A Nautical Prepper Talks About Bugging Out to Sea – Part 1

Ever thought of escaping to the water by boat? I’m not just talking about hiding out on rivers or lakes, but going on the ocean. Because I’m from a landlocked state and have no sailing experience, I freely admit I’m out of my element regarding this subject, but it’s interesting to learn about. And it just might help you or someone you know to survive.

Since I’m not the expert, I defer to someone who is. This week on DestinySurvival Radio I spoke with Capt. William E. Simpson II (aka Captain Bill), a nautical prepper who talked about bugging out at sea. He’s written a book called The Nautical Prepper, which is a DestinySurvival Pick. It goes into the specifics you must have. If you live within a couple hours drive of the ocean or other large body of water, carefully consider whether bugging out on a boat is an option for you.


But Don’t Do It This Way

Not long ago I read about a family who left from San Diego in a sailboat, but they didn’t make it. They ended up being rescued somewhere at sea and brought to Chile, where they’d eventually be brought back to the U.S. You don’t want to follow their example. Be better prepared and provisioned than they were.

Capt. Simpson’s book is the place to start. In fact, he told me they would have made it to their destination if they’d have read his book and followed his advice on planning and navigation.

So who is this guy who makes such a brazen claim?


Meet the Captain

Captain Bill is the real deal, and it was an honor to have him on my show. Here’s his bio.


Capt. William E. Simpson II is a U.S. Merchant Marine Officer with decades of boating and expedition sailing experience, having logged more than 150,000 miles at sea. Capt. Simpson has successfully survived long-term “off the grid” at sea and on remote uninhabited desert islands with his family for years at a time.

In early 2013, Capt. Simpson appeared on National Geographic’s hit TV show Doomsday Preppers (Season 2, “A Fortress at Sea”) and received the highest score ever given for disaster preparedness and survival, earning the title of “Best Prepper.”

He holds a U.S.C.G. 500-ton captain’s license for commercial-inspected passenger vessels and is also a commercial airplane and helicopter pilot. In 1987 Capt. Simpson received a commendation from the U.S. Coast Guard Honolulu Sector for his assistance in the successful rescue of two sailors lost overboard at sea. In 2010, Capt. Simpson was again instrumental in the successful rescue operation of an American sailor lost overboard in the Sea of Cortez in hazardous waters.

Capt. Simpson is also an accomplished writer covering disaster preparedness. His work has been featured and republished in numerous magazines and websites, and he has been a featured guest on various disaster preparedness radio talk shows.


Why This Book?

The Nautical Prepper was originally going to be a book for people who already have boats. But Captain Bill saw that others might be able to take advantage of his information, particularly preppers who are of a mind to get out of Dodge in an SHTF scenario.


Boat Better or BunkerBetter?

On a boat you can get away from the threat at hand, such as a fllu pandemic. You’ll be safer in the event of an earthquake or other catastrophe that could strike on land. Also, you’ll be able to avoid the masses of people leaving the cities. They’ll be clamoring for limited resources, including yours and mine.


If They’re Coming for You…

You can be spied on and found at sea, too, can’t you? Captain Bill says that reflects the thinking of somebody who hasn’t been out to sea or in the military. In a large scale disaster, if you’re well away from shore, pirates won’t be the worry many might think.

In spite of today’s modern GPS technology, the Coast Guard will have a hard time finding you if you need to be rescued. You’d have to be transmitting a homing beacon to make finding you easier.

Plus, most in the maritime community don’t want conflict. So they won’t be a threat to you at sea.


Doom, Gloom and Deprivation in the Drink?

Captain Bill doesn’t believe in deprivation while at sea. Have quality tools and quipment, and be sure your boat is well provisioned. What if you could have popcorn while watching your favorite movies during a family movie night?

It’s not about luxury for luxury’s sake. It’s about keeping up morale. We cope better when we have things to make us feel better. Something as simple as a hot shower can make a world of difference for someone who hasn’t had one for a while.


Are You Ready to Launch?

