Boating: Drown-Proof Yourself (Survival Floating)

How to make yourself unsinkable. Drown-proof yourself.

It is possible to make yourself unsinkable. Even if you fall off a moving boat and no one notices, leaving you behind, it’s possible for you to float for hours or days if you know how.

An experienced sailor would be wearing a life jacket, making this discussion moot, but for the sake of example, let’s assume you are stranded all alone, out of sight of land. You are an average swimmer. You are not panicked, but focused on survival.

First, get rid of your shoes and everything in your pockets that doesn’t float. Keep your pants and shirt on as you will need them to make a flotation device later.

Second, if you are the kind of person who floats easily on your back and if wave conditions permit, do so. Some people have a body type that does not easily float. This is not a problem.

Survival Floating:

From a treading water position, take a breath, hold it, place your face in the water and relax. Your back will be on the water's surface with your legs hanging downward. Stop all movement. Relax. Save your energy. When you need a breath, slightly raise your head, breathe, and put your face back down in the water. The key to Survival Floating is relaxing. There is no need for constant treading water. Get into a rhythm. Do not take extra big breaths. Take smaller breaths that are easy and comfortable.

Practice Survival Floating in a pool. Show your children how to do it. Even poor swimmers can learn this technique. It may save their lives someday. Swimmers have been known to use Survival Floating for several hours before being rescued.

Use your pants for flotation:

You can easily make a flotation device out of your pants. This is another skill to teach all children in a pool. And they will think it’s fun.

Remove your pants. Tie a knot at the lower end of each leg and zip up the fly. Grasp the pants on each side of the waistband, raise the pants out of the water over your head. Bring the waistband down on the water capturing air in the pants’ legs. You have just made a life preserver. Just keep your hands on the waistband under the water’s surface so the air doesn’t escape. The pants’ legs will remain inflated for a few minutes. Just repeat the maneuver as often as necessary to remain afloat.

If you are wearing short pants, you can make a flotation device out of a long sleeve shirt. Tie the ends of the cuffs. Button the shirt. Holding the waist of the shirt, capture air and keep the waist and button front under the surface to keep the shirt inflated. You can try it with a short sleeve tee shirt also. Obviously, the less material you have, the smaller the flotation device you will make. But, it’s better that nothing.

Teaching these techniques to youngsters in a pool is a fun bit of learning. And you will be making them unsinkable.

Be careful out there. Have fun.

For more boating articles by this author, see: BUI Rules ,Life Jackets , Coast Guard Facts , Anchoring Like A Pro , Captain’s Responsibilities , Heavy Weather , Surviving Capsizing

© 2010 Consumer Guide by David Sullivan

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