I live near the water, a short walk from the Atlantic coast. So I thought it would be interesting to consider whether it would ever be advantageous to bug out across a body of water, such as a large lake, or a river, or along a coastline. I’m going to assume, for this scenario, that you’ve already made the decision to bug out. I’ve written about that decision before in this blog. And I’m also supposing that you have a boat available for your own use. So you’ve decided to leave your home behind, to travel to a safer location. Should you ever bug out across a body of water?
First of all, a land route will generally be more crowded. Many people have access to cars and trucks, but far fewer have access to boats. You cut down on the number of people taking that escape route if you travel by boat. In a time of disaster, we know that the highways will be clogged with cars, as happened when New Orleans was evacuated in advance of Hurricane Katrina. But even with both sides of the highway converted to travel in one direction, away from the city, the traffic was terrific. A water route is unlikely to see any type of traffic jam. It’s the nature of travel on water. If cars could bug out across wide open plains, there’d be no traffic jams on land either.
A land route is not necessarily safer than water. As long as the disaster does not make water travel treacherous, as in the case of a hurricane or other storm, the crowds fleeing by land make land travel dangerous. If you are trapped in a traffic jam, you are more vulnerable than you would be at home. This is one of the inherent dangers of bugging out. While you are traveling from home to a safer destination, you are less safe. On water, you can get to your destination at a steady pace, usually unimpeded.
If you bug out along the East or West or Gulf coasts in the U.S., or along the Great Lakes, there are quite a few destinations from which to choose. So it’s relatively easy, though a little time consuming, to get far away from a local disaster. You need a larger boat to travel a longer distance. But even a short hop might put you out of danger quickly.
If people are fleeing a location in desperation, there may be violent incidents on the roadways. You have to consider the possibility of such a conflict on the water also. So self-defense is always an important consideration. But as a less crowded route of escape, you’re odds of a conflict are perhaps lessened.
There are disadvantages to a water bug out. You have a limited set of destinations. When you arrive, you will not have a car. And bad weather is much worse for a boat than for a car or truck. Cars don’t sink into land (usually). And there are no land-sharks or sharknadoes to worry about.
But if you live near a body of water, having the option of travel by water is useful. If you live on an island, it’s an essential option. If you live on a peninsula, like Cape Cod, land routes for bugging out are very few. Along a coastline, you have more land bug-out choices. But the openness of the coastline and other large bodies of water might make that your best option in some scenarios.