Being stranded in the ocean is quite possibly, one of the most frightening experiences one could ever face. Not only do you have to worry about the possibility of drowning, you never know when or if rescue workers will come to your aid. You might be far away from any form of civilization, which could make the ocean feel even more daunting. The idea of looking in every direction and not being able to see anything but water, is definitely something we all want to avoid. You might even begin worrying about the possibility of being attacked by a shark, which could lead to panic. Whatever the case may be, it's important to remain calm so you can properly think about your scenario and make the best decisions in your situation.
There are a number of reasons why one might find themselves stranded in the ocean. This could be anywhere from a plane crash to a sinking boat. Regardless of the cause, your first step to survival is to minimize the amount of energy you use. You'll need to find any object at all to keep yourself afloat. You have no idea when rescue workers will come to your aid or if they're coming at all. It's important that you remain calm and preserve every ounce of energy you have. Which means trying to swim to shore is a terrible idea, especially if you can't see anything in the near distance.
You might be asking, what happens if they're are no floating objects around and you were swept out at sea with nothing to hold? In this scenario, you'll need to rely on your own skills to keep yourself afloat with minimal amounts of effort.
Self-floating: In calm waters
- Remain calm at all times
- If the water is stable, then try laying on your back, but remember to keep your head above water.
- No matter how long it feels like you've been doing this, do not stop until rescue workers come to your aid or until you have floated close enough to shore to swim too.
Self-floating: In rough waters
- As oppose to floating in calm waters, you'll need to float with your face in the water. This will prevent you from accidentally swallowing any water or accidentally getting water into your lungs. Of course you'll need to lift your head once in a while for air, but remain in this position at all times.
- Preserving your energy is vital. Don't let the thought of not being able to see your surroundings make you panic. This will lead to poor decision making, and will most likely result in unnecessary loss of energy.
- Remember to take in oxygen when your lift your head above water and exhale with your head in the water.
In our previous article about surviving in the woods, you may have learned that the human body can't survive without water for more than a few days. This means despite the previous steps listed above, you'll need to start thinking about finding a source of drinking water. You can follow these steps to help keep yourself hydrated if you find yourself stranded in the ocean:
Consuming water for survival: The body can only survive a mere 3-4 days without water
- Rain water – If it begins to rain, try to use any objects at your disposal to capture as much rain water as possible. You'll need to use these are your reserves in the days it doesn't rain. Make sure whatever objects you use to collect rain doesn't become contaminated by salt water.
- Fish – If your lucky on getting your hands on fish, you can use the liquid in it's eyes, flesh and spine for survival. While we won't agree that this will be enjoyable, it will definitely be essential to your survival in the long run. If you have knife on hand, cut the fish open and break it's vertebra for additional fluids.
- Recycling your own urine – While the US Army Field manual advises against drinking ones own urine, there have been survival stories of people drinking their own urine to stay alive. However, doctors agree that drinking urine could be worse for you because the salt in your urine can lead to dehydration and make you even more thirsty then before.
- Salt water – This is your last resort option, as drinking salt water could lead to kidney failure.
The human body can't last more then a few days without water, but eventually you'll need to find a source of food if your stranded out in the ocean long enough. Here are a few options:
- Fish – If you can capture fish, you can use them to both hydrate yourself and nourish yourself.
- Seaweed – If you come across any seaweed, look through it as you may find crab, shrimp or fish for you to consume.
- Cannibalism – This is by far the worst choice on this list, but it is an option. Many would rather die than resort to this, and we don't blame them. This goes against the very nature of what it means to be human, but if you were in a plane crash, consuming the dead bodies around you may help you survive. NEVER try killing someone else for food, work together in capturing fish, crabs and shrimp. Your chances of survival increase with a group of people, as you can begin working together to preserve your energy for the long run.
Now that you know the essentials to surviving out in the ocean, you now need to focus on getting rescued. If you were involved in a plane crash, it's in your best interest to stay as close to the plane crash as possible. Rescue workers will try searching this area first for any survivors and straying too far away from the crash could decrease your chances of being rescued. If you have a flare gun, preserve this only for when you see or hear a plane nearby. Flare guns are used as a means of alerting a plane that someone needs their help. If you don't have a flare gun, try finding any reflective material to signal any planes that come within your area. If there are multiple floating objects, try bringing them all together, as this would make them easier to see from a pilots perspective.