S-Size Up the Situation
Size up three different things:
-Your surroundings: determine the
pattern of the area.
-Your physical condition: take care to
prevent bodily harm. Drink plenty of
water, and in cold or wet climates put on
more clothing to prevent hypothermia.
-Your equipment: check to see what
equipment you have and what condition
it’s in. Keep in mind basic physical
needs- water food and shelter
U-Use All Your Senses,Undue
Haste Makes Waste
Reacting quickly without thinking can be
life-threatening. Don’t move just for the
sake of taking action. Plan your moves
and use all your senses to evaluate a
situation. BE OBSERVANT!! What you don’t
know, can hurt you.
R-Remember Where You Are
A basic principle to follow is, spot your
location on a map and relate it to the
surrounding terrain. Constantly orient
yourself and try to determine how your
location relates to the location of local
water sources.
V-Vanquish Fear
If left uncontrolled fear and panic can
destroy your ability to make an
intelligent decision. They cause you to
react to your feelings and can drain your
energy causing other negative emotions
such as hopelessness, anxiety, and
paranoia.”No passion so effectively robs
the mind of all its powers of acting and
reasoning as fear”-Edmund Burke
Learn how to improvise, take a tool
designed for a specific purpose and see
how many other uses you can make of it.
Learn how to use natural objects around
you. Nothing is useless when survival is
the issue.
V-Value Living
The number one necessity of life is the
Will to Live/ Positive Mental Attitude
(PMA). If all priorities are maintained
but you lack the will to live then all is
lost. The power of the mind must never be
underestimated. Sometimes its seems like
death is the easiest way out during
periods of extreme mental and physical
stress. People have to power to will
themselves to death, as to live.
A-Act Like the Natives
Animal life in the area can give you
clues on how to survive, by watching them
you can find sources of food and water.
Remember that animals cannot serve as an
absolute guide to what you can eat and
drink. Some animals eat plants that are
toxic to humans
L-Live By Your Wits, But for
Now, Learn Basic Skills
Without training basic skills the chances
of living are slim. Practice basic
survival skills. Survival training
reduces fear of the unknown and gives you
self confidence. It teaches you to live
by your wits.
Develop a survival pattern, it must include
food, water, shelter, fire, first aid, and
signals. If you are injured first aid has top
priority, no matter what climate you are in.
 The necessities of life in order are 1)Will
to Live/ Positive Mental Attitude- the rest
wont matter if you don’t want to live
2)Air/Oxygen- you can only survive 3-5
minutes without air 3)Shelter, clothing, and
warmth 4)Rest- both physical and mental rest
are needed 5)Signals 6)Water- you can survive
without water for 3 days at most 7)Food-you
can go without food for 3-4 weeks
Survival at sea is about Staying alive
long enough to reach safety.
To do so, you need to know the main
factors that endanger your survival and
the techniques and equipment needed to
overcome them and most importantly, to
maintain the right attitude and keep the
will to survive.
Preparation for a sea survival situation
has three aspects
 Knowledge
 Equipment
 Attitude
If a sea survivor is thoroughly prepared
for their ordeal, knows what to expect
and how to deal with it, they will not be
Learning gives you the ability to share
knowledge rather than having to start
from scratch every time.
In order to stay alive you must be aware
of the four main enemies to survival.
In order of priority they are
 Drowning
 Exposure
 Thirst
 Hunger
Drowning is the ocean’s number one
killer. Your body cannot function without
oxygen being transported by blood to
vital organs.
Without sufficiently oxygenated blood the
brain will become hypoxic, causing
unconsciousness, brain damage, and then a
coma within minutes
However when we are immersed in water
your lungs help keep you afloat, and if
your head or at least your face is kept
above the water, you can inflate your
lungs and stay afloat.
Above all, it is important that you stay
calm. Panic increases the body’s demand
for oxygen.
Panicking reduces the oxygen intake,
because your breathing quickens but also
becomes shallower.
As you panic you wear out you body and
become exhausted, then you will lose the
energy to stay afloat, and drown
The normal human body has a core
temperature of 98.4°F
 It is important that your body's core
temperature be kept as close to normal as
possible in a survival environment.
 There are two types of exposure
 Cold
 Heat
When a body is immersed in water, it
loses heat up to 25 times faster than it
does in air
The greater the difference between body
temperature and water temperature, the
greater the rate of heat loss
When you get cold your body triggers
defense mechanisms
First your body shivers, a reflex
intended to restore the body to its
normal temperature. By contracting
muscles, large amounts of heat are
If your body’s core temperature drops
below 95°F the body becomes hypothermic.
