I read with interest about news of a scuba diver being stranded in the open sea when the diving operator failed to account for all members of a group. Mishaps like this and accidents such as boat capsizes or plane crashes do happen from time to time. What are the important techniques to acquire to enhance the survivability of individuals who can swim but does not have any flotation device?

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    My survival chances at sea are very slim after 5 days - an allergy to fish means I really want to maximise my chances of rescue in that first couple of days. (Fills jacket with flares)
    – Rory Alsop
    Commented Aug 23, 2012 at 14:39

2 Answers 2


Sunscreen and lip balm, saw a show where the people were burned badly. But that is something that you either have or don't.

Your pants can usually be tied at the legs to create a short term Floatation Device.

The "Deadman's Float" allows you to conserve a lot of energy. Basically you hang like a jellyfish in between breaths.

Deadman's Float

As you breathe, kick and stroke just enough to get your head out of water. Face the direction you want to travel, these small kicks can move you and over a period of time will get you closer to your destination. Be mindful of currents, you can be pulled out into a worse position. Usually you can get out of these by swimming a few hundred feet laterally. Don't fight it by going against it, just keep a steady pace to the side until you are out.


I always learned swimming on your back does not cost much energy.

Your hands which are mostly tired first do nothing while swimming this way and your legs do the work. Also you don't sink when you barely swim this way.

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    It is also spectacularly unpleasant to do in any kind of choppy water, as you constantly get water in your nose and mouth at unexpected moments. Don't over-compare open water swimming, especially in wave conditions, with pool swimming. Commented Jun 2, 2023 at 0:52

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