The ocean can be the most mentally draining area to have survive. Most people who are stranded in the ocean tend to die of thirst, which is ironic because you are surrounded by water. There are countless stories of people surviving shipwrecks and being left to drift in the ocean for days, weeks, even months and barely surviving.
If you like to sail on the open ocean, take cruises, or even travel internationally over large bodies of water, then the time might come where you are going to have to survive in the ocean. Water can be your best friend and it can also be your worst enemy. When you are a drift in the ocean, you are going to be in one of three situations, a drift with a life vest, a drift with a life raft, or a drift in a boat. All three scenarios have advantages and disadvantages.
The worst scenario to have is floating in the ocean. What caused you to end up in this situation does not matter. What does matter is the fact that you are in a terrible situation. When you are just floating in the water, you have about 5 days maximum before your body begins to break down from the water.
Being in the water for extended periods will cause you to die. After about 5 days your body gets water poisoning. This is where the cells in your body become over saturated with water, which in turn causes your body to swell, and eventually to burst. This is extremely painful and can only be prevented by getting out of the water. So if you are floating in the water, find someway to get out.
The second scenario is that you are in a boat. Most commonly found in large boats, ie. cruise liners, naval vessels, and cargo freighters since the mid 1600s, they have multiple small boats commonly referred to as dingys. They are pretty good for surviving about a week on the ocean. The problem with these dingys, is that they do not have a top cover. In the ocean if the water doesn’t kill you the sun will. The dingy is defiantly better than just floating. If you are in a dingy there are several things you can do to prevent your self from heat exhaustion though. You are more than likely wearing clothing, so you can use your clothing to build a small sun shade with your dingy. It may not be perfect but it will keep you from becoming beef jerky from the sun.
Another advantage of the dingy is that you are no longer shark bait. Floating simply makes you a target for sharks, being in a dingy puts a barrier between you and the sharks.
The final way you can survive, tends to be the best, a survival raft. The difference between a dingy and a survival raft is that a survival raft comes with a roof. A typical survival raft is great because it has the ability to navigate, block the sun, signal for rescue, and collect rain water for drinking. This type of raft is relatively new technology for seafarers.
Each of these scenarios are very plausible and have happened more than once. The one thing that you should remember is that regardless of which scenario you are in, there are three steps to begin survival. First get out of the water, second get out of the sun, and third get some water.
I cannot stress how difficult oceanic survival can be. The best thing to do is get out of the ocean and on to dry land as soon as possible. It is hard to recommend what to do in all ocean survival situations, so I have decided to limit this post on personal craft. A personal sail boat can be stocked and prepared properly. Commercial craft, both aquatic and aerial, cannot be prepared for because of terrorism threats. The local authorities will not allow you to carry emergency equipment so I am only going to post about personal craft that you can personally ensure preparation.
The first thing I would suggest is getting a survival raft. These are a little expensive, but they work. It comes in a small container that has a pressure gauge on them. After a certain depth they deploy. However this feature needs to be understood because if you place your survival raft below your ships rigging or inside a cargo bay of your plane, then if it deploys automatically it will still sink due to poor placement. Be careful where you place your raft. Typically you will want to place it near the stern of a ship, or on the outside of a plane on a drop tube. It is really your choice on where to place it, just make sure you have clearance for the item to raise out of the water.
The basic skills you will need to have is pretty simple, how to stay out of the sun, how to remain dry, and how to get fresh water to drink. It is hard to really give a good description of how to survive on the ocean. Luckily the basics are easy to understand. Look for post later on more specific ways to survive on the open sea.
As Always Folks: Prepare and Survive Todd Out.