The Modern-Day Ark

Our author talks doomsday-prepping in luxury-yacht style.

December 3, 2019
Steve Haefele illustration
“Apparently, folks are investing big bucks to be last in line on Judgment Day. Zombies. Sharknadoes.” Steve Haefele

A news clip about a new high-endc ondo project caught my eye recently. The development is buried in a former missile silo. Apparently, folks are investing big bucks to be last in line on Judgment Day. Zombies. Sharknadoes. They’ll be buried alive in style.

I debated the opportunity with my boatbuilder pal, Ed.

“Remember Bert the Turtle?” I asked, recalling the film that U.S. schoolkids were shown in the 1950s. “While we ducked and covered, smart guys peddled private civil-defense shelters.”


“It’s a luxury ­market these days,” Ed ­observed. “A dumpster buried in the backyard won’t cut it.”

“Exactly,” I replied, wondering if it might be smart to ride out the apocalypse at sea. “Why not a traditional yacht?”

Ed was skeptical. “A trawler?” he asked.


“More traditional,” I suggested.

“Good God, Coyle. Not a damn sailboat!”

“Nope. I’m thinking an ark.”


“Been done. I just saw an ark on the news,” Ed said. “Something about rain damage. I guess they don’t build ’em like they used to.”

I pointed out that the build making headlines was a replica of a somewhat dated design.

“I’m not criticizing the designer or suggesting that a sheep herder was any less capable than a ­boatbuilder, but we’ve learned a lot in 4,000 years,” I said. “Just imagine what we could do with modern composites and gyrostabilized, ­fuel-efficient hull forms.”


“And the ­animals: two of this and two of that. It all adds up,” Ed said.

“Pets would be up to the ­owners, of course,” I said. “These days, they’d likely bring nothing along they couldn’t stuff in a pocketbook: small mammals such as miniature terriers. It’s a new demographic.”

“And if they insist on elephants and giraffes?” Ed asked.

“Onboard ­composting,” I replied. “In one end, out the other. Biofuel.”

“You know, a fella built a large yacht for just that purpose in the 1980s,” Ed said.

I recalled a client of mine who had also built such a boat. She had three diesels and a belly full of fuel.

“Ed, I’m not simply noodling another hardened mega-yacht with panic rooms, security teams and escape pods,” I replied. “I’m proposing a new yachting lifestyle.”

Ed wasn’t convinced. “Prepper yachting?” he quipped, referring to doomsday survivalists.

I suggested that we take a page from the folks pushing the subterranean luxury lifestyle on TV.

“Tell me something,” I said. “What do you call a condo with a swimming pool, a movie theater, a health club and a video game center?”

“It’s buried underground, Coyle,” Ed replied. “It is what it is.”

“No,” I said. “It’s second home for weekend getaways on the prairie somewhere in Kansas.”

“God didn’t tell Noah to build a condo, so perhaps you’re onto something,” Ed admitted.

Exactly. The plumb bow has already made a comeback, and 300 cubits is more than enough real estate for a pool, a rock climbing wall and a helicopter pad. Why wait for the water to come to you?


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