If you’re truly interested in pursuing the life of a nautical prepper, Captain Bill says there are plenty of places to get guidance and instruction. Plus, it seems to me that if you can afford a good used car, you may be able to afford a used boat. You’ll have to do some work, but why not get the whole family involved? Besides, what better way is there to get intimately acquainted with your boat?



How about this scenario? Let’s say you live in your vessel while working at a job on land. Work on your boat as you’d do if you were remodeling your home. If you needed to change jobs somewhere else along the waterways, you’d be able to take your whole living quarters along. Home school your children on board as well. Captain Bill’s family did that.

The way Captain Bill describes this lifestyle, it sounds very attractive indeed.

Plus, you’d have the ability to put out to sea and escape the chaos of a disaster in your boat in a matter of minutes.


Some Log Entries from The Nautical Prepper

Allow me to share a few jottings and observations I made while going through Captain Bill’s book.
  • If you’re wondering where to bug out to for the long term, he gives guidance on that.
  • Simpson’s recommendations are specific and strategic. An example of this is his instructions on getting your family in the designated place when you need to depart.
  • He’s a firm believer in having adequate training and mental preparation. Knowing first aid and CPR is a must.
  • Should you buy a new or used boat? What’s the best material and construction for your vessel? Should it be motorized or not? Appendices feature sketches and show examples of the kinds of vessels he writes about.
  • Simpson explains what kind of boat you should have and how it should be provisioned. But a rule of thumb is that if you’re sailing for survival, have a bigger boat. Have more survival equipment because more is best.
  • You’ll need first aid and medical supplies–lots of them. He doesn’t hesitate to mention brand names of various items he recommends. I appreciate this because it’s much better than reading a general statement like, Buy a good radio, deep cycle battery, etc.
  • Have more than one source of power. If possible, you’ll want to be equipped for solar and wind power as well as having a diesel generator.
  • Have the right, quality tools available. If you take Simpson’s recommendations, you’ll practically have a tool shop on board. You just might need it.
  • When it comes to what food to store on board, he joins those who say you should store what you eat and eat what you store. But be ready to catch seafood delicacies, too. Naturally, he tells you what equipment you’ll need for that.
  • Should you have firearms on board? If so, what? He has thoughts on that, too. And he advises being aware of any laws that pertain to wherever you’re going. Consider other items for self defense, too, such as signal flares, spear guns, pellet rifles, and even a slingshot.
You’ll be surprised by all that Captain Bill has thought to include in the book. But then he and his family have plenty of experience to draw from.


The Concluding “Sails” Pitch

I invite you to hear my entire conversation with Capt. Bill when you listen to DestinySurvival Radio for October 10, 2013. Find him online at www.williamesimpson.com And order The Nautical Prepper by clicking on its title wherever you see it hyperlinked in this post. You’ll be taken to the page where it’s featured, and you can place your order there.

A skeptical friend of mine says it’s not a realistic option at all for the vast majority of us. Does becoming a nautical prepper sound like an option for you?


The Nautical Prepper


Click here for Part 2.


Author: John Wesley Smith

John Wesley Smith writes and podcasts from his home in Central Missouri. His goal is to help preppers as he continues along his own preparedness journey.

7 thoughts on “A Nautical Prepper Talks About Bugging Out to Sea – Part 1”

  1. We met Bill and Laura in Baja a few years ago.
    Like Bill and Laura we built our own boat Endless Summer in Oregon
    and have been traveling the seas for nearly 30 years.
    In his book, Nautical Prepper Bill, has laid out a clear and well
    thought out plan to sail the seas in a strong, well built, boat
    with all the amenities for a safe and sucessful voyage.
    Anyone contemplating such an undertaking should read this invaluable
    Sincerely Lynn Bolkan

  2. Capt Lynn & his wife Deloris built their own boat, and it’s a big (about 60 feet), solid vessel. It’s a perfect example of what can be done with some sweat equity and a little good old-fashioned American ingenuity.

    As I am sure Lynn would agree: Never let anyone tell you ‘it can’t be done’, that’s not a statement that is consistent with how America was made great… It Can Be Done… and anyone can do it. Lynn & Deloris are wonderful people and are still sailing/living in remote areas, and they are in their 60’s.

    Fair Winds & Seas

    Capt. Bill

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