Fishing Survival

A Guide to Shipwreck Survival

primitive survivors shipwreck survival

Every fisherman has wondered about shipwrecks whenever they go aboard a ship. And as every survivalist knows, it is better to be prepared than sorry later.Β 

If you ever find yourself the victim of a shipwreck, what would you do to increase your odds of survival? Would you abandon the ship with your raft immediately? Is it better to be on an island or to stay adrift?Β  Learn how you can prepare for a shipwreck situation now!

Pack the Essentials

Make sure you have what you need while waiting to be rescued. You don’t have t bring all of your bags if they are too heavy. Think about what you would bring on a bugout and see if you have those items with you.Β 

The most basic items you’ll need are your documents, keys, flares, water, a hand-held VHF radio and spare batteries for the VHF. You’ll also need water, food rations, and thermal gear

When to Abandon the Ship

Remember that you should only abandon the ship if the boat is surely sinking and cannot be recovered. A life raft is your last resort, and you should stay on the boat for as long as possible.Β 

If you have no other option but to leave your boat, keep your energy up by drinking water and eating the supplies from your grab bag. Carbohydrates are best for energy. Use flares and your EPIRP and PLB to attract attention from rescuers.

Life Rafts

Life rafts have been innovating since the small rubber craft days. Modern life rafts now have tall walls, covers, paddles, insulated flooring, bailing buckets, ladders and a variety of emergency items, such as flares, water pouches, signaling mirrors, reflective tape, and fishing kits. The downside is that they cost a lot, about $4000 in today’s market.

These are backed by the manufacturer and need regular maintenance for greater usability. However, they are also leak-proof. You may end up with water in it since the ocean can be tough. But modern rafts come with repair kits!

Your only hope for finding dry land is drifting, so the more you drift, the better your chances. Your life raft should have sea anchors to keep it stable, although this will slow your drifting rate. Try pulling up the anchor during periods of calm weather and drop it back in when the winds pick up

Alone in an Island

This is not the case for some. When it comes to surviving a shipwreck, there are two scenarios: you can be adrift at sea or alone on an island. The island scenario is more desirable in many ways because of more resources.


The first thing you should do is to set up a shelter. Don’t spend so much time looking for the perfect spot as your spot can change from time to time. Look around the island for any washed-up garbage. almost everything can be of use. You can even use your life raft as shelter to keep you off the ground and away from snakes and scorpions.

Trees are also a great way to set up your shelter. Take advantage of the branches. Additionally, don’t sleep directly on the ground. Instead, line the floor with more palm fronds, which will insulate you and help keep you dry.Β 


Aside from coconut and fruit trees, the best opportunity for food will come from the ocean. You can catch anything, but beware of the following:

  • Jellyfish
  • Fish with spikes
  • Fish that puff up
  • Fish with parrot-like beaks

If you want to know more about survival on an island, check out our article about it!

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