It is unlikely any of us will ever be stranded at sea. If this were to happen, however, would any of us have an idea of how to survive? Self education on surviving at sea could come in very handy. But I hope none of you ever need to use the info.
If you are floating in water, it is best to keep your clothes with you. The water could be very cold and you’ll need those clothes to keep your warmth.
If you are escaping from a sinking ship or plane, there will be a lot of suction when it dips below the water’s surface. It is in your best interest to get away as soon as possible, or you could be sucked down with the sinking vessel. If there is burning oil, it is possible to swim under it. Be sure to push the water around to clear a space before coming up for air. If you have to float in the water for a while, keep your head above water (most body heat is lost through your head).
Those floating in a life raft will need to take precaution as well. One person should be tied to the raft in case it capsizes and wind threatens to whisk it away. Salvage anything useful that is floating near you. Also, ration your water immediately. Without any water, you can perish in 72 hours. Sea water is not safe to drink.
Try to stay in the area of the accident for 72 hours minimum. This will give rescuers chance to find you. Make solid plans before food and water runs out. People don’t always think clearly when they are extremely hungry and thirsty. Each person on the raft should be given specific tasks. Don’t interfere with another’s tasks unless they ask for help.
If rescue seems unlikely, you may need to try finding land. A stationery cumulus cloud (the white, fluffy kind) is usually an indication of land. In afternoons and evenings, birds often head toward land. They usually fly away from land in the morning. If you see a greenish reflection underneath clouds, you may be near a lagoon. Floating vegetation or lumber can be a good sign as well.
Smoke signals may draw attention but they should be used as a last resort. If you burn up your only raft and rescue does not come, you haven’t done yourself a favor.