US Army Survival Handbook - Polar Existence (2) Survival at Sea (1)

Chapter 16 Existence at Sea

About 75% of the earth's surface is covered by water, and about 70% of it is ocean. So, as a soldier, you can assume that one day you will pass through the waters. And there is always the possibility that the plane or ship you are flying in has crashed and everyone is required to board the liferaft or lifeboat.


To survive in the distant sea, you need to face the waves and sea breeze, and you may also experience extreme heat or cold. In order to prevent these environmental hazards from causing serious consequences, you must take precautions as soon as possible to use the available resources to protect yourself from the weather, heat, cold or humidity.

However, protecting yourself from the weather is just one of the basic needs. You must also be able to get water and food. Satisfying these three basic needs will help you to prevent physical and psychological problems. However, you must also know how to deal with possible health problems.

Survival at sea depends on -

● Your ability to understand and use your survival equipment.

● The special techniques and capabilities of the equipment you use to deal with the hazards you encounter.

● Your will to survive.

After you board a ship or plane, you should find out what survival gear is there, where it is, and its components. For example, how many lifesaving appliances, lifeboats or liferafts are there? Where are they located? Which survival equipment do they include? How much water, food and medicine are they loaded?

If you still need to be responsible for other players, you must know where they are and make sure they know where you are.

Fall into the sea

If the plane you are flying into falls into the sea, once you leave the plane, follow these steps.

Whether you are in the water or on the life raft –

● Get out of the plane as soon as possible, to its upper hand position, but stay in nearby waters until the plane sinks.

● Leave the surface covered with fuel to prevent the fuel from catching fire.

● Try to find other survivors.

If you are in the water, go to the life raft. If you do not have a life raft, you should try to find a piece of floating airplane, cling to it and relax yourself. People who know how to relax themselves are virtually free of the danger of seawater. The natural buoyancy of the human body can cause at least the top of the head to float on the water, but it also requires some action to make the face surface.

The energy consumed by floating on the surface of the water is the least. Lay down on the water and put your arms on both sides of your body. Plap your hands with your palm. Your head will be partially submerged in water, but the face will be above the water.

Another way to stay afloat is to face down, stretch your arms, and point your legs toward the bottom. When you breathe, press your hands down on the water, lift your head out of the water, take a breath, and then lower your head, so that your arms return to their extended position.

In the case of survival, the following swimming postures are recommended:

● Dogs climb. If you wear clothes or a life vest, this posture is the best, although slow, but not much effort.

● Breaststroke. This posture should be used when swimming underwater, or when you need to go through oil layers or debris on the water, or when the waves are large. For long-distance swimming, breaststroke may be the best posture because it allows the swimmer to maintain his strength and maintain a reasonable speed.

● Side-stroke. This is a good relaxation stroke because only one arm is needed to maintain power and buoyancy.

● Backstroke. This is an excellent relaxed swimming stroke. The muscles that need to be used in other strokes can be relaxed with this stroke. If there is a possibility of underwater explosion, then this kind of stroke must be adopted.

When you are in the water of the surface oil layer burning -

● Throw away shoes and a buoyant life vest.

Note: If you have a non-pressurized carbon life vest, keep it.

● Cover your nose, mouth and eyes and immediately dive into the water.

● How far you can swim underwater before breathing on the surface.

● When breathing on the surface, let the upper part of the body surface to the surface. When you go up, the hand must be swung wide enough to splash and disperse the flame. When you inhale, try to follow the direction of the wind.

● After breathing, first dip your feet into the water, then continue with the above steps until you are away from the flame.

If the water surface is contaminated with oil, but there is no fire, raise your head and prevent oil from getting into your eyes. Attach the lifesaving appliance to your wrist and use it as it is.

If the leg or abdomen cramps, it should stretch and massage the muscles of cramps until no more cramps. But if the cramps are serious, you may not be able to stretch your muscles.

If you are in a life raft -

● Check the physiology of all people and implement first aid if necessary. If so, take seasickness medicine. Vomiting, whether due to seasickness or other reasons, increases the likelihood of dehydration.

● Try to salvage all floating equipment: supplies, lunch boxes, kettles and other containers, clothes, seat cushions, parachutes, and anything else that can help you. Secure the salvaged items on the life raft and make sure that there are no sharp corners in these items so as not to pierce the life raft.

● If there are other liferafts, the liferafts should be tied together, but the two liferafts are separated by 25 feet (7.6 meters). If you see the plane or hear the sound of the aircraft, you should pull the liferaft together. For life-saving personnel on board, finding a liferaft that is close together is much easier than finding a dispersed liferaft.

● Find the emergency radio transceiver and put it into operation with instructions. The emergency radio transceiver can only be used when a friendly aircraft may be present in the area.

● Prepare other signal devices so that they can be launched at any time. If you are in an enemy area, avoid using signal devices that will disturb the enemy.

● Check the life raft's inflation to see if there is any air leakage or it may be worn out. Make sure that the main buoyancy chamber is full of gas (very round but not as tight as a drum). Check the inflatable liferaft regularly. The hot air will swell. Therefore, some air should be released in hot weather. If the weather is very cold, a little air should be added.

● Put down the sea anchor or drag something on the life raft, such as a bucket or a roll of cloth. The sea anchor can help you stay near the escape point, making it easier for search and rescue personnel to find you. Use a cloth to wrap the anchor rope so as not to damage the liferaft. Sea anchors can also help keep liferaft heads towards sea breeze and waves.

● In stormy weather, canopies and windshields should be installed immediately. In 20 life rafts, the canopy should be kept upright and the life raft should be kept as dry as possible. All people must sit and the heaviest people sit in the middle.

If it is in cold weather -

● Put on your winter clothes. If you do not have winter clothes, try to wear as much clothes as possible. Keep your clothes loose and comfortable.

● Be careful not to let your shoes or other sharp objects cut through the liferaft. Place the repair kit at your fingertips.

● Install windshield and canopy.

● Keep dry inside the liferaft. Use a canvas or a clothing pad to isolate the temperature below.

● Hold together with other people to maintain body temperature and exercise properly to maintain blood circulation. Put excess tarpaulin, sail, or parachute on the player.

● If you do, give the best to those who are uncomfortable because of the cold.

If it is in hot weather -

● Install sun visors or canopies. Leave enough space for ventilation.

● Cover all covered skin to prevent sunburn. If so, apply sunscreen on all exposed skin. The skin under the eyelids, behind the ears, and under the jaw is easily sunburned.

You must calmly consider all aspects of your situation and decide what measures you and your partner should take to survive.

Inventory all equipment, food and water, and check for waterproof items that may be damaged by seawater, including compasses, watches, sextants, matches, and lighters.

Dosing food and water.

Assign tasks to everyone, such as collectors of water, collectors of food, watchmen, radio operators, signal officers, and people who collect water. Remember – and remind others – Collaboration is one of the keys to survival.

Record the logbook. Record the final position of the navigation system, the time of abandonment, the name and physical condition of the person, the distribution list, the wind, the weather, the direction of the waves, the sunrise and sunset times, and other navigational data.

If you fall into the seas of unfriendly areas, special measures must be taken to prevent them from being detected by the enemy. Generally speaking, it is better not to act during the day. You should lay down the sea anchors and wait for the night to come and paddle or raise your sails. Try to keep the body flat and try to wear the blue side of the camouflage suit. Be sure to make sure the boat is friendly or neutral before attempting to draw attention to it. If it is discovered by the enemy, it should immediately destroy the log book, radio, navigation equipment, maps, signal devices, and guns. If the enemy starts shooting with a gun, he should immediately jump off the life raft and dive into the water.

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