Narasi.net – Surviving on the sea is not easy. Whether you’re stranded at sea by a plane crash, a boat sinks, or being swept out to sea by a current, it can definitely be the most terrifying experience. By following the survival tips below, you’ll learn some strategies to keep yourself alive until rescue teams arrive.
How to survive in the sea
1. “STOP” and think
Use the Scout mnemonic from the word “STOP”, which is an abbreviation in English, namely, Stop (stop), Think (think), Observe (observe), and Plan (plan). If you have just discovered that you are stranded at sea and you are not sure if the rescuers will arrive. So here are the tips you need to do:
- Stay afloat
- Find shelter during the day
- Wait to see if help comes
- Go in one direction at night until you reach a settlement
- Find food sources
Your first priority when isolated on the high seas is to stay afloat. This means that you have to find a floating object that can support you swimming. You’ll probably have a boat or raft to stay alive, but anything is better to keep your body afloat on the sea.
If there’s nothing floating to hold on to and you’re stranded in the ocean completely on your own, use the following techniques to keep yourself from paddling fatigue:
Floating on your back when the water is calm
- Step 1: If the water is calm, lie on your back.
- Step 2: Let your body float and keep your head above the waterline.
- Step 3: Continue to lie down like this until the rescue team comes to your aid.
Floating with chest if the water is in bad condition
- Step 1: If the water is bad, lie face down in the water to allow your body to float.
- Step 2: Continue to float in this manner until you need air.
- Step 3: Lift your head out of the water just to inhale, then bring your head back down again, and exhale underwater.
The rest of the steps in this guide assume that you are on a raft or other similar floating structure, which will allow you to stay above water and move around with relative ease.
3. Looking for water to drink
The body cannot survive for more than 3-4 days without water, so your first priority is to find drinking water to stay hydrated. The following are sources of drinking water that may and should not be drunk during an emergency:
Recycled water (urine) – avoid
There is a story of a victim who used urine as a last resort to replenish body fluids. In fact, many rescue instructors advise against drinking urine to hydrate the body. The salt in the urine will make dehydration worse and will make you much thirstier.
Rain water – safe
If it rains, use any material to collect as much rainwater as possible and collect it in a container. Before putting the water from the raft into the bottles, make sure it is not mixed with sea salt water that might also enter the raft.
Fish liquid – safe
Not only do fish provide a food source, but they also contain fluids in their flesh, eyes, and spine. To extract the liquid, cut the fish open, break the spine, then suck the liquid inside.
Seawater – avoid
Sea salt water is the most forbidden water source, because it can cause you kidney failure. Although many forbid to drink sea water, but many people also agree to consume sea water based on experiments by Dr. Alain Bombard in 1952.
In 1952, Dr. Bombard purposely swam across the Atlantic for 65 days and had to survive on raw fish, plankton, and saltwater. Since he was doing it alone, it is unknown how much saltwater, rainwater, and fish juice he consumed.
The experiment he shows is that we might survive a few days on the high seas with nothing but a raft and your survival skills.
4. Finding food
Since the digestive system craves water, it may be best not to eat unless you have an adequate supply of drinking water. Sources of food available on the sea are fish, plankton, and for the last option is cannibalism (eating limbs).
In order to catch fish, you need some fishing rods. You can use straps that are attached to your body, such as shoelaces. If you have a knife, an aluminum can be used to make a shiny hook that will attract fish.
Pull out any seaweed you find and use it to find edible fish, crab, or shrimp.
Some people would rather die than do it this way. However, if a previous survivor had died of starvation or dehydration, then their meat could be used as a food source. Remember, this is something that should only be done to survive and cannibalism is not a pleasant option.
5. Move or rest
On the open sea, there aren’t many options to control where you’re going. Your best chance of survival hinges on the current carrying you ashore. Don’t waste your energy fighting the ocean currents. You can do that if you see land, and you have to paddle hard to get to land.
If you see a ship from a distance, you are more likely to make a signal, than you are rowing after the ship.
6. Dealing with predators
The most common predatory threat on the high seas is sharks, so you need to avoid them as much as you can. Don’t drop anything into the water, so it won’t attract the shark’s attention.
If you are in close proximity to a shark then it is best to get out of the water, swimming away in a gentle manner, so that it won’t attract the shark’s attention.
When the shark wants to pounce on you, push your gun, camera, knife or other weapon to prevent it. If you can, hit the shark’s super sensitive nose. You can also pierce the eyes or gills.
7. Prepare to be saved
Your best chance of being rescued is to stay near a location where rescue teams are likely to be looking for you. If you are stranded at sea because an airplane crashed, try to stay near the crash site.
The ideal signal to notify rescue aircraft is with a flare gun. If you don’t have a flare gun, then use a mirror or other reflective object to signal every plane in sight.
If you have more than one raft, join the rafts together to help increase your visibility from the sky.