Living on a coast could provide you with one of the best places to bug out to in the event of a large scale catastrophe where you would need to get out to a safe place. Offshore oil rigs provide you with almost everything you would look for in a safe place. Lets look at some of the “upsides” to finding shelter on one of these man made islands.
You are literally out on a small island surrounded by open ocean so there is no chance of anyone walking up or sneaking up on your camp. There is only one way to get to you and that’s by boat and even then, you will see them, giving you time to prepare assuming its during the daytime.
If you’re there with others, you will need to post around the clock watches. You don’t want boat loads of people showing up un-announced catching you off guard.
You will need to figure out a way to discourage people from trying to board your little haven. Most large rigs come with a boarding platform at the waterline. You will need to figure out a way to keep anyone from just pulling up, tying off their boat and boarding the rig. This will not be a problem for some rigs as the docking station below is connected by a stairwell that you may be able to secure.
If you reached the rig by boat (which is the only way you would have gotten there) then you will know the access point and what you would need to do to secure it from others. Again, safety is the main issue and depending on what brought you there, you may not want anyone else boarding for any reason.
If you find yourself alone on the rig then you will have to figure out a way to keep guard at night where unexpected visitors would be your biggest concern (in regards to safety). You don’t want to end up being kicked off your little island by others with the same idea. Securing the boarding point should be your first concern.
It is also highly unlikely you will find any weapons aboard but if you had time to plan, you would or should have brought your own.
If the rig you have found yourself on was a working oil platform and everyone aboard deserted because of said catastrophe to get to their families, you will find that the living arrangements for the crew are quite decent. There are rooms for sleeping with beds, a dedicated kitchen stocked with enough food to feed a couple hundred workers and depending on when they left and their last delivery was, you may find you’ve either got quite a lot of supplies or not much. Deliveries of supplies are frequent so chances are, you will find substantial supplies.
There are showers, toilets and usually a “community” room with television and other things to keep you occupied.
Some of the largest rigs are up to 40 stories high. Plenty of room for a group of survivors that are working together. Platforms are also built to stand very rough seas and weather. Most can survive hurricanes so that would also be the reason why you will not find many windows on these rigs.
Operations on an oil rig rely on machinery such as generators, pumps, motors and controls that work together to keep the platform running. If you aren’t an engineer or an electrician then you will have a hard time getting these things running.
You will want to do whatever you can to get the rig up and running as you will need power to run your desalinators for fresh water. Without fresh water, your stay on your little island will be short.
You will want to get your generators up and running right after you secure the rig. Then you will need to learn what everything is and how it works.
The average drilling platform utilizes 2 or more diesel turbines to power everything aboard and consumes almost 8000 gallons per day depending on what they are doing. It would be considerably less if you are simply running just the essentials.
Some platforms store up to 80,000 gallons of fuel in their main tank. If you’re very lucky, you’ll find close to that aboard.
Food and Water
We touched on this above. Most rigs house the men working on these platforms and have kitchens. They are supplied often and carry enough to feed the whole crew so you will want to do an inventory on what food is there and available. If you are alone you may have enough for months or weeks. If you are with a group it may be less.
There may be a freshwater tank aboard that is fed by the desalinators. You will need to locate it and when/if you get the generators running, you will need to get the desalinators up and running to replenish the tanks. There is a lot that goes into the desalinization plants on board. Some may require chemicals etc. You would have to figure all this out in order to safely use them but hopefully you would find enough stored to last long enough for you to figure it out.
With the power up and running, you should be self sustained for quite awhile assuming you have fuel, food and water.
There would be ship to shore radios aboard. If you have a cell phone, you may also be able to charge and use it assuming there is still service.
Here is a list of facilities you may find aboard an oil platform:
Heating and Air HVAC
These facilities will help you survive long and short term if you are able to utilize them.
You may also find Aviation fuel storage for Helicopters as well.
All rigs come equipped with lifeboats and they are very important in case you need to flee and your vessel is incapacitated for any reason.
You should also get familiar with the Firewater Pumps. They are saltwater pumps used for fighting fires aboard the platform. That would be a very important thing to get familiar with as a fire aboard a platform would be catastrophic.
Ok, lets say you have a plan to make it out to a platform in the case of some major catastrophe and that day comes. By luck and some good planning, you make it to the marina where you have already outfitted a small craft to take you.
You find that very few boats have left the harbor as people are either caught off guard or are just unable to make it to their boats. Or maybe getting to their boats wasn’t in their plan (most people don’t have a plan in case of an emergency).
So you go to start your engine and find that something has happened. Your motor will not start. You try everything possible and still nothing. You don’t panic because you have a backup plan for this instance. You grab the “essentials” bag you packed on board as well as your weapons. You unload your Kayak from the deck and put it in the water. You stow the pack and your weapons on it and begin to paddle towards the marina outlet.
You know that your target is a platform that sits roughly 5 miles offshore and you are an experienced paddler so the trip isn’t daunting. An inexperienced paddler could make it if they had the will to do so.
You make it to your destination, pull your kayak up onto the boat landing below the platform. You grab your bag and weapons and head up the stairs, taking note of the stairwell leading up and how to possibly disable them to keep others from boarding, or at least make it tougher for them.
You make it to the platform and find that it has already been abandoned by the crew. You stow your gear and work on a way to disable the stairs. You stow your kayak, find the tool facilities and get to work on making your platform safe from other intruders.
After a few days spent getting familiar with the facilities aboard you notice one night that there are lights on at another platform a couple miles from you. Do you try to signal them? Try to make contact? Or stay dark and hope that nobody pays you a visit.
My personal view is, try to make contact with them without giving my location and get what info I can from them. If they are a well organized and stocked group, they could be good allies if you find yourself having to fend off unwelcome visitors. It could be a backup safe haven if for some unforeseen reason you needed to bail from yours.
So, I would try to make contact without giving up any information about my situation or at least lie enough to make them think twice just in case they realized where I was and wanted my resources as well.
Storms and bad weather would be welcome. Bad weather would keep all but the largest vessels away and off the open seas so chances are you will not have to be as vigilant at those times but you will never want to let your guard down 100%.
Seafood would be available. You may find fishing gear aboard and there is an abundance of sea life around these platforms. You should be able to supplement your food with fish.
You will probably find clothing aboard, Including wet weather and scuba gear if you know how to dive.
There are a lot of resources aboard these platforms that would be able to sustain you for weeks, months and maybe years so if you are on the coast and have platforms within sight of you and you don’t have a bug out plan, maybe this is a good one to look into.
But be forewarned, you may find them inhabited by the time you reach them by either some of the crew or me. Either way, unless you are an engineer, electrician or a Dr., Prepper or a knowledgeable Survivalist you may not be welcomed aboard……
Plan, Prepare, Survive