Did you hear about this? A couple of years ago a ragged figure washed up on the shore of one of the Marshall Islands and claimed he’d been lost at sea…for 13 months!
José Salvador Alvarenga, a fisherman from southern Mexico, went missing at the end of 2012 when a storm blew him and his companion off course and set them adrift in the Pacific. The young companion apparently succumbed to starvation, but Alvarenga has told the press a shocking story of surviving on raw fish and birds’ blood for more than a year. You can read about his unbelievable adventure here.
“Unbelievable” gets right to the heart of the matter. Some have expressed doubts about Alvarenga’s credibility, citing the impossibility of survival under those circumstances. But experts beg to differ. National Geographic, for one, has weighed in with a headline claiming “Surviving More Than a Year Adrift at Sea Is Possible, With a Little Luck”.
…a little luck, we say, best supplemented with a lot of skill. I live in a coastal state where boat emergencies are a very real thing, but wherever you reside, there are important things to know about ocean safety. Here are one or two:
Finding potable water at sea
- Discovery Survival Zone
- When having an outdoor adventure, make sure you take some type of water filtration/purification system with you. See our Insight article “Find the Right Water Filtration System for You” to learn which system fits your needs best.
Fishing for survival
- Fish Without Fishing Gear
- 5 Fishing Techniques to Ensure your Survival
Be prepared when spending time at sea. Whether boating, swimming, fishing, or having another water adventure out on the waves, take emergency supplies along … just in case. The following items have been approved by the U.S. Coast Guard, meaning they have been sealed against water, moisture, and air, giving you a better chance of survival if you ever find yourself in a situation like the one Alvarenga experienced.
Here are some other items we recommend taking with you:
Your own castaway story might sound like a swashbuckling adventure, but we’ll opt for more preparation over raw fish and birds’ blood any day.