How to Stay Alive If You’re Lost at Sea

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Do You Have What It Takes to Survive Alone at Sea?

Surviving at sea is a constant battle. You have to be prepared to deal with multiple challenges simultaneously. Avoid catastrophe and use these tips as a survival guide.

Avoid Heatstroke and Stay Out of the Sun

One of the deadliest parts of being lost at sea is the unbearable exposure to sunlight. If you’re on a life raft, making some shade for yourself is an absolute must. Take shelter any way that you can during the daytime. All of those unruly hours in the sun will cause your heart rate to go through the roof, and lead to debilitating nausea, headaches, overall confusion, and a depleted mental state. Not to mention the sunburn. If nothing else, take a piece of cloth or any piece of material and cover your bare skin. If you’re starting to feel the pangs of heatstroke, you need to get out of the sun immediately. Fan yourself and put a cool damp cloth on your skin. Don’t forget to drink plenty of fresh water. Too much sun exposure can also lead to dehydration.

Having the Mentality to Survive

Surviving the sea is really about mental stamina. Unlike surviving the woods or being stranded on an island, there’s nowhere to go when you’re at sea and there’s nothing to look at. You have to keep your mind sharp when you’re floating around endlessly on the water. As tempting as it might be to lose all hope, you have to believe that you’re going to get out of this alive. Stay focused on the things that you need to survive such as food and water. Use mental tricks and games to stay coherent. When things take a turn for the worst at sea, your mind can be your greatest asset or your worst enemy.

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Finding Water That You Can Actually Drink

Do not be tempted by the endless gallons of salt water everywhere around you. Drinking salt water will almost certainly lead to your death, dehydrating your entire body in a matter of minutes. In order to survive, you need to find fresh water as soon as possible. Hopefully, you have a bit of drinking water to hold you over as you adjust to the reality of being stranded at sea.

There are two ways to find water. You can use a piece of tarp to collect rainwater and funnel it into a bottle or a container of some kind. But before you roll out your tarp, make sure that you get the salt washed off. Let the rain wash away the salt on the surface of the tarp. Then use the material to collect as much rainwater as you can.

If you’re short of tarp, you can also use your clothes or any kind of fabric. Before you start, wash off any encrusted salt on your clothes by rinsing them in the ocean. There will still be some salt on the surface, but it won’t be as bad as the encrusted chunks left out to dry on your clothes. When the rain comes, use your clothes to gather as much as you can and wring out the water into a bottle or a container.

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Catching Fish for Food

You can survive a whole month at sea without food, so water will always be your first priority. If you have the luxury of searching for food, it’s time to start fishing. Use a small hook, a piece of food if you have any, or something shiny as bait. Fish usually like to congregate around a life raft for one reason or another. If you’re close to the water, dangle the line just a few feet below the water until you feel a bite. If you’re on a real boat, hopefully you have a line that’s long enough to reach the water. Once you catch your first fish, you can use the remains as bait to catch more fish. You’ll get the hang of it soon enough.

Watch Out for Leaks

Another major cause for concern when you’re at sea is the occasional leak. Do your best to avoid large protruding rocks or jagged shells that could ram a hole in your boat or raft. If you catch a leak, find the source of problem as fast as possible. Depending on the size of the hole, you can use a number of different items to seal it shut. Duct tape and plastic wrap might do the trick for small tears. If the side of your hull is damaged, you can use pieces of wood to contain the problem.

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