Nature survival basics

There are many reasons why you might be faced with the challenge of survival at sea. The ship or plane in which you were can be sunk or wrecked.

How will you use the rescued equipment depends on your personal skill and resourcefulness? Rescue boats, rafts and airplanes have the appropriate equipment used for emergencies at sea. You need to know this, as well as know where it is and how to use it. Check that there are fishing tackle. Fish can be the only source of food and drink. In the rescue boat, familiarize yourself with the rescue equipment, the rules for leaving the boat and behavior on the rescue boat.


Rain, ice and body fluids are the only natural sources of water in the sea. Sea water is not potable. It increases thirst and water loss by taking body fluid from tissues and excreting it through the kidneys and intestines.

1) Rainwater. Use buckets, cups, cans, nautical anchor, boat cover, sails, pieces of clean cloth, and any cloth in the boat to collect it. Prepare water collection facilities before the need arises. If the rain promises to be light, soak a cloth intended for collecting water in the sea. The salt content of the rainwater will be low, and the wetted cloth will prevent the rainwater from being absorbed by the cloth. The body can store water, so drink as much as you can.

2) Ice. Only a year later, sea ice loses its salt and becomes a good source of water. This "old" ice can be distinguished by its rounded corners and bluish tint.

3) Sea water. In cold weather, fresh water can be obtained from seawater. Collect the seawater in a container and let it freeze. Since fresh water freezes faster, salt concentrates in the middle of the frozen water as a mushy mass. Take out this salt and the remaining ice will be fresh enough to maintain your vitality.

4) Chemical kits. Chemical kits can be used in a lifeboat or on a raft. They can be used to remove salt and alkaline substances from seawater. Instructions are included with the kits.


The sea is rich in various animals. The problem is finding the power source. If you have fishing gear, your chances of having food are excellent, but even if you don't have them, the situation is not hopeless.

A fish.

  1. General Provisions. Almost all freshly caught sea fish are tasty and healthy cooked or raw. In warm areas, clean and gut it immediately after harvest. Cut fish that are not going to be eaten right away into thin, narrow strips and hang to dry. Well dried fish is edible for several days. Fish that has not been cleaned and dried can go bad in half a day. Never eat fish that has pale, shiny gills, sunken eyes, dull skin and meat, or a foul odor. Normal fish have opposite qualities. The heart, blood, interintestinal membranes, and liver are edible. The insides can be eaten cooked. Partially digested small fish are also edible and can be found in the stomachs of large fish. Sea turtles are also good food.
  2. 2) Fishing line. Make sturdy line from pieces of tarpaulin or canvas by pulling and tying three or more strands into very short lengths. Also use parachute lines, laces or clothing threads.
  3. 3) Fishing hooks. You can't stay at sea without fishing gear, but even without it, you can think of enough gear to survive. Hooks can be made from things with sharp ends, such as pins, nail files, collar fasteners, or military badges, bird bones, fish spines, and pieces of wood. Make the bait using a coin or clasp hook.
  4. 4) Bait. Use small fish as bait for larger fish.
  5. Use the net from your fishing kit to catch small fish. If you don't have a kit, make a net out of a mosquito net, parachute cloth, or cloth strapped to the parts of the boat. Hold the net under water, then drag it up. Save bird and fish entrails for bait. For the same purpose, use a piece of colored cloth, a shiny coin, or even a shirt button. Try to keep the bait moving in the water and looking alive. Do this at varying depths.
  6. 5) Fishing in the sea.

