Island Survival

This article will address surviving on an island without food. It will provide tips on how to do this.

Being stranded on an island can be due to several factors. The two most important ones include a plane crash or a shipwreck. Regardless of the cause there are several steps you should take.

The first priority is to keep your mind clear. Do not panic! Quickly move away from the wreck: check if there are still any other passengers alive and get them away from the disaster area. Then, if you have time, check for some objects that could prove useful including: plastic or paper bags, knives, lighters or matches and blankets.

Once clear of the wreck, gather your passengers together and make sure everyone is accounted for.

Shelter is a basic necessity and secondary only to immediate medical care that some passengers might need. Make a tent using leaves or parts of the wreck, or, alternatively find temporary shelter under trees.

Your next priority is water. You can survive a long time without food, but only days or even less without water. Water is vital for your survival. There is no substitute for water. Never drink blood or urine. They will only hasten dehydration. Alcohol, it is not a substitute for water; it can lower body temperatures and cause other problems for survivors. Smoking will also hasten dehydration and should be avoided unless water is plentiful.

Thirst is a very poor indicator of your state of hydration, especially in cold weather. Don't rely on it. Try to drink at least four to six quarts of water daily