Tips for Surviving at Sea in a Life Raft

survival at sea

You definitely have an advantage if you’re fortunate to be stranded in the open water with a life raft or emergency supply kit.  However, it’s also important to find ways to make the most of these resources in order to stay as rested, hydrated and healthy as possible until you either get rescued or reach shore.  Here are a few tips that are worth remembering the next time you find yourself in a survival situation on the open water.

Build a Roof

Look around for any material nearby that can be used for an improvised roof or cover.  Fabric from shirts, jackets, tarps or large plastic bags are just a few examples that can be used to shield you from the sun.  They can also help to trap fresh water when it rains.

Divide Rations

Take a look at your food supply and arrange items into small portions.  Remember, that you may get hungry, but you really don’t need to eat a lot of food right away.  In fact, most of us can go days without food before the body starts to feel the effects of hunger.  Consequently, the longer you can stretch resources, the better.

Finding Food

If you don’t have an emergency fishing line and hook, you can improvise one out of some cordage or a shoelace and a piece of metal from a can.  You may also be able to fashion a spear or construct some kind of net that may help you to catch fish that may be swimming near your raft.  If you can’t find any fish, try to look for some seaweed instead.  Always take advantage of catching food whenever possible, even if you have plenty of rations on-hand.  This will help you to stretch your food supply, and you’ll be getting some additional nourishment as well.

Getting Water

Never drink seawater, no matter how tempting it may look, because doing so will cause you to quickly become dehydrated.  Use any material that you can find for collecting or soaking up rain water, and you can also create a small distillation system to turn seawater into fresh drinking water in an emergency.  Take a large container or bowl and partially-fill it with seawater.  Place a smaller container in the center and weight it down with some kind of small object.  Cover the containers with some plastic before placing another object in the center to weigh it down in the center.  The seawater will condense in the sun and produce fresh water.  The droplets will drip down toward the center and into the small container that you can drink from after it fills up.

Don’t Jump into the Water

It may be tempting to jump into the water the moment you see the shoreline or a passing ship.  However, there’s a good chance that you won’t be noticed from the distance, and you probably won’t be able to swim far or fast enough to reach safety anyway.  A better option is to start signaling from inside of your raft.  Use a signal mirror, flares, or some bright clothing attached to a stick or pole in order to attract attention.

Finally, prepare yourself mentally to be at sea for an extended period of time.  It’s important that you remain focused, hopeful and resist the temptation to either give up or panic.  Doing so will help you to concentrate on the task at hand, find solutions to problems and make wise decisions that may end up saving your life.

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