Although most people will never experience a shipwreck, users of water transport are still exposed to this hazard even if it is minor. In addition to the risk of death from a sinking ship, there are many other dangers that lurk afterward, such as cold or shark attacks. However, by being prepared, collaborating with other survivors, and taking safety measures, your chances of survival are much greater. You can survive this catastrophe with persistent effort and good luck.
Part 1 of 3: Preparing Yourself
Step 1. Stay calm
Perhaps the most important thing to save yourself from a sinking ship is to remain calm. This was even more important the first time the chaos broke out in the tragedy of the sea. If you are not calm, you could be in greater danger.
- If you feel panicked, relax and take a deep breath.
- Think before act. Don't just run to a life raft or jump into the water when you see danger. Observe all available options.
Step 2. Find the float
When the ship you're on sinks, your main goal is to find a buoy. Without a float, you are unlikely to last long in the water. Some types of floats include:
- Rescue buoy.
- Hard float.
- Inflatable raft.
Step 3. Jump off the raft if you are in danger
If you have to jump off a boat, make sure you keep your shoes on. Look down before jumping to make sure you don't land on top of other people or objects. Place one arm on your stomach, then grip the other elbow. Use the other hand to cover the nose. Lastly, jump as far as you can. When you fall, cross your legs and try to enter the water with your feet first.
Step 4. Stay away from the ship, if it is large
Large ships tend to create the effect of sucking in and sucking everything in as they sink. As a result, the bigger the ship, the farther you will have to get out of the way when it sinks. This is important because large boats can suck you in even if you are wearing a life jacket.
- Use the breaststroke to swim away from the boat.
- Kick hard with your feet.
- If you're not very good at swimming, stay calm, walk in the water, and slowly move away from the sinking boat.
Step 5. Find something to help keep you afloat
If you don't have a life vest, raft, or other object to float, look around the sinking area for debris that can be used to stay afloat. There are many objects that can be used, such as:
- Leaf doors.
- The wreckage of the ship that is still afloat.
- Unused spare life raft or life vest.
Step 6. Check if you are injured
Once you are at a safe distance from the boat, check to see if you are injured or not. This is important because you may need immediate medical attention. Watch the weather:
- If you are bleeding and the wound is severe, you may need to use a tourniquet to stop the bleeding. This is important because blood loss can accelerate the onset of hypothermia.
- If you break your leg or arm, you may have difficulty swimming. If you do, you need immediate help from other survivors.
Part 2 of 3: Cooperating with Other Survivors
Step 1. Help others
Once you've checked yourself and you've found a way to stay afloat, see if you can provide assistance to other survivors who may need it. Other survivors may be in serious trouble and need immediate help.
- Help others who may have a shock. Talk to them, calm them down, and let them know you're here to help.
- Treat the affected person.
Step 2. Prepare your group
After adjusting to your new status, you need to talk to everyone in your group and manage them. There may be survivors in your group who have knowledge, skills, or ideas about how to increase their chances of surviving and being saved.
Stay together. Your chances of surviving and being rescued are higher if your group is organized and sticks together
Step 3. Find supplies
Once you and the other survivors have found a way to stay afloat, start organizing and gathering supplies. The more supplies you have, the better you manage them, the longer you will be able to survive until you are saved. Take note:
- Drinking water. Save and ration drinking water as much as possible.
- Turn on beacons and other items that can signal rescuers.
Part 3 of 3: Survival on the Surface of the Water
Step 1. Avoid hypothermia
Apart from sinking, hypothermia is the biggest threat to your safety after the ship sinks. Exposure to cold water will lower body temperature. If the body temperature is too low, the body will eventually go numb and die.
- If you are on the surface of the water with a float and not on a raft, press your knees to your chest. This will help maintain body heat.
- If you are with other people on the surface of the water or on a raft, stick together, and hug each other.
- Get dressed. Even if you're soaking wet, your clothes help maintain your body temperature.
Step 2. Watch out for sharks
Besides hypothermia and drowning, one of the greatest dangers in the open ocean is sharks. Sharks are dangerous around boats because they are attracted by the blood of injured people and by the fish that gather around objects floating on the surface of the water.
- Avoid splashing here and there. This will minimize any movement that draws the shark's attention to you and your group.
- If anyone is injured, do your best to stop the bleeding. Blood will attract fish and sharks from a distance.
Step 3. Find land
Once you're relatively safe and stable on the surface of the water, you should start looking for land. If you don't find land, your chances of survival decrease with each passing day as your supplies run low. There are many ways you can find land:
- Estimate the position based on the last known position. You can do this with graphics, maps, or stars.
- Look for signs of land such as the presence of birds, driftwood, or litter. If you see a bird, look where it came from and where it flew.
- Try to see land on the horizon. It might be hard to see, depending on the distance of the location, but you should try.
Step 4. Make drinking water
If you want to drink and have basic supplies, you may be able to make your own drinking water. Take a plastic sheet and lay it on your life raft. Use it to collect rainwater. Also, if there is no rain, you may be able to collect dew in the morning.
Never drink salt water. This water will dehydrate you. Instead, turn salt water into drinking water
Step 5. Signal the rescue team
Whether you're on a raft, floating on the surface of the water, or on land, you should try to signal the rescue team as often as possible. Without a marker, the rescue team won't be able to find you and other survivors after the ship sinks. Some of the tagging methods include:
- Fire a flare. Depending on how many flares you have, you may want to save these to fire when you see a ship or plane passing in the distance.
- Use a mirror. Use mirrors to reflect the sun's rays at any search party that may be passing by.
- Bonfire. If you're on land, light a fire to draw the attention of the rescue team.
- Make a sign or some other structure on the beach. For example, make an “SOS” sign with coconut or driftwood.
- If you've never learned to swim before getting on a boat, it's a good idea to start now.
- Large ships like cruise ships take hours or even days to sink. In order to be rescued immediately, it is best to stay on board unless the crew advises otherwise.
- Always wear a life jacket when there are signs of a sinking ship. Try wearing a long-sleeved top and long pants to help keep yourself warm.