 Become numb with cold and shiver intensely
 Impaired motor function and coordination
 Slurred and slow speech
 Impaired mental function
 Poor decision making
 Difficulty concentrating
 Vasoconstriction (constricted blood vessels)
▪ Vasoconstriction leads to frostbite
If core temperature continues to drop
survival becomes less likely
At 89.9° F the body’s defense mechanisms
begin to fail
Shivering will be replaced by muscle
rigidity and cramping
The most dangerous thing is when
vasoconstriction fails because this
allows the blood to return to the
extremities, lowering blood pressure and
slowing the pulse and rate of respiration
Blood will lose more heat as it passes
through the cold extremities and then the
cold blood will circulate around the
vital organs impairing them even further
By then you will become confused,
disoriented, apathetic and eventually
Death occurs if the core temperature
drops below 77° F
Apathy is the most important and worrying
sign, it indicates that the will to
survive has been extinguished, without
it, we die.
Exposure to heat is potentially more
dangerous than cold because it involves
Slight rise of core temperature causes
veins near the surface of the skin to
expand, increasing the amount of blood
near the surface of the skin.
If your core temperature rises between
0.5-1°F your sweat glands start secreting
Sweat is made up of salt and water.
 If sweating fails to return the body’s
core temperature to normal, the effects
of the loss of salt and water start to
 After sweating for awhile you will
experience cramping which is a result of
losing salt. You can prevent this by
taking salt tablets with you. Then find a
place of shade to rest.
If the salt isn't replaced you will
experience heat exhaustion, which is a
form of shock.
As water and salt are lost your blood
thickens and blood pressure drops, which
reduces the blood flow to vital organs.
You will become cold and clammy and may
get a headache, feel dizzy, confused, and
drowsy, it will leave you feeling weak
and drained.
Heat stroke will follow if correct action
isn't taken.
 To counter the drop in blood pressure the
blood vessels widen, called vasodilation
(opposite of vasoconstriction), and heart
rate increases.
 As fluid and salt levels decrease the
blood thickens further, this means
sweating has failed.
 Skin will now feel dry and hot as the
heart beats faster to try to raise blood
The lack of oxygen to the brain leads to
unconscious, hypoxic brain damage, and
eventually death
Heat exposure also includes UV radiation,
and if you don’t protect your skin, it
will result in sunburn
Sunburn is usually a first-degree burn
because only affects the skin, but it can
be uncomfortable and extremely painful,
and can sap morale
Another risk of UV rays is sun blindness
UV radiation is reflected by the water
and after as little as six hours can burn
the cornea.
Sun blindness has a gritty feeling as if
you got sand in your eyes, and your
vision may deteriorate
To prevent this, wear sunglasses
Another type of exposure is salt water.
 No matter how hard you try, at sea, you
will have contact with salt water.
 Saltwater sores usually first occur on
feet, knees, elbows and hands, and then
it spreads to the rest of the body.
 Putting on waterproof sunscreen provides
some relief but it will eventually get
rubbed off
 Do NOT try to drain the resulting boils,
they will become open sores and the
If broken skin is exposed to salt water,
it will not heal, it will become
infected, scabrous and filled with pus.
 The scabs should NOT be broken as it
leads to ulceration.
 Antiseptic ointment should be applied and
sea water should be kept away from the
When at sea, sources of fresh water may not
be readily available and your reserve
supplies are unlikely to be enough.
 In stressful situations your body increases
the production of adrenaline, as a result
Pupils dilate to increase visual activity
Sense of hearing sharpens
Heart rate rises
Vasodilation for vital organs
Vasoconstriction for skin
Increased amount of oxygen in blood
Digestion shuts down
Raised metabolism
Water in urine is reabsorbed into body tissue
This response cannot be maintained for
long periods of time.
 To prevent loss of water you should take
seasickness pills as not to lose fluids
through vomiting.
 If you do have to vomit then vomit into a
bag that can be sealed- vomiting
overboard will attract sharks
 You are also likely to become
constipated, possibly for several weeks.
 You should resist the urge to urinate,
but if you have to do it into a
Urinating overboard increases the chances
of falling out and attracts sharks.
 To save water in the long term you must
reduce water loss such as sweating.
Reduce activities to a bare minimum.
 Water will be the single most important
factor in your life at sea
Hunger comes is a very distant second to
 Hunger is painful, but its malnutrition
that kills.
 Once your stores of fat are burned up to
produce energy, your body will start
drawing energy from breaking down
proteins in muscles, leading to muscle
wastage and physical weakness.
 Without insulating fat or the capacity to
generate heat by shivering, the body is
more susceptible to the effects of cold.
Your life raft will attract food so you
will not go hungry at sea.
The majority of the oceans food sources
are rich in protein. If you lack adequate
water, do not eat protein.