Can you drown a zombie?

I’ve been watching AMC’s Walking Dead and formulating my zombie survival plan, so unless the zombie apocalypse happens in the next day or two, I don’t need an answer fast.

My plan is based on stealing boats and seeking safety on the water, so it’s important to know if zombies can swim (doubtful) or even survive the water.

Zombies can only be killed by “killing the brain” and blunt force trauma is the only method I’m familiar with. Zombies do breathe and they are basically humans that got a disease that turned them into mental vegetables, so brain death should occur if one inhaled water. But they can also drag themselves around for days with 2/3 of their body missing and a cut off zombie head is still alive until you shoot it, so this indicates that loss of blood and oxygen doesn’t really affect the zombie brain.

FWIW, Here’s my plan, assuming zombies die in the water…

I would find a Marina on a map, load everyone up and drive up to the largest, closest and easiest to load boat in the Marina then put out a couple of guards while everyone loads all their belongings and supplies onto it. The boat doesn’t matter since it will only be used temporarily to get the women and children out of reach of the zombies.

A couple other guys go steal another boat that runs and has fuel and as soon as the first boat is loaded, everyone gets on and the “runner” boat tows it to the middle of the lake and anchors it.

Now that everyone is safe, use the small boat to go back and get other boats to build a floating city. This would be safe as you could drive the boat up to the other and attach a rope, then get off long enough to cut the ropes that tie it to the dock. 15 seconds exposure max, and it’s on a dock where you can see if there are any zombies around and have a clear field of fire, etc.

Once you have a floating city, everyone should be completely safe. You can even pick the place to go ashore for supplies when needed. Another benefit is that it may weed down the zombie population. If a zombie saw you in a boat, they would want to come eat you and would probably walk out into the water to… their death?

Zombies breathe in that they draw air into the lungs, producing their signature moan, but they don’t need to breathe to survive. A zombie in the water is going to wander along the bottom until it reaches a shore or deteriorates. If a zombie sees you on your floating city it’s going to stupidly tumble into the water and likely never see you again. But hopefully your floating city will be far enough away from the shore that even this shouldn’t happen. You don’t want to be within sight of shore unless you’re willing to increase the chances of other survivors spotting you and either a.) attempting to raid you or b.) begging to be let aboard.

The problem has to do with the feasibility of a “floating city”. Aircraft carriers and oil rigs would make good fortified cities but I can’t speak to how often they have to be maintained and what sort of equipment and expertise is required to maintain them.

Besides problems maintaining the city your three problems are going to be:
1.) Going ashore for supplies. Eventually there just isn’t going to be any supplies left to go back for. Depending on the size of your group finding enough food may be problematic.
2.) Pirates.
3.) If you’re going with the oil rig or aircraft carrier route you might have trouble finding one that isn’t already populated by a crew reluctant to take aboard the many survivors who’ll be wanting sanctuary.

They walked along the ocean’s floor with no harm in Pirates of the Caribbean.

Not World War Z zoombies. They survived underwater much more readily that on land and could surface anywhere.

And then there is the whole hilarious walking underwater scene in one of the sequels to Weekend at Bernies… I laughed, and I laughed…

Many stories have zombies that walk under water. I can’t tell you what rules the Walking Dead zombies are using.

Crap, I haven’t seen many zombie movies and didn’t know there were so many varieties. I hope my zombie apocalypse consists of the kinder gentler and easier to kill zombies.

Hmm, this is bad news/good news. Bad news that water doesn’t mean zombie death, but good news that they don’t float. So the only real threat is if the rare zombie latches onto something that floats and the current brings them directly to the boats. This could be easily defended against by taking all ladders out of the water and barricading up all the low parts of the boat. A vertical piece of plywood would make it unlikely that a zombie could find a hand hold to pull themselves over, they aren’t very coordinated anyway.

Hmm again on the other parts. Where I live, there are only lakes, and none are large enough to lose sight of shore. But there are islands which can be used to plant crops and hunt wildlife. Sure, nothing can sustain us forever, but we’d have access to a whole lake and all the land surrounding it, it should last a while.

I hadn’t thought of raiders, I just assumed we were the only survivors. I’m still going to tell the women we are the only people left alive and must procreate.

Why ‘build’ a floating city of boats? just cut loose the marina itself and build onto it - in any decent sized marina - you’re going to have mulitple houseboats, and enough other boats to use for manuevering.

Zombie vs. shark (from Lucio Fulci’s Zobmi 2)

Nazi Zombies love water!

Yeah, the zombies in Romero’s Land of the Dead walked across the bottom of a body of water to attack the last bastion of survivors. Though those were the evolving, “smarter” zombies, so it may take some time before they reach that level of ingenuity.

As a matter of fact, the only zombies that I’m aware of being able to drown are the ones from the Federal Vampire and Zombie Agency. They’re explicitly described as being different from “typical” zombies: “Zombies are very much alive. Cellular respiration continues, they move, their pupils react to light. While undead is a useful phrase, it is not an accurate one. I repeat: zombies are alive, and if you don’t know it now, you will when one locks down on your arm.”

Curiously, the vampires in Kim Newman’s Anno Dracula series are said to be capable of drowning, too, as well as having the traditional vampire weaknesses. They’re the only other version of undead I can think of that can.

The Kirkland ghouls are dead - they are reasonably consistent with the early Romero ghouls. They do not breathe for respiration sake.

I think this somehow relates to the true life depressed Respiratory and apparent lifelessness of genuine Caribbean zombies mostly due to puffer fish poison and other psychoactive compounds. Many were simply in paraylysis and a “dormant” state, and mistaken for dead.

If you were to put them to sea or bury them, they would surely die… God forbid, burn them.

Well, there’s two types of zombies (OK lots of types but two basic ones) - mystical zombies who rise from the dead all at once, including bodies buried or dead before the incident; and medical zombies, typically caused by a disease, and which only affects by transmission of bite. Mystical zombies are all bets off - it’s magic, so whether or not they can drown depends on the particular author. Medical zombies are another matter - you might be able to extrapolate based on the particular rules for that zombie.

But your idea to find sanctuary on water is a sound one. I doubt most zombies have enough fat and lung capacity to float or brain capacity to swim. IO9 has apparently been stealing ideas from SDMB for articles: A fanciful zombie safe house on the mississippi river

Salt is a weapon against some supernatural zombies (and other supernatural critters), and IIRC some supernatural zombies are held back or destroyed by salt water. Granted, “dissolved” isn’t “drowned” but for protective purposes either works.

Your plan is doomed because you don’t have any screening process. Inevitably, someone will have a small bite and a tiny zombie infection that will not fully develop until you are all stuck on a boat far from land, at which point all the things that made you more safe now act as a trap, exacerbating the danger.

You could TRY to strip search everyone each night, but inevitably people would conspire to protect the innocent victim until it was too late.

No, the threat comes from a zombie walking on the ocean floor and coming into contact with one of the anchors of your floating city (dont tell me you leave your city drifting) and using its rope to clim aboard (he would, as zombies have always displayed a very focus and persistent attitude when they can detect a good food source). And now, you’re fucked.

Especially so, since their captain apparently haunts message boards to learn all your secrets!

This very much depends which zombie version you’re going by. I, of course, refer to the Zombie Survival Guide. As far as I know zombies would be incapable of the hand-eye coordination required to climb up a chain.