Survival 4

I posted some basic things about surviving at sea on FB and then realized you are soon going to need those things because some of the same basics apply whether on land or water. In the air, you will need a parachute. So I decided to share them with you.

Sea Survival

When I was 6, one day, I was playing with a car on the floor when my mother handed me an 8 X 10 picture of a beautiful, square rigged sailing ship with all of its white sails framed against the blue sky with light white clouds dotting the sky and the ship pushing through a beautiful blue sea. My first thought was, "Wow, that is beautiful", and I can still see that picture today in my mind.

At that moment I fell in love with sailboats, though I have never had the opportunity to go sailing. I have studied sailboats, the history of sailboats around the world, and still do today. I love them and think they are beautiful and ingenious.

In doing so, I regularly came across stories about people surviving the sinking of their boat and one thing impressed me about everyone of those stories. They all sat on their butts in their life boats waiting for someone to find and save them and I thought, "How stupid." Too many people have died waiting for other people to save them.

Rule 1: In an emergency situation you get off of your butt and save yourself. Don't wait on others to save you. That is stupid.

I remember reading about one group of about 6 or 8 people who aimlessly floated around in a raft for 90 days only about one or two thousand miles off of the coast for North America in the North Pacific Ocean before the winds and currents finally moved them to where a ship could see them and rescue them. They almost died waiting to be saved. It was stupid.

People, at just 5 knots, it would have taken them about 10 to 20 days to reach North America. Think about that.

Then there was a cargo ship that was abandoned about 1,000 miles Northwest of Hawaii by its crew because they thought it was going to sink but it didn't and a salvage crew went out and searched for TWO YEARS before they found and salvaged the ship because the winds and currents kept moving it around.

To save yourself you need to make sure your boat has propulsion and you can control its direction. There are only a few things you need to have a sailboat: a sail, a keel, and a rudder and you have a sailboat you can use to find them instead of waiting for them to find you. It is just that simple.

People, if I were building life rafts for boats, they would all be sailboats so you could save yourself.

BTW, the reason for the keel is to provide lateral resistance in the water so the wind will not just blow your boat aimlessly across the surface. It forces the boat to move "forward" over the water.

So, let's take the example of those people floating around in a life raft a few thousand miles west from Canada and the US for 90 days. If you own the boat that uses that raft, you should already store these things with it but, if you are on some else's boat, you grab them before you get into the raft. It will only take a minute.

You need a short mast to hold up the sail and it can be a boat oar or broom or mop handle and some rope or line to hold it vertical and fasten your sail to it and to also fasten your rudder and keel to the boat. The sail can be a sheet off of your bed. The keel can be flat sided object like a boat oar or cookie sheet you use as a side keel you fasten to the side of your boat like has been used in many sailing industries around the world for thousands of years, and you can use another flat sided object like a boat oar for the rudder at the stern of the boat.

With that, you have a sailboat you can use to go find civilization instead of waiting, hoping, praying someone will accidentally find you before you die.

You take control of your life and save yourself and it doesn't always require great technology, just some smarts.

How do you know which way to sail at sea?

It is incredibly simple depending on where you are.

If you are in the Pacific and sail east, you will hit North, Central, or South American unless you are so stupid you deserve to die.

If you are in the Atlantic and sail west, you will hit North, Central, or South America unless you are really stupid but you can sail east and you will hit Europe or Africa unless you are incredibly stupid.

If you are in the Indian Ocean, you sail west and you will hit Africa or north and you will hit Asia.

It is just that simple.

"But, I don't have a compass!"

You don't need one for survival, just some common sense. If you are sailing east, you sail towards the rising sun, hold you course a few hours through noon, sail away from the setting sun and, if the moon comes up, you sail towards the rising moon, hold you course for a few hours until it begins to descend and sail away from the setting moon. If there is no moon, when the sun is setting, you look to the east for the stars just above the horizon and sail towards those until others stars come up behind them and keep sailing towards rising stars until the sun comes up. If you do that, you will keep going east. You can do the same thing on land.

People, it is that incredibly simple. Just stick with the basics and use common sense.

Titanic is a great example of stupidity. You had hundreds of over educated rich fools standing "nobly on the deck" waiting to drown so the women and kids could have the limited life boats. Why, dey was noble gentlemen who all drowned.

Heck no. The arrogant over educated fools had the resources to save their own butts and too stupid to know it.

In the upper class parts of the ship such as housing and dining, they had wooden doors and tables and wood floats so they had boats. They had fire axes so you could quickly take the hinges off of the doors and grab a sheet for a sail or grab a wooden table and the table cloth for the sail, get a knife from the kitchen to cut a few of the ropes they used to lower the life rafts and then left hanging there for the ropes you need, in the kitchen you also grab some boxes or bags of food and a cookie sheet for the keel and use the fire axe for your rudder.