When fishing at sea, use the following tips:

- do not pick up fish with needles and teeth;

- do not attach the line to something solid: big fish can cut it off. Do not wrap the line around parts of your body;

- if a big fish is hooked, try not to turn the raft or boat over;

- on a rubber raft, be careful not to pierce it with hooks, knives or harpoons;

- try to catch small fish. Avoid fishing if sharks are nearby;

- Look for schools of fish that come to the surface. Get close to them if possible;

- shine a lantern over the water at night, or use a piece of canvas or material to reflect the light of the moon. The light attracts fish that can jump onto the raft;

- the shade attracts various types of small fish. It can be caught with a lowered sail or a piece of tarpaulin;

- the body of any fish caught on the high seas (with the exception of jelly-like fish and the liver of some fish) is edible cooked or raw. Raw fish, unsalted and unpleasant;

- tying a knife to an oar, make a spear or harpoon for catching big fish;

- if fishing tackle is lost, try to throw a piece of fish or bird entrails freely dangling on a leash into the water;

- watch the tackle. Let the line dry and make sure the hooks are not tangled in the line. Clean the hooks.



Raw seaweed is tough, salty and difficult to digest. They absorb water in the body, so only eat them if you have enough drinking water. Algae, however, are essential for survival, as small edible crabs, shrimps, and fish tend to stick to them. Use any object to capture algae. To find edible organisms in them, shake the seaweed over the raft.


1) Eat any caught bird. Sometimes they board a raft or boat. If the birds are shy, use a bait hook on a line or throw the bait hook into the air.

2) Gulls, terns, cormorants and albatrosses can be caught on a hook with bait or by attracting them to a distance of the shot with a bright metal object or shell that is pulled behind the raft. The bird can be caught if it sits at close range. Most birds, however, are shy and land on the raft at an inaccessible distance. In this case, use a tightening knot. Make a loose knot by tying two pieces of fishing line. Place fish giblets or similar bait in the center of the loop. Once the bird is seated, tighten the knot on its legs. Use all parts of the bird, even feathers that can be stuck inside your shirt or boots for warmth.

Signs of the earth.

Cloud readings. Clouds and certain distinct reflections in the sky are the most reliable indicators of the proximity of the earth. Small clouds hang over the atolls and can hang over coral formations and hidden reefs. Stationary clouds or crests of clouds often appear around the tops of hilly islands or coastlines. They are easy to recognize as moving clouds pass them. Lightning and reflections are other airborne indicators. In a certain area, lightning in the early morning indicates a mountain range, especially in the tropics. In polar regions, a well-defined bright spot against a gray sky is a sign of hummocky ice fields or coastal ice in the middle of free water. Signs by sound. Sounds from the ground can come from seabirds, ships or floating craft and other noises of civilization. Other signs of the earth. The increase in the number of birds and insects indicates the proximity of the coast. Algae in shallow water can also indicate an approaching land. The proximity of the earth is also indicated by smells carried by the wind over very long distances. This circumstance is important to bear in mind when swimming in heavy fog or at night. The appearance of a large amount of floating wood debris and vegetation means approaching the shore.

Using a rubber raft.

The chances of surviving for the crew of the downed plane are probably the same as for the crew of the sunken ship. Like ships, planes are equipped with rubber rafts. Know how to use them. Pump up the raft properly. If the main sections that provide buoyancy have not hardened, use a pump or inflate through the nipple with your mouth. Inflate opposite seats, if provided, but only when there are no injured people in the boat and should be in a recumbent position. Do not over-pump. Make the inflatable sections rounded, but not stretched like a drum. On hot days, release some air as the hot air expands. Use a sea anchor or build a floating anchor out of a raft cover or bucket to maintain direction and position, especially if you want to stay close to where your ship or plane crashed. Do not allow the anchor line to rub against the side of the raft. Try to keep the raft as dry as possible. Build a splash guard in stormy weather. To maintain the stability of the raft, move the main weight to the center of the raft. If there are two or more people on the raft, put the heaviest one in the middle. Leaks are most likely at valves, seams and underwater. They can be removed using the plugs supplied with the raft. Never tie the bottom corners of the sail at the same time. A sudden gust of wind will overturn the raft. Think about how you will free one end of the sail, or hold it with your hands if necessary.


There are many ways to send signals to those who have been wrecked at sea: by radio, flares, deploying colored signal flags, mirrors, light signals, whistles. Do not use your signaling devices until you are sure they can be seen or heard. If you do not have signaling equipment, use sticks or oars to hit the water.

