9 Things You Need To Survive Being Lost At Sea (Guide 2022)

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Imagine being lost at sea, alone and with no hope of being found. When the boat you are on sinks, it is now up to you to keep yourself alive. With no food or water in sight, being stranded can be a traumatizing situation indeed. 

In the vast, dark ocean, you can't see land anywhere. The waves are crashing against the boat, it's taking everything in you not to panic. You're lost at sea with no food or water; this is where many people have died before from dehydration or starvation. 

But what if there was something you could do? What if being prepared for this type of event meant that your chances of survival were much higher? That's where this blog comes into play! 

What happens psychologically when one is lost at sea?

Well, being lost at sea can take a severe psychological toll on someone.

First of all, being out there alone in the middle of the ocean is not something that anyone can handle well, and it takes an enormous amount of willpower to stay sane when left with only oneself for company.The majority of people who are lost at sea usually experience anger, denial, depression, or even panic attacks from time to time. The feeling depends on how long they have been adrift because after being stranded without any land in sight for too long, one starts losing hope and begins picturing their death, which makes one contemplate suicide.

What is the longest someone has been lost at sea?

The longest someone has been lost at sea without being rescued is 76 days. 

This was reported by a man named Steven Callahan, who had set out on an expedition in 1982 to cross the Atlantic Ocean from Massachusetts to France and got caught up in Hurricane Emily, which caused him to become stranded for over three months before eventually being found. He wrote about his experience of being adrift for so long, including how hard it became just thinking that no one would ever know what happened or where he was when he finally saw land again. 

He also never stopped thinking about suicide until there were other people around him with their own stories; they all helped each other through those difficult times, but to survive, you need more than just good company.

What’s the number of sailboats lost at sea each year?

The United States Coast Guard does not track the number of sailboats lost at sea worldwide each year.

Many factors go into how many sailboats get lost at sea each year. Accurate statistics also do not exist because no studies have been done on how many sailboats get lost at sea each year.


Many boats disappear without a trace in unknown areas or following hurricanes, yet these disappearances are never recorded as accidents since they cannot be confirmed.

It is estimated that around 5500 vessels and 2 million lives were lost between 1865-2004 worldwide, while only 1 471 ships and 23 000 lives were reported lost. The number of boats above triples the number of lives lost; some may have run out of food and other suppliers; we focus on emergency preparedness for such natural disasters at the survival box.

Today, we will discuss ten things one needs when lost at sea and how they can improve their chances for survival!

Here are the top 10 things you need to survive being lost at sea. These are not necessarily items you would pack for your trip, but rather what you might need if your boat capsized or got run over by a storm while out on the water.

1. Stop and Think Your next Action

 You’ve just discovered that you are lost at sea. You’re unsure if rescue will be arriving, so here are some survival tips:

Stop—you can't do anything about your situation until it is safe to do so. Think—consider all of your options and ensure you're calm enough to make a proper decision Observe—identify any dangers or resources surrounding you Plan—develop a plan of action with these goals: speaking calmly with family; assessing and anticipating time needed before rescue arrives

2. Relax, Don’t Panic!

 In an emergency, panic is a tremendous energy stealer. While you freak out and regret meaningless things, the smartest thing to do is maintain a cool head and figure out how to get yourself safely back on land. It doesn’t mean your safety has been guaranteed; nevertheless, keeping calm will increase the odds that you survive in water. Being calm equals being safe.

3. Avoid Drinking Sea Water Or urine

Don't drink seawater as it will make you very sick; remember, salt is an essential nutrient, not something you should consume. Being lost at sea without much water, some sailors have successfully drunk urine and sweat from their bodies just to survive. Keep in mind that urine contains toxins such as nitrogenous wastes and ammonia. Ingesting these can be hazardous to your health so if possible avoid peeing directly into your mouth or drinking too much of your sweat. 

If there are fish around, try catching them for food and then use the water inside them instead of drinking fresh water. Do not drink seawater. If you have a raincoat, take off the hood and use it to catch rainwater. 

These two things make good containers: plastic bags and rain boots. Always rinse them with the first raindrops to get salt out of them that comes from the sea.

4. Create or look for Shelter

Your odds of surviving at the shoreline are lower if you’ve been in cold water for a while, and hypothermia is the most likely reason. This positive effect becomes exponential if you can dry off quickly and get enough layers on your body. If you're not alone, huddle together or try to warm up with another (lucky) survivor in their sleep bag.

Don't discard any clothing when lost at sea, you need the clothes to keep you warm during cold at night, shelter helps protect you as you try to figure out how to get rescued.