With a little work, you have a sailboat and, while they were nobly drowning or floating around in their life boats waiting to be saved by other ships, I would have been sailing my butt towards North America because I was taught to take care of myself.

See, they had everything they needed to survive except for attitude and knowledge. The wrong attitude got them killed.

I started studying this stuff when I was 6 and I am 73; do the math. 67 years.

Maybe that will save one of your lives. If so, you are welcome.

For fun, I decided to teach you sea survival based on two thirds of a century studying boats and survival and we will use that stupid movie with Tom Hanks and his talking ball and you don't lay around on the beach talking after all you did was build a lean to and fire. You get off of your butt and get your butt home. I couldn't stand to watch any of that stupid crap.

We will just cover the basics to keep it simple and short but you will still be impressed because I have not seen one person teaching what I am about to teach you.

BTW, this could make a pretty good movie or TV show, much better than that Tom Hanks thing. I could just see a shipwright who is good at woodworking along with an archaeologist for tool making do this. That would be fun and educational to watch.

Let's say you find yourself stranded on a deserted island in the Pacific somewhere around the Marianas. The first thing you do is get rid of the stupid talking ball, get your butt out of the lean to and get busy. What a nut, balls can't understand a thing you say to them.

The first thing you always do in a survival situation is what the military calls "situational awareness", where you take inventory of your resources on the island, which will require you exploring your island looking for potable or drinking water, food, and shelter in that order. You also need to find rocks and wood to make stone and wooden tools. Besides, while looking for all of that, you might find a village.

You have studied archaeology and know how to make stone and wooden tools, right? Probably not, huh? You just might want to learn those skills?

Most of those islands don't have fresh water, which is why they are uninhabited. If they had drinking water, someone would be living there.

So you use your knowledge in geology concerning how and why some islands do have fresh water to make fresh water, which I am sure you all know, right?

OK, most of you don't so I will tell you. What happens is the water soaks through the soil, filtering out bacteria and salt to create an aquifer of fresh water inside the island so you do the same thing.

You go at least 100 feet inland from the high water mark on the beach and dig a well to see if there is a fresh water aquifer but most islands won't have one because the bed rock is too high so you use science to make your own.

What you do is find an incline of at least 100 feet long (not high), dig a small pond on the top digging down to bed rock. Then you dig a trench all the way down to bed rock from your pond to the bottom of the incline, where you will have your well, also dug down to bed rock. You fill in that trench with soil and beach sand to be your filter, fill the pond with sea water, and wait for gravity to do its work and you should have potable water in a day or two, probably within hours.

You can also get some "water" from things like coconuts because coconut milk is mostly water.

For food, you can find fruit and birds in the trees on the island, things like crabs along the shore, and fish and other organisms on the coral reef surrounding your Island.

You may have to use your knowledge in archaeology to make a bow and arrows, fishing net, and other things to get food.

Hey, this sounds like a really fun vacation project, doesn't it? Just go get lost on a deserted island for fun.

For shelter, you have to understand that tropical storms can raise the water several feet and wash away your stupid lean to so you have to do like the people who live in tropical areas and build your shelter off of the ground a few feet. You find 3 or 4 medium size trees close enough together to put poles you cut from other trees a few feet above the ground for your floor base and build on top of that.

You can build a small fire in front of your shelter.

Now that you have water, food, and shelter, you need to start thinking about getting off of the island and the stupid Hanks raft that will aimlessly float around the ocean ain't going to work. You need to get your butt somewhere in a reasonable time.

If you sail due east, you are going to hit land, either North, Central, or South America and, if you miss it, you are dumber than rocks. With a half way descent boat it will take you about 2 to 4 months so you only need to build a boat that will be safe and functional for 6 or 7 months. You don't have to build a 20 year yacht with all of the luxuries. Keep it basic, simple, easy, and safe.

For a basic sailboat, you will need a hull, mast, sail, keel, and rudder. That is it.

DO NOT try splitting logs into planks and building a standard Western wooden sailboat. If you know what you are doing, that will take you years and still may not be able to withstand a good storm, which will turn your butt into fish food.

If you have studied the history of boats and ships, there is a design that should only take you a few months to build, unless you are an idiot, will be sturdy enough to handle storms, fast enough to get your butt there within 4 months, and simple and easy enough that even a reasonably intelligent idiot can do it. It is based on a similar technology to the Polynesian outrigger used to find and settle the Pacific Islands.

First, you have to build a ramp over which your boat can slide or roll down into the water because it ain't going to slide too well on beach sand for some reason.

