This post gives information on how to survive when abandoning ship. It is also applicable to other situations such as if your plane is crashing into the ocean.
The information in this post is from the “The Disaster Survival Handbook” by Sam Fury.
How to Survive When Abandoning Ship
When you suspect you may need to abandon ship, or if your plane is going to crash in the ocean:
- Put on warm clothing. Wool is best.
- Cover as much of your body as you can and put on a life jacket.
- Gather whatever survival provisions you can and get to a lifeboat.
- Do not exceed the maximum passengers in a life vessel. Have the healthy hang off the side and swap often.
If You Have To Jump
- Throw something that floats in first. Jump in close to it.
- Wait until you are off the ship before inflating your life-jacket.
- Once in the sea, get upwind and away from the sinking vessel.
If in the Water without a Floatation Device
- Attract the attention of a life-raft using noise and light.
- Grab whatever you can that you could use to build a raft.
- If there is a chance of underwater explosion swim on your back.
- Keep composed and swim upwind of the sinking vessel.
- Swim under any danger, e.g., fire.
How to Improvise a Flotation Device with a Pair of Trousers
- Knot the bottoms of the legs.
- Hold the trousers behind your head by the waistband.
- Bring them over your head in front of you in a sharp motion to fill them with air.
- Hold the waist below water to trap the air.
- If you need more air, go underwater and breathe into the pants.
If in Cold Water
- Button or zip up your clothes and keep them on.
- Don’t use up energy swimming unless you have a dry place to swim to.
- Get as much of yourself out of the water as possible.
- Hold your knees to your chest to reduce core heat loss.
If There is a Group of You
- Face each other in a tight circle, holding onto each other.
Once Out of the Cold Water
- Remove wet clothing.
- Get dry and warm.
If in a Life-Raft
- Wait until you are clear of the wreck before inflating it unless you can board it and stay dry.
- Inflate the life-raft so it is firm, but not too hard. Compensate for the surrounding temperature (heat makes air expand).
- Do not jump into it.
- Check for leaks and inflation level at least once daily.
- If you see little bubbles it is a sign of leaks. Repair them ASAP.
- Make sure nothing can puncture it and waterproof everything that requires it.
- Secure all passengers and equipment to it.
To Board a Life-Raft from the Water
- Move to one end (not the side).
- Put one leg over the edge and roll inside.
If the Life-Raft has a Line Attached
- Grab the line from the opposite side of where it is attached.
- Brace your feet against the life-raft and pull yourself in.
- Expect the other end of the life-raft to come up.
- You can adjust this technique to right an overturned life-raft.
To Help Someone Else on Board
- Hold them by their shoulders.
- Have them lift one leg over the end of the raft (if possible).
- Roll them in.
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