HISTORY IS REPLETE WITH TALES OF maritime disasters. The possibility of being stranded in a small raft without food and water for days or even months is a very frightening one. Yet for anyone venturing forth on the ocean, the possibility is very real. Even though technological advances have greatly improved man’s oceangoing capabilities, remember the ocean is still an alien environment that has proven its vast superiority over man time after time. Even the soundest ship afloat offers absolutely no guarantee that it will be able to weather an ocean storm.
The sad truth is that too many boat owners traveling the seas are in danger. Each year countless fatalities occur at sea and on inland waterways. Hundreds of emergency situations turn critical because mariners are, in most cases, ill equipped and unprepared. Every mariner clearly has a responsibility to himself and his crew to mentally and physically prepare for the possibility of facing an ocean- survival situation. Acknowledging the importance of this responsibility is quite literally the first step toward surviving such an ordeal. Survival planning, then, is vital.
This guide is not just another personal account of a survivor’s dramatic ordeal at sea. Rather it’s a comprehensive reference manual that thoroughly and completely addresses all aspects of ocean survival, from the planning and provisioning stages right through to the actual skills required to maximize the chances of surviving an emergency situation on the ocean.
Every conscientious mariner and boat owner, from the novice who has just purchased his first boat to the highly experienced seaman, will find this guide to be a necessary planning guide and valuable reference tool for outfitting his boat. The purpose of the guide is twofold: To thoroughly prepare the mariner and aid him in equipping his boat with survival provisions before he leaves the dock, and to provide the mariner with a detailed reference source of basic survival skills vital to an actual ocean survival emergency.
The material is organized and presented in an easy-to-follow format, with useful illustrations, charts, and images. There are ample recommendations for provisioning boats with survival equipment, including pertinent facts needed for purchasing life rafts. Also included are suggested lists for purchasing provisions.
This guide will familiarize the reader with the various types of signaling equipment available, as well as the actual operation and use of them in the field situation. Weather information pertinent to survival usage, such as assessing oncoming weather and identifying cloud types, is included. Basic survival skills, such as navigating the ocean, knowing abandon-ship procedures, signaling, effecting a land fall, living in a life raft, catching and storing fresh water, and distinguishing edible sea life, are all covered in detail. The emphasis of the survival skills is on use in the field situations, outlining steps, procedures and guidelines, rather than lengthy narratives. Finally, the yachtsman will have at hand practical information to aid him in dealing with common medical emergencies and preventing and treating dehydration and hypothermia. The psychological aspects of surviving a traumatic ordeal are also addressed, with techniques outlined for dealing with the depression, shock, and low morale that can seriously threaten the castaway’s chance of survival.
This guide will prove a valuable tool for the conscientious yachtsman — a tool that ultimately could mean the difference between life and death when coping with an unexpected disaster at sea. The necessity for survival planning when dealing with the unpredictable nature of the ocean environment certainly cannot be overemphasized.
Table of Contents:
3. All About Signals: Signals • Visual Signaling Devices • Radio and Telegraph Devices • Using Distress Signals • Signaling Device Limitations • Signal Provisions • Maintenance and Storage • Mayday Procedures • Signaling Skills • Use Your Signals Wisely
4. Weather: Clouds • Rain Clouds • Lightning • Fog • General Circulation of Earth’s Atmosphere
5. Exposure: Hypothermia and Dehydration: About Hypothermia • Hypothermia: Symptoms, Treatment, Prevention Causes • Immersion in Cold Water • Paradoxical Cooling • Dehydration
6. Navigation: Position Plotting Procedure • Determining Your Latitude • Determining Your Longitude From Apparent Noon
7. Operational Survival Skills: Abandoning Ship • Abandon Ship Procedures • Launching the Life Raft • Boarding the Raft • Afloat in the Life Raft • The Life Raft Routine • Employing the Sea Anchor • To Stay Put or Travel • Landfall • Preparing to Land • Water: The Life Source • Survival Water Sources • Water Skills • Collecting Water • Rationing • Dangerous Liquids • Shore Water
8. Edible and Hazardous Marine Life: Test for Edibility • Plankton and Sea weed • Shellfish Poisoning • Fish • Poisonous Fish • Stinging Fish • Moray Eels • Sharks • Other Marine Hazards • Turtles • Birds • Drying Meat • Vitamin Deficiencies
9. Survival in Cold Climates: Heat Regulation • Cold Climate Cruising • De hydration • Exposure • Food • Water Icing at Sea • Survival Tips
10. Survival Medicine: Survival First Aid • Heat Exhaustion • Heat stroke • Immersion Foot/Trench Foot • Frost bite • Gangrene and Amputation • Bleeding • Sprains • Fractures • Splints • Dislocations • Infections • Burns • Wounds • Fish hook Wounds • Shock • Drowning • Sea sickness • Bodily Elimination • Swelling • Blisters and Boils • Cramps • Death
11. Psychology of Survival: The Survival Attitude • Initial Response • Immediate Positive Reaction • Dealing with Isolation • Emotional States • Directed Activity • Priority Survival
Other Resources: Abandon Ship Bag Checklist, U.S. Coast Guard: Boating Safety