After a rerun last week, we had a new episode last night of Doomsday Preppers, A Fortress at Sea, on the National Geographic channel. Two prepper families were shown. One in Washington State near Mt. St. Helen which plans to escape a volcanic eruption with a mobile caravan which includes an armored ′Battle Bus.′ The other family was from Oregon and they plan to survive a geomagnetic storm caused by a solar flare on the high seas. Their custom-built, steel-hulled boat, the Iron Maiden, is 90 tons of floating fortress. Let us see how these two groups of preppers score?

doomsday preppers a fortress at sea
The Iron Maiden is a 90-ton floating fortress, ready to survive doomsday. Image Credit: National Geographic.

Kevin and his wife Annissa live in the shadow of Mt. St. Helen in eastern Washington state. Annissa′s family suffered during the ordeal of the volcanic eruption which took place some 25 years ago, so she is committed to protecting her family from another natural disaster. With four dormant volcanoes surrounding them, they have multiple escape routes planned and maintain a constant vigil, including daily checks of their own weather station for wind speeds and directions.

With four adult children, spouses and grandchildren, not to mention a bunch of livestock, Kevin and Annissa intend to bug out with a rolling caravan. They started with a large RV and have expanded the fleet to include several pick-up trucks, a flat-bed truck and now an armored charter bus known as the Battle Bus. All of their extensive planning is put to the test during a bug-out drill. They try to load all their essentials in one hour, but things rarely go according to any plan.

First, they have issues with their livestock trailer matching the tow hitch on one truck. Annissa and her daughter improvise loading pigs, chickens rabbits and a goat into the luggage compartment of the Battle Bus. Meanwhile, Kevin, one son and a son-in-law struggle to get a special Micro-House built for Annissa unto the flat-bed truck. Harnesses snap and break as the 3,500 pound, not-so-portable shelter gets stuck in the mud. After two hours, the family is ready to roll, but the drill has proven to be a failure. The experts score them with a 67, giving them 11 months of post-volcano survival.

Captain Bill refuses to hide underground on Doomsday! Instead, the Oregon skipper has built for himself a Fortress at Sea, the Iron Maiden. Fearing a geomagnetic storm caused by a massive coronal ejection of a solar flare, the 90-ton, steel-hulled sailboat is one big Faraday Cage. So any electromagnetic pulse will be unable to fry the boat′s electrical system. The hull is twice as thick as required and along with bullet-proof glass gives the Iron Maiden more than enough protection against most small arms fire.

Capable of carrying ten people and 10 tons of supplies, the Iron Maiden has already been tested as Capt. Bill took his wife on a 4-year long cruise. They had no trouble catching fish everyday and the boat has its own desalination system giving them an endless supply of freshwater. Seaweed, rich in Vitamin C, is consumed after preparation into a tasty snack that prevents scurvy. Now, Capt. Bill takes a friend and some of his family on a weekend drill cruise to orient them on serving as the boat′s crew.

Everyone must learn all of the boat′s systems and how to perform the various duties needed. This includes learning how to repel boarders with spearguns and a flare pistol. Capt. Bill also teaches his crew some basic surgery, too, using a piece of chicken to suture. He also arranges for a pirate attack drill, where Capt. Bill orders the Iron Maiden to ramming speed and crushes a smaller boat with its bow. The result is complete destruction of the ′enemy′ boat without even a scratch on the paint job! The experts score Capt. Bill with a hardy 83, giving him 18 months of survival. But Bill thinks they are all wet as he has already shown he can sail about for 4 years without any trouble.

So ends another fun episode of Doomsday Preppers on NatGeo TV. A Fortress at Sea is just what the sailboat, the Iron Maiden is! Captain Bill is more than ready for any disaster. Unfortunately, the other group led by Kevin and Annissa still have some details to work out in their survival plans. Should another volcano erupt in Washington State like Mt. St. Helen did 25 years ago, their caravan led by the Battle Bus may have a rough time seeking safer ground.