17 Things to Do If You’re Lost at Sea

After seeing tragic movies like Titanic or real-life documentaries about boating catastrophes, it’s easy to develop a newfound fear of finding yourself lost at sea one day. But fear not—these tragedies are extremely rare, and if you ever do find yourself in this unfortunate position, you can keep yourself safe by doing the following 17 things.

Stay Calm and Assess the Situation

Photo Credit: Esther Pueyo/Shutterstock.

One of the most important things you can do when you first find yourself in this position is to stay as calm as possible and assess your situation. Panicking can lead to impaired judgment and wasted energy. So take deep breaths to manage your fear and prioritize your immediate needs, such as water, food, shelter, and signaling to others for rescue.

Collect and Conserve Fresh Water

Photo Credit: Kristi Blokhin/Shutterstock.

As noted by the National Ocean Service, the high salt content in ocean water will only make you thirstier if you drink it and can eventually lead to death if you drink too much. For this reason, it’s important to make use of any fresh water sources, such as rainwater or water bottles. Prioritize collecting rainwater using a cup or any other vessel at your disposal.

Use Emergency Signaling Equipment

Photo Credit: Red_Baron/Shutterstock.

Before embarking on an ocean journey, it’s a good idea to stock up on emergency signaling equipment such as flares, whistles, and horns. These can be used to signal distress to nearby vessels. Even if you don’t have these resources at your disposal, you can make use of reflective objects such as mirrors to signal to others.

Create a Shelter

Photo Credit: Mica Stock/Shutterstock.

If possible, you should protect yourself from the sun and elements using a makeshift shelter. This can help protect against the risk of sunburn or hypothermia. Use whatever materials you have at your disposal to create shade on a raft or in the water, and stay as dry as possible to maintain your body temperature.

Ration Food Supplies

Photo Credit: Michele Ursi/Shutterstock.

Being lost at sea can be hungry work, so it may be tempting to eat as much as possible right away. However, since you don’t know how long you’ll be lost at sea, it’s important to consume any food supplies sparingly so you can fuel yourself for as long as possible. If necessary, try to catch fish or seabirds with improvised tools for additional food.

Maintain a Healthy Mental Attitude

Photo Credit: mikecphoto/Shutterstock.

Maintaining a healthy mental attitude when you’re alone at sea is easier said than done. However, focusing on your survival goals and tasks can help you keep your mind occupied and increase your chances of making it back home. You can also use positive visualization and goal setting to help you stay focused.

Keep a Log

Photo Credit: attilio pregnolato/Shutterstock.

If you have any paper or similar material at hand, it can be helpful to document your actions, sightings, and other decisions to help you plan and keep track of your resources. This can also be a good mental exercise to enhance your focus.

Monitor Your Location

Photo Credit: ByGurzoglu/Shutterstock.

Compasses and GPS devices can be used to track your movement and position in the ocean. If you don’t have access to these tools, you can use the sun and stars for basic navigation, and make sure to keep landmarks in sight if you’re near land.

Signal for Help at Every Opportunity

Photo Credit: Viacheslav Lopatin/Shutterstock.

If you ever see any passing ships or aircraft nearby, you should perform the SOS signal (three short, three long, three short) using whatever light or sound devices you have. Keep signaling for as long as possible, until the vessel is out of sight.

Conserve Energy

Photo Credit: Charlie Blacker/Shutterstock.

Energy is an extremely valuable resource when you’re lost at sea, so it’s important to minimize unnecessary movements such as swimming as much as possible. Remain seated or still unless absolutely necessary to conserve water and calories. It’s also important to stay as warm as possible, as being cold also causes your body to burn more calories.

Improvise Fishing and Trapping Tools

Photo Credit: Bogdan Denysyuk/Shutterstock.

While you may not be blessed to have a fishing rod or trapping tool at your disposal, you can sometimes use materials to fashion makeshift fishing hooks and lines. Reflective objects such as sunglasses can sometimes also be used to attract fish.

Stay Hydrated

Photo Credit: Antonio Guillem/Shutterstock.

Obviously, one of the most important things to do when you’re lost at sea and have limited water supplies is to stay as hydrated as possible. Avoid drinking any alcohol or caffeine, as this can lead to dehydration. You should also monitor symptoms of dehydration such as headaches, dark urine, and dizziness to ensure you’re drinking water when you need to.

Protect Against the Sun and the Elements

Photo Credit: Chad Zuber/Shutterstock.

If you have any hats or other head coverings available, it’s a good idea to use them to protect against the elements and the risk of sunstroke. Apply sunscreen if you have it and use clothing layers to shield yourself against the elements and maintain your body temperature.

Use Sea Life for Sustenance

Photo Credit: Emiliano Rodriguez/Shutterstock.

Many parts of the fish can be used to increase your calorie and vitamin intake, such as the liver. However, you should be wary of poisonous and hazardous species and eat raw fish sparingly to conserve water.

Practice Sea Survival Techniques

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Sea survival techniques, such as floatation techniques, can be very useful in helping you save energy in the water. So if you want to make sure you’re extra prepared before venturing out on the ocean, learn these techniques and practice getting in and out of a life raft from the water. Life jackets and other improvised floatation devices can also be a huge help.

Regularly Check Survival Equipment

Photo Credit: David Wingate/Shutterstock.

If you have survival equipment such as life rafts and signaling devices, you should check on them regularly to ensure they’re working effectively. It’s also a good idea to familiarize yourself with every piece of equipment before beginning your sea journey.

Avoid Predators

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Stay on the lookout for any signs of sharks or other dangerous predators. According to Shark Angels, it’s actually a myth that human and menstrual blood will attract sharks, so you don’t need to be too worried about this. If you’re with others, you can also stay close together to appear larger and deter predators from attacking. You should also avoid splashing excessively if predators are nearby.

Read More: 20 Things We Did When We Were Young That We Regret Now

Photo Credit: Kues/Shutterstock.

It’s easy to say hindsight is 20/20, but what advice would you really give your younger self? Here are 20 things that most people did when they were young that they regret today.

20 Things We Did When We Were Young That We Regret Now

17 Things That Used to Be Highly Respected But Isn’t Anymore

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Many things in the world used to be well-respected before turning into complete jokes for various reasons. An internet survey recently asked people, “What is something that was once highly respected but is now a complete joke?” Here are the top 20 answers:

17 Things That Used to Be Highly Respected But Isn’t Anymore

17 Fairy Tales That Are Now Considered Racist

Photo Credit: kurhan/Shutterstock.

While fairy tales weave magical narratives that span generations, many emerge from historical and cultural contexts tinged with biases. Hiding in many of these tales, racial undertones can be found. Let’s look at 17 fairy tales that have deeper implications.

17 Fairy Tales That Are Now Considered Racist

17 Things Society Can No Longer Do Because Gen Z Said So

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Gen Z, our digital-native, trendsetting generation, is making waves in the cultural sea, steering the ship of societal norms in fresh and unexpected directions. As they charter new territories, there are certain practices they’d rather we say goodbye to. Curious? Let’s take a look at 17 things the rest of us can no longer do because Gen Z said so.

17 Things Society Can No Longer Do Because Gen Z Said So

18 Common Traits Found in Adults Who Had Unhappy Childhoods

Photo Credit: fizkes/Shutterstock.

Being a parent is a hard job, so even those who are truly trying their best will often miss the mark on creating the best environment for their children. Unfortunately, this means that many of us grow up with far-from-perfect childhoods that affect us into adulthood. Here are 18 common traits found in adults who had unhappy childhoods.

18 Common Traits Found in Adults Who Had Unhappy Childhoods