While it is highly unlikely for this ever to occur, we have all at one point wondered what would happen if we were to fall off a cruise ship and somehow end up in open water. Probably because of all of those Robinson Crusoe and Green Arrow stories, we dreaded the open water for ages. However, a few years ago British woman fell off a cruise ship and ended up in the Adriatic Sea.
There are several survival tips that you should remember when fighting for your life.
Stay as Calm as Possible
The first thing you should remember is that a situation where you end up on an island with a ball named Wilson is highly unlikely. The rest of the crew will notice that someone is missing, and they will inform authorities in no time. The main thing you should not do is panic. Panicking will only make everything worse. Furthermore, if you fail to stay calm, it will affect your breathing, and you’ll get tired and out of breath.
Not only that you’ll spend all of your energy for no reason, but you might also attract sharks by thrashing around. So stay calm and keep your head above water.
Furthermore, it might be tempting to try to swim to the shore (if you can see any). But you might spend all of your strength swimming vigorously. The shore may look close, but this might be a trick. Besides, swimming through the ocean current is never an easy task.
If the water is calm, you should stay afloat on your back — you won’t have to struggle to keep your head above the water level.
Undressing Is a Bad Idea
While you may think that clothes would just serve as an anchor, you’d be wrong. There will be no cozy shade on the open ocean; therefore, those clothes will be your only protection from the sun. If you’ve ever spent several hours swimming, you know how easy it is to get sunburned even in water. Imagine what would happen in a day!
Stay Afloat No Matter What
If you fall off a ship, there won’t be anything that you might hold on to (if you are in a shipwreck, you’re lucky!) So the best thing you can do is try lifting your head and staying afloat for as long as you can. It will be almost impossible for you to catch fish while floating, so the best option for you is to simply wait for the rescue party to find you.
Of course, the best possible scenario would be for you to have a life vest. But if an accident happens, the chances of you having a vest are rather slim.
Drinking seawater is the worst thing you could do. It might happen that you feel thirsty and think: voilà! I’m surrounded by water. But the amount of salt that seawater contains is deadly for humans. While we can safely digest small amounts of salt, the amount that is in seawater would cause severe dehydration that would end fatally.
Now, this part is only valid if you are on some kind of a raft and can find food. The fish will get curious and might stay under it, which will make it easier for you to catch them. Of course, ideally, you’ll be able to create some kind of a fishing rod to help you get the fish.
While this is not always an option, in the best possible scenario, you would be able to find food and ensure survival for the longest time. It is worth mentioning that if you are on a raft or a boat or anything that will allow you to stay above water, you should use your clothes to cover your head and avoid getting sunburns.
While this might sound a bit silly when you are stranded in the middle of an ocean, it is a good tactic. Chances of survival are high because someone will probably notice that you are missing. Besides, help will probably be on the way. While you are in the water, swimming may take you far away from the spot where you fell off.
So thinking realistically will help a lot. There are a lot of fatalities and cases where people gave up while being in a similar situation. The best thing you can do is stay afloat and wait for help to arrive.
Naturally, you should be careful and avoid being thrown overboard (we’re not pirates.) In reality, if you were to fall off a cruise ship, they would immediately notice and send a lifeboat for you. You would be back on the ship in no time to suffer a series of lectures about safety and dangers of open waters. But in the end, that is a lot better than the alternative.