Dive deep into the world of sailboats, from choosing the right vessel for your prepper needs to maintenance and navigation. Explore the skills required to make your boat a reliable, self-sufficient platform.

Having lived in Toronto, and then on a farm in Northern Ontario, my move to a catamaran sailboat on the ocean 8 years ago was a big change, but a welcome one. Eight years of living on the oceans has taught me a lot, and re-affirmed my belief that a sailing catamaran is the ultimate in survival shelters.

Prepping for Climate Change: Adjusting Your Bug-Out Sailboat for Different Conditions

Prepping for Climate Change: Adjusting Your Bug-Out Sailboat for Different ConditionsIn an era marked by unpredictable climate patterns and an increasing sense of urgency surrounding environmental changes, prepping for survival has taken on new dimensions. For many preppers, the conventional bug-out plan may not be sufficient, leading to alternative strategies. One such strategy gaining traction is the use of live-aboard sailboats as bug-out boats. In this article, we will delve into the key considerations for adjusting your bug-out sailboat to navigate the challenges posed by various climate conditions.

The Versatility of Bug-Out Sailboats

Live-aboard sailboats offer a unique advantage for preppers seeking refuge from climate-related threats. Unlike static bug-out locations, sailboats provide mobility, enabling preppers to navigate changing conditions and find safer havens. Whether facing extreme temperatures, rising sea levels, or other environmental challenges, a well-equipped sailboat can be a crucial asset in a prepper's toolkit.

Adapting to Rising Sea Levels

47-year-old pays $1,900/month to live on a $398,000 sailboat and travel the world: ‘It’s an absolute feeling of freedom’

Brian Trautman spent years working 60-hour weeks as a software engineer at companies like Microsoft. Eventually, he realized that the best part of his day was the bus ride to and from work. On one of those rides, Trautman decided he needed to make a change.

In May 2008, after two years of saving as much as possible, he sold all of his possessions, including a three-bedroom townhouse in Redmond, Washington and embarked on a two-year sabbatical to sail the world.

″[I thought to myself] after two years, I’m going to be ready to come back and know exactly what I want to do for the rest of my life, and I just never came back,” Trautman tells CNBC Make It.

Trautman purchased a 53-foot sailboat called the SV Delos for $398,000 with a $81,000 down payment. It has three cabins and two bathrooms. He made his final payment on the boat in 2019.

Trautman purchased his sailboat in the summer of 2008 in Bellingham, Washington.
Trautman purchased his sailboat in the summer of 2008 in Bellingham, Washington.

When Trautman set sail, he had two years of savings, or about $48,000. It ran out three different times, he says. He maxed out his credit cards, cashed out his 401K and took odd jobs while traveling the world to survive, according to documents reviewed by CNBC Make It.

Then, in 2011, while docked in New Zealand, he met his now wife, Karin. The two started filming their adventures on the boat together and launched their YouTube Channel, Sailing SV Delos.

“It was not supposed to be a full-time job. It was just going to sustain us and help fund the trip a little bit. And now it’s all we do,” Trautman says.

The couple uses the money they make from their YouTube channel and crowdfunding to sustain their lifestyle.

Living on a sailboat does have its challenges

The sailboat has a cabin in the back that serves as Trautman’s and his wife’s bedroom, a cabin in the front of the vessel for his daughter, and a third cabin for guests The boat also has a kitchen area with a convection oven, dishwasher and toaster.

“We have many modern appliances and conveniences that you might find in your own house. Everything’s just kind of on a smaller scale,” Trautman says.

The sailboat has three cabins and two bathrooms onboard.
The sailboat has three cabins and two bathrooms onboard.

Though the SV Delos boasts three refrigerators that allows the family to store a lot of meat or fish, a big problem is fresh fruit and vegetables. The couple can only keep enough to last a few weeks before they have to go back to land for more. Which is a lot harder than it seems.

“We live and die by the weather out here, so the weather determines everything we do,” Trautman says. “This life is often uncomfortable. It’s way more work than living in a house.”

