Survival techniques for when you are shipwrecked at sea

Lim Jay Lin
4 min readMay 21, 2019


  1. Don’t panic and keep mentally strong.

Being mentally strong means to know that there is no shame in letting others help you. Always preparing for the worst is what is best, even though you will have someone watching your back, it does not hurt to prepare yourself by knowing how to swim. In the scenario that you are in fact shipwrecked at sea, you will have a life vest at the ready, but again be prepared. Don’t take things for grated, and that involves being helped by stronger swimmers, who will also be busy helping others find a foothold on the situation.

Once you have fastened your life vest and are safely tucked away on the inflatable life buoys, you should allow the stronger swimmers to help others. Remember charity begins at home, so make sure as to allow yourself to be helped, especially if you are one of the weaker swimmers. This means to say that whether you are helped first or last, be patient, the situation should see itself through to a hopeful resolution.

2. Keep close to your peers and rub your chest, it will help you keep warm.

In cold waters, especially with being shipwrecked in the northern most parts of the Pacific Ocean, the waters will indeed be cold. With torrential rains and the added effect of wind chill, the temperature can drop to as low as 11 Degrees Celsius, with the cold peaking at just below 8 Degrees Celsius. This will pose as a problem. With hyperthermia closest to being its most detrimental, these conditions will prove to be more of a problem than first imagined. Cover your head, rub your chest, keep dry and stay close to your peers, any additional body heat will see you past these trying times.

It is often said, at least in the ages-old colloquialism, you don’t go skiing without your skis, so when travelling, don’t go travelling without your hooded sweat shirt. Again, it will keep you warm in case of an emergency. Hoodies act as a good insulator, so it will keep you warm in cold weather and warm in cold weather. Make sure to cover your head in sleet or heat.

3. Find your bearings — At midday the sun will be directly above you. Find dry land.

Irrespective of where you are in the open seas there will a midday sun. If you are travelling at night and have the ill fortune of not having daylight to shine light on the subject, then be prepared, again, and pack an industrial powered torch light.

Before that, in either scenario, whether you have the luxury of a midday sun or not, you should be able to pinpoint your location, find your bearings and sought out dry land. So, once you are all cushy in your life rafts, fastened snugly in your life jackets and finally have everyone on a life raft, pick up your oars and find dry land.

Once you find dry land, to start with, here are a few survival skills you will need to have at your fingertips. Starting a fire, building a temporary shelter and setting up groups to hunt for food and acquiring drinking water are important notes. Just make yourself useful and try to let those who are more capable do the heavier work.

4. In harsher conditions wrap a wet towel around your head, it will keep you from blistering in the sun.

Temperatures that hover 10 degrees or more above the average high temperature are considered to be hot and in this context taken as extreme heat. So, to elaborate on a different scenario, harsher climates may force you to rethink the situation. To beat the extremities of the harsh climate in open sea, is to first understand how it can harm you. To put mildly and in brief the extreme heat is a product of high pressure weather systems moving into a region in open sea… in this scenario, yours.

A high pressure weather system moves in and if you do not take proper precautions before long your vital systems will shut down, causing you to dehydrate, where all three vital systems shut down. The respiratory system, the central nervous system and the circulatory system.

The only way to survive the initial onslaught of the heat in open water is to keep your energy up and hydrate often. Pack a bananas, apple and/or oranges for energy and make use the mostly readily available source of water… the ocean. The open sea is a resource for water so make use of it. You will need a portable water filter if you are going to stay hydrated.

5. The buddy buddy system works best. With someone always watching your back everyone is accounted for.

Every shipwreck survivor can benefit from understanding the nature of a real life practice like the buddy-buddy system. In sport for example, just as in anything else in life, participation can be learned and applied to aspects of life.

It was once said, “that with no great struggle there can be no great expression,” think about this for a minute. If we are never to disagree there cannot be any real destination, and if there is not real destination, where are we going with anything you practice.

So again, be prepared, and when travelling, especially with friends or family, make sure to have a healthy dosage of disagreement. This will help you better gauge who is the more fit to help and who will need your help the most.