There are preppers that theorize and never implement, a smaller number of preppers that test their theories thoroughly, and a minute band of full-time preppers that live the same way now as they would after a pending disaster. Captain William E. Simpson, skipper of the all-steel, 90-ton, 70-foot Iron Maiden, lives as he preps on a mobile, sea-worthy bunker built to survive a solar storm that would destroy the modern world with an electromagnetic pulse.
Designed as a floating Faraday Cage to protect on-board electronics, the Iron Maiden is designed to be twice as strong as any other wood or fiberglass hull her size, and can still cruise at 12 knots with ten tons of supplies on board. Her hull is bullet-proof to small arms, and even her hatches and windows are as well. Unlike any prepper who has been on the show at any time, the Simpsons have “walked the walk”; they’ve been on real-life voyages up to three years on the Iron Maiden. This isn’t theory for them. It’s history.
By setting out into the ocean, he uses the Pacific itself as a moat against anyone who would attempt to raid his cache of supplies. Short of pirates, Simpson would seem to have little to fear.
The toughest part of the perpetual voyage for Captain Simpson is trying to shape those he would save into a passable crew.
When it comes to training his crew for shipboard tasks, Simpson seems competent, but his idea of defensive arms leaves a lot to be desired. His insistence on avoiding firearms, and instead relying on spearguns, molotov cocktails, and flare guns, means that while the Iron Maiden may be nearly bullet-proof at a distance, the crew is potential prey for any rifle-armed boarding party that would presumably have little trouble clearing the decks before the dubious short-range weapons on the ship came into play.
The experts at Practical Preppers dinged Simpson for his lack of practical defensive weaponry as well, but the fact remains that the Pacific is huge, and it would be difficult to even find the Iron Maiden, much less attempt to assault it on the move. They give Simpson the highest prepper score of the season, and how couldn’t they? He’s out there doing this every day, and his systems have worked for years. Even then, Simpson isn’t impressed with the show’s experts, claiming that they don’t know jack about nautical prepping. I’m inclined to defer to his years of experience.