WARNING: First, make sure you are trying to get the attention of your friends, not your enemies.

1) Radio. If your lifeboat or raft is equipped with a radio, follow the signaling and radio instructions provided. Before using the walkie-talkie, make sure you are out of the enemy's reach.

2) Signal mirrors. Use the instructions that come with them.

3) Light signals and flares. Instructions for the use of flares, flares, smoke bombs, distress lights (standard kit for lifeboats) can be found in watertight containers containing this equipment. Lanterns are needed to indicate lights at night and can be used to signal signals.

4) Signal flags. The best way to fly a signal flag is to unfold it to two people and, holding one side, move the other, thereby creating a color flash. Signal flags flying on the mast are visible from a great distance.

5) A canopy over the boat. When using a tarp or cover as a canopy, stick the colored side up. Wave them when the rescue plane appears.

6) Whistle. When visibility is poor, use the whistle to attract surface ships or people on the shore, or to locate other rafts when they disperse at night. Avoid detection.

Take the following measures to avoid detection by the enemy:

- swim at night. Use a sea anchor during the day;

- try not to climb on the raft;

- for cover, use camouflage cloth with the blue side up;

- if there is no friendly base nearby, do not use the radio within 250 miles of enemy shores;

- in case of detection and firing by an enemy aircraft, be prepared to climb over the side and dive under the water. For a 20-seat raft, climb over the side and hide under it.

The art of sailing

Everyone on the raft must keep watch except for the wounded or sick. Organize your watch so that one person is watching at all times. Change observer at least 2 hours later. The observer should watch for signs of ground, for the appearance of friendly or enemy personnel, and for the formation of scuffs or leaks on the raft. The wind and current will blow the raft away. Use them if they move the raft in the right direction. To use the wind, inflate the raft fully and sit higher on it. Hoist anchor and set sail. Use the paddle as a rudder. If the wind is blowing in the opposite direction, lower the anchor and duck down on the raft to reduce drag. Do not set sail if there is no land nearby. The current should not be a problem, as it rarely travels more than 6-8 miles a day on the high seas.

Take all precautions against capsizing the raft.

1) During strong waves, keep the anchor lowered into the water and sit lower. Do not stand up or make sudden movements.

2) During a heavy storm, be prepared to lower a new anchor if the old one is lost.

3) If the raft capsizes, throw the middle halyard (on multi-person rafts) over the bottom. Cross over to the other side of the raft. Place one foot on the buoyancy section and pull on the halyard. If the middle halyard is missing, reach the opposite side and grab the far halyard. Slide back into the water, pulling the rope down and above you. Most rafts have handles on the bottom. The 20-seater raft has no handles as the lengths of the sides are the same.

4) To climb on a single raft, climb from the narrow end, trying to keep as horizontal as possible. It is also a good way to climb a multi-seater raft when you are alone.

5) If there are several rafts afloat, they must be tied together. Tie the stern of the first raft to the bow of the next and lower the anchor from the stern of the second raft. Use a rope approximately 25 feet long between the rafts; adjust the length of the rope so that when the raft is on the crest of the wave, the anchor stays at its lowest point.

Physical difficulties

1) A serious physical ailment that can begin on the raft is leg cramps. They are caused by prolonged exposure to cool or cold water and poor circulation.

2) Prolonged exposure to salt water can cause salt water burns and blistering of the skin. Do not pierce or crush them, let them dry.

3) Sunburn and frostbite.

4) Motion sickness. If you are seasick, do not eat or drink. Lie down and change your head position more often.

5) Eye irritation can occur from bright sun or glare from water. To prevent it, wear sunglasses or make a visor out of a piece of cloth or a bandage. If medication is unavailable, soak part of the dressing, cotton wool, or cotton cloth with seawater and apply over your eyes before you apply the dressing.

(based on materials of «Энциклопедии безопасности» Громова В.И. и Васильева Г.А., Москва. 1998)

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