The sea can be a difficult, dangerous and unpredictable place, especially for people who are new to the territory. As a result, it’s a good idea to make sure that you are adequately prepared before you set off, especially if you’re planning to set sail in the depths of winter. While the odds of a boat disaster are small, you can still run into serious problems.
First of all, it’s worth noting that if you’re planning for disaster at sea, you’re already way ahead of the vast majority of the population. Most people don’t have a clue when it comes to the potential risks at sea and assume that their boats will protect them. As the recent around-the-world yacht race proved, however, even professionals can make mistakes and end up putting their lives in grave danger.
It’s also worth noting that a lot of people just assume, especially in the US, that the coast guard will come to the rescue should they get into trouble. But it’s worth remembering that the coast guard won’t fly if the weather is bad, and they won’t put their lives in direct danger to save yours.
Here’s a list of stuff you need to take to ensure survival at sea.
Small Inflatable Life-Preserver
Even modern boats can sink, meaning that it’s imperative to make sure that you have some kind of floatation device to keep your head above the surface of the water. Swim rings aren’t ideal because if you get too cold and fall unconscious in the water, there’s nothing to keep your head tilted upwards and stop you from swallowing water. Therefore, it’s best to have an official life jacket, as this will be most effective at making sure your airways remain free from water.
Temperatures out at sea are usually a lot cooler than on land, especially during the winter. Plus, if your underwater thrusters aren’t working and your engine has failed, your boat can no longer be relied upon as a source of warmth.
Foil blankets are a great way to prevent hypothermia from setting in. They’re small to pack and can be a lifesaver if you’re stuck at sea for many hours (even days) before a rescue mission is mounted.
As the Rime of the Ancient Mariner reminds us, at sea, there is “water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink.” You can’t drink seawater because it is too salty, and if you tried, you would only hasten your death. Taking fresh water, therefore, is essential. Make sure you have a supply of the stuff at all times on your vessel.
Sea sickness might seem funny, but when you’re out at sea with only your wits to preserve you, it’s a heck of a lot more serious. Sea sickness can lead to vomiting and put your life at risk. For that reason, many modern survivalists recommend taking a single tablet of Dramamine to suppress symptoms. It’s a good idea to go for a non-drowsy variety.