fits whatever entertainment is being made. The one thing I miss about 99% of the time, is how these zombies will behave in water! So for this article we’ll assume zombies are shambling pieces of mush, very stiff but with the occasional brainwave like in The Walking Dead (hey look I can now operate door-handles in trailers and smell victims!).

Since these zombies clearly can’t swim, we need to get on the water. While swimming might be an option, you’re not gonna last too long, so we’ll need a boat…

What kind of boat do I need?

First of all you need to look at the kind of waters you’ll be sailing. If they’re shallow, avoid any boats that could get stuck there. Next thing to keep in mind is propulsion, wind might be free but having at least an extra engine attached would be a lifesaver. Now for height, what’s the lowest thing you could possible have to go under to get where you want to go? Make sure you know the height of your boat as much as depth. Getting stuck under a bridge while zombies tumble onto your boat would be less than ideal… But having a low boat that zombies can climb into from shallow waters isn’t good either. Last but not least your width, don’t get a boat that will be so close to the shores zombies can just jump on it. Or fellow survivors! An important factor here will be if you plan to tackle the oceans with your boat, or at least get on them close to a shoreline.

What needs to be on my boat?

Everything, you’re going to live on it. But to be boat specific, you’ll want some of the following items:

Water maps (those include depth, bridge heights and waterways)

Storm lights and fluid. Electricity and water usually aren’t the best combination, especially in high stress situations. So using these sturdy old school light makers is a great option. Especially on a boat, everything will be close to you anyway.

Flashlight. Very contradictory to my previous point, I know.. But you will need to see further away too, or guide other boats towards you, scout for stuff in the water etc. Have a few good flashlights laying around.

Night Vision Equipment. This one’s important for this specific scenario! It will give you the option of scouting the dark waters around you without giving away your own position. Of course in full moonlight your boat will be seen, but only from people or zombies close to you. If you light a flashlight on open water, or even a proper lake you’ll be seen by anything and anyone that has line of sight to that light. Even if they’re well out of distance to see your boat. At night they don’t even need line of sight, they’ll just see the light. (lighthouses anyone..)

Water filtration and water. Just get both, have jerrycans with water and a permanently attached water filtration device in your boat. Maybe some bottled water too. A good idea would be to refill the water using the filtration device as soon as there’s time for it. Keep a smaller supply of clean water so it doesn’t spoil again before you drink it.

Wind and/or solar power. This is where a boat shines when it comes to zombie apocalypse survival. You can make a permanent camp with all the amenities you want, without any chance of it being run over by zombies! Get some solar panels on there and a windmill you can setup when you’re not using your sails. Use this for charging batteries for flashlights, charging radios, a camera (if all of this blows over we need pics), tasers, your phone, etc..

Fishing and hunting gear. You’re on the water, might as well dedicate one person to keeping the boat in order, cleaning and storing water and fishing all the time. These roles combine nicely and you’ll get in new food during the day. Don’t forget hunting equipment in the form of a crossbow and a few guns. Besides protection you’ll also be able to hunt other animals as well. Or if a large fish surfaces the crossbow will work, for seagulls and other nasty but edible animals a .22 with a suppressor on it will be very nice.

Paint and tools. Boats need repairs, be sure you know how to fix everything on yours. Including the engine, sails and bodywork. With modern environment friendly solutions, most boats need to be cleaned and re-painted every few years and need to be taken out of the water for that. I’d suggest getting a coating that you don’t need to replace every few years, since it’s probably not legal to use that before the apocalypse… Just take it with you and use it when needed after the apocalypse starts and you find a suitable place to do this. (an island probably)

Games and books. You’ll get bored quickly after all the work is done and you’re drifting around for a while. Have some books to read, get thick ones with lots of tiny letters so it lasts a while. Have games laying around you can play together, card games should provide endless fun.

Propulsion. Have several forms of propulsion, for example an engine, sails and rowing equipment. This ensures you’ll always be able to move forward. Also don’t forget extra rope for your anchor, the safest place will be outside of shooting distance from most shorelines.

Nice and far from the shoreline, with a little rubber boat to get closer.

That’s the list of boat specific items you’ll need for sure, now on to the crew. Don’t take people on board who cannot contribute. Since you’re on a boat there isn’t a lot of space and people will get in each others way, guaranteed. Make up your crew before SHTF and make sure they’re all trained for their tasks once they get on board. The roles you’ll need for sure are: Mechanic, Food & hygiene person, Captain. So that’s someone who can fix just about anything, someone who keeps everything in order, catches food and prepares it. Last but not least someone who can read the water, operate the boat and steer it where you need to go. Everyone else will need to have a damn good reason to come on board too. Otherwise they’ll just take up space, get in your way and eat your resources.

That concludes my little story on boats. They’re basically tiny floating safe havens as far as zombies are concerned. For fellow survivors, be sure to be extra cautious because you have something everyone wants to have!

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