The importance of having shelter over your head and protecting your body when stuck at sea with no help coming your way is that you can keep from overheating during the day, and keep yourself dry for when it rains or the sun is out. Shelter gives you a place to sleep at night so that you don't have to worry about roughing it on deck. Shelter keeps you away from high waves and debris that could cause injury if they were to fall on top of you. The shelter is very important and can help prolong your survival in any situation.

5. Hunt For Food

When lost at sea, having food is vital in increasing the chances of surviving being lost. But then you ask yourself, how does one find food on a boat when stranded at the same time? Small fish often gather beneath the boat, either out of curiosity or because they feel sheltered there if you're in a life raft. 

Fish have been the main source of food for people in many countries for a long time. To catch them at sea, try to use one hand-line with a hook and lure such as anything flashy. Jig the lure up and down below the water's surface, being careful not to snag your life raft with it. 

After catching something edible, gut it or filet it and use its guts as bait to keep fishing.The food at sea is all-natural, such as fish, seahorses, shrimps, crabs, and even squid but they are very difficult to catch without fishing gear.You can use the shadow cast by your boat to attract fish. To catch them, string jewelry into a lure. (Pieces from a smartphone can work too.) Shoelaces or unraveled sock threads can serve as a fishing line. Save any uneaten bits for bait.

6. Look Out For Rescue

Being lost at sea is a nightmare you don't want to have to experience. Being aware of how important rescue is, and how to get rescued will save your life. Rescue can come from someone who knows where you are going, a passing ship in the area, or a helicopter overhead. 

If you see a plane or ship, use your pocket mirror or smartphone screen to reflect the sun's light signal (which is visible as far as 10 miles away on a sunny day).

7. Study the stars around

If you know how to navigate by stars, your chances of surviving at sea increase: you will find the shore or other ships on the ocean. Remember that the Sun rises in the East and sets in the West; use this indication point when starting a route for navigating. Estimate your course and make a drift until you find shore or other sailors. It's difficult to find Polaris - the star close to the celestial pole- even when you know where it is.

However, if you are looking for what we call the Big Dipper or Plough in Ursa Major, then mentally connect those stars at the end of the "bowl" and extend that line out five times its length before arriving at Polaris. It will be easier to spot because it is bright; second only to Arctus, Alpha Ursae Minoris, or The Little Bear in English.

8. Let the Current Take You

In the open ocean, there are not a lot of options regarding controlling where you go. Your best chance of survival relies on the current taking you to land or getting rescued.While you practice the other techniques in this section, simply allow the current to take you where it must. Don’t waste your energy trying to fight it.

Only when you see the shore is within paddling distance should you take the time to paddle ashore. If you see a ship in the distance, you’re more likely to get rescued by signaling it rather than paddling toward the ship. Read on to discover more sea survival tips.

9. Be Prepared

It's important to prepare for the unknown before taking a potentially dangerous trip, including stockpiling emergency gear. Survival skills can be handy in many situations, and you may need equipment such as:

Recreational items: Things that will help keep you sane and enjoy your time if things turn bad, like books, board games, or comfortable clothing. Hold onto these until it starts turning ugly because otherwise, they'll take up space.

Necessities: Items that will help keep you living if all else fails for any reason - like water purifying tablets or waterproof matches so hopefully you won't need them!

  • Yes, your survival kit is the number one helper in sea survival. Even if you're a pro at surviving afloat with no waves or currents for months on end, it's always nice to have a backup. And while most first-aid kits will be somewhat helpful, all well-prepared seafarers carry a flare gun just in case they get lost at sea and are still within reach of help (assuming that someone has already seen the flare).
  • The Lifeboat Association indicates that ships usually average 12 miles per hour when cruising but range from 5 to 18 miles per hour during rescues depending upon conditions and load aboard the ship. You can assess as soon as possible what type of assistance may be available if you deploy your flares downstream from people who can provide

Ocean survival isn't a rare event if you've ever had the unfortunate opportunity to get into it.

So, your knowledge about how to successfully survive an open sea situation may prove to be invaluable in certain situations. Planning what tools and skills you need to increase your chances of making it out alive significantly. Being in a good physical condition can frequently be the difference between life and death, as well as your mental health. The skills you have will also play a major role in this and your ability to problem-solve. When you have an overload of adrenaline or nervousness people tend to panic; however, thinking clearly and listening carefully may save lives.


Everyone has a story of how they were once lost at sea. The stories are often about survival and hope. Learning to survive in the worst possible conditions is an important skill for anyone, whether you’re sailing on your own or just living life day-to-day. 

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