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Old 26 May 2017, 04:55   #1
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Don't swim, just float

Anyone who has done a sea survival course will know about cold shock, but have you thought about what you'd actually do if you went overboard?

Floating is better than swimming for increasing sea survival, says RNLI - BBC News
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Old 26 May 2017, 05:48   #2
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I had always thought that to float on your back with your feet facing the waves was the best way to survive. Relaxing is important and keeping your head right back with your stomach pushing upwards.

Some recommend keeping the back your head towards the waves, I believe.
(just waiting for different points of view)
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Old 26 May 2017, 16:16   #3
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I seem to recall once being told that adopting a feotal position was best as it minimised the loss of heat from the body.

It probably depends on sea state, temperature, what you are wearing and whether luck is with you that day.
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Old 26 May 2017, 17:37   #4
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Keep your feet crossed at the ankles and keep your arms tucked into your sides,
and let your lifejacket do the work.
You are wearing your lifejacket ?...yes of course you are.
If you try to swim you will lose heat and you will end up loosening
the straps on your lifejacket. You will float lower in the water.
The spray hood on the lifejacket will come into its own about now.
You were wearing a lifejacket when you went overboard right?

Sea survival courses are great, I recommend you do one.
The swimming pool is no substitute for open sea, but the H and S
paperwork on dropping people off the back of a boat and leaving them
behind in the interests of education
Sea conditions will dictate what happens to you if you find yourself
alone in the water. Best not to put yourself there in the first place,
but if you do, make sure you have some robust way of attracting
attention to yourself, and make sure its firmly attached.
I have found a PLB to be a thoroughly worthwhile investment.
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Old 01 June 2017, 11:48   #5
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I saw this a few months ago when it made the news for some reason. It had me thinking as it mirrors what I was taught in survival courses when in the Navy.

But....it seems at odds with my experience as a cold water swimmer. We swim through the winter skins (no wetsuit) both in the sea (warmer) or in lakes or lochs (much colder). In fact I swam an 'ice mile' in Iceland last winter in water just under 2 Deg C. One of the 'golden rules' of cold water swimming is to keep moving and to swim at your own pace. Hypothermia is always a heartbeat away and faffing about or waiting for a slower swimmer (or dropping to their pace) puts you in the danger zone.

I guess the difference is when we swim in water that cold we are only looking to 'survive' 30-40mins before getting out. In a true survival situation you would be wearing more making swimming pretty useless and more exhausting and you also have the potential to warm up the water trapped in your clothing and keep it there. You are also needing to set yourself up to survive longer than just the 30 odd minutes.
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Old 01 June 2017, 16:06   #6
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Convert - that and presumably you trained and worked up (down) to those temperatures. Advice can only ever really be aimed at normal people who aren't used to it and are probably nowhere near as fit.
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Old 01 June 2017, 16:35   #7
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I saw this on tv and recall this was the first part of a survival strategy in an overboard situation, aimed to get over the initial cold water shock and control breathing.
I'm sure the situation would dictate if you did go overboard whilst lone boating, the kill cord has done its job and your craft is slowly drifting away. I know what I would try and do!
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Old 01 June 2017, 16:38   #8
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This is good stuff. One point I'd like to add beyond PFDs is having space blankets available - and almost any RIB being discussed here would have room for at least one with your flares. You do carry flares, right?
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Old 01 June 2017, 17:23   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by refugio View Post
having space blankets available
Have you ever used one "in anger" - whilst they are easy to accommodate they may be leading you into a false sense of security - because they are pretty rubbish indoors, never mind on the open deck of a boat. TPAs would be better, or my preference is a small KISU/Bothy Bag.

Quote:
You do carry flares, right?
thinking here seems to increasingly be that traditional flares may be more hassle that benefit.
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Old 02 June 2017, 01:11   #10
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I have a recurring nightmare about being pitched back into the water whilst still in a tpa. Agreed though that they are much better than the silver foil blankets - blizzard bags are good. I have only ever tried to use a foil blanket once in anger in extreme weather and it shredded to bits in seconds.

Interested that flares are considered 'hassle' by some. Not heard/considered that before.
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