Then you cut down one long tree and two slightly shorter trees and put those logs pointing towards the water with the longer log in the middle. Then you cut down two even shorter trees you use to hold those first three logs together creating a basic trimaran hull with maximum potential hull integrity that no storm should compromise and it will be pretty fast in the water.

That is pretty simple and easy, huh? And Hanks built a stupid raft?

To fasten the two cross beams to the three hulls, you carve holes in the three hulls that the two cross beams will snugly fit into (the water will cause them to swell and hold even firmer), use wooden pegs and you can boil tree sap for a tar or glue like substance to help hold them in place.

Now you have a strong and fast hull and all you need is a mast, sail, keel, and rudder and you have a fast moving sailboat that should easily get you to the Americas in 4 months or less and it shouldn't have taken you more than a week or two to build that much, especially if you are a good carpenter or shipwright.

You will need to carve a hole in the rear of the main hull big enough to sit and sleep in called a pilot house.

Yeah, Tom Hank's rafty thingy was really stupid. Sheesh.

Then you cut down a tree for the mast that needs to be at least 8 inches across at the base, use your stone tools to carve a vertical hole in the center hull about two thirds of the way from the stern (back) to the bow (front). Use wooden pegs and tar to help hold it in place and you will also need some lines or ropes to secure it.

You can take palm fronds and tear them apart into thin fibers that can be spun into thread or cord that can be twisted into lines or ropes for tying everything together.

You tie two lines from the top of your mast to the front and back of each outside hull and one stronger rope to tie to the top of the mast to the front and back of the main hull. You just secured and strengthened your mast with what are called halyards.

Then you use the extra cords you made from the palm fronds to weave two triangle shaped sails; one big one for your main sail on the back or aft side of the mast and smaller one for the front jib or storm sail and you almost have a sailboat.

You can use a small tree to make a boom for your main sail but a lot of early sailboats didn't use a boom. If you know enough about wood working to secure it to the mast, make a boom.

For a rudder, you can carve something like a funny looking boat oar with an oar lock on the stern to secure it.

For a keel, you have some choices. You can carve a long flat part a few inches high on the bottoms of your hulls for a "full length keel" or put "dagger boards" you will attach to the sides of the outside hulls, after you launch the boat, or a bigger dagger board you can mount on the side of the center hull after the boat is in the water. It can be any structure that is flat on the sides facing the sides of the boat with the narrow ends pointing forward and aft to force the boat to move forward through the water.

Now you have a basic sailboat that should have taken you a few months to build. You want to make the tops of your three hulls flat so you are less likely to slip off and get left behind and run "jack lines" or ropes front to back on all three hulls and across the three hulls at amidships. Then you make a harness you wear with a short line you can easily fasten to the jack lines so that, if you fall overboard, you can pull yourself back onboard.

You can make a bigger deck by closing in the spaces between the two cross beams with wood and/or palm fronds and carve more holes in the three hulls for holding food, water, tools, and extra lines and sails plus you can tie things down to the amidships deck.

To hold your food and water, just cut some tree trunks into two to three foot lengths and hollow them out for easy and secure barrels with some sort of lid on them or, for some things, you could use nets.

You can make fishing lines and nets to drag behind the boat to help you get more food as you travel.

Now, isn't that better than talking to some stupid ball floating around on a stupid raft waiting for someone to save your butt?

If you want to impress me, get off your butt and save your own butt. Don't sit around waiting for someone to save your butt. Be smart.

One thing I forgot to mention is that, with a mono hull sailboat, you need a "ballast" or heavy weight in the bottom of the boat or keel, like lead, to keep the boat from going on its side. With a trimaran, you don't need that so you keep it simple, solid, and safe.

Remember that stupid TV show "Survival" where the people just sat around talking?

If you put me and half a dozen to a dozen construction workers on one of those islands, in 6 to 12 months we would have a tourist resort. Put some rich people on that island and they would all be dead in 6 to 12 months because most of them only know how to hire other people to do the work for them.

In a survival situation, I would much rather be with a blue collar person than a rich person because the rich person is useless and is more likely to do something stupid that will get you killed.

Remember that better than 90% of life is attitude. If you have the wrong attitude, life will suck. If you have the right attitude, life will suck less.

When most people get in an emergency situation, they get afraid, think, "I am going to die" (which means they probably will die), panic and die.

The right attitude is to say a little prayer for God to help you and do a situational awareness to get an accurate awareness of your situation and then ask the most important question in your life, "How do I survive this?" That will cause your mind to become focused on trying to figure out how to survive your situation. You keep trying to answer that question until is answered.

From what I have seen, the attitude of most people who find themselves stranded on a desert island is, "I sure hope someone will find me before I die."

My attitude would be, "Wow, God just gave me a really great adventure! This is going to be exciting!" See the difference attitude makes?

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

You better....

Pray long, pray hard, pray often!!!

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