During a typical shopping trip in town, the couple spent about $500 on groceries that should last them between several weeks and months, depending on what’s perishable and what’s not. In addition to groceries, the couple spends about $1,900 a month on boat insurance, maintenance, fuel and utilities. They also pay $250 a month for satellite Wi-Fi.

Trautman and his family are currently docked in French Polynesia.
Trautman and his family are currently docked in French Polynesia.

Since he started traveling the world by boat, Trautman has visited over 45 countries and has racked up 70,000 ocean miles.

The couple briefly moved back to living on land when Karin was seven months pregnant. They moved to Sweden, where Karin’s family lives and where Sierra was born. When Sierra turned four months old, the now family of three returned to life on the sailboat.

“It was a huge change to our lifestyle, but very rewarding. We can sit on the back of the boat and see the sharks, the rays, the puffer fish, the dolphins and whales,” Trautman said. “She’s able to see all these things for real instead of just in a book.” 

To stay connected with their family members on land, Trautman says they have their loved ones visit them when they are docked. For example, his parents came to see them in the Caribbean and Karin’s family visited them in the Philippines.

The couple stays connected to their family online and by planning trips to places they’re docked.
The couple stays connected to their family online and by planning trips to places they’re docked.

Now that Sierra is four-years-old, Trautman says they plan on staying in French Polynesia for the next year, but are considering moving back to Sweden full-time so their daughter can grow up around Karin’s culture and family.

“This trip changed my DNA at the core where I’m a different person than I was when I started,” Trautman says. “I have a different view on priorities and what’s important in my life. The time that I have to spend with friends and family and loved ones is what matters.”

A Guide to Basic Nautical Terminology for Preppers

A Guide to Basic Nautical Terminology for PreppersPrepping for the worst - disaster, zombie apocalypse, economic collapse, you name it – is an increasingly popular hobby. As part of their prepping supplies, many folks become interested in acquiring boats. But boats come with a whole new set of terminology and concepts, which can be confusing to the novice. That’s why we’ve compiled this informal guide to some of the most basic nautical terminology and concepts you’ll need to know if you’re thinking about buying a boat.

Boating Lingo 101: Terms to Know


The mast is the vertical spar, or pole, used to support the sails, and it's one of the most recognizable features of a sailboat. Usually made of aluminum or wood, it's usually just a few inches wide, but can be much larger in larger boats.

100 Point Pre-Passage Inspection Checklist

100 Point Pre-Passage Inspection ChecklistEvery boat is different and everyone has different standards with regard to what they require to feel safe when heading out sailing or going on passage.

From my experience I've developed a standard pre-passage checklist. While your boat and requirements will vary, you can use this 100 point checklist as a good starting point to create your own. Hopefully it'll help you avoid a few problems and maybe help you remember something you'd otherwise forgotten.

I've broken the checklist down into ten major categories that cover everything from the top of the mast to the bottom of the keel. I’ve arranged them into an easy to follow checklist with descriptions of what I look for when preparing to head offshore.

Please note there can be no such thing as a complete standard list—it is up to each individual captain and crew to ensure they've done everything necessary prior to setting sail.

1. Rigging

Standing Rigging

☐ 1. Check Turnbuckles: You want to closely inspect all turnbuckles for any cracks or corrosion.  Closely look at any small areas of rust. Rust can be an indicator of a hairline crack.  Any cracked parts, no matter how small the crack, must be replaced. 

How to Create Offshore and Coastal Navigation Plans for Your Bug-Out Sailboat

How to Create Offshore and Coastal Navigation Plans for Your Bug-Out SailboatWhen planning a bug-out sailboat journey, it is essential that you have a secure and detailed navigation plan. This plan should cover both the offshore and coastal aspects of your journey, taking into account any features, obstacles, and hazards that may arise.

Navigation plans must be created much like you would a roadmap, providing clear instructions on the direction and estimated time of travel. This includes the start, stop, and rest points of the journey, as well as any supplementary navigation aids, such as charts, buoys, and markers that may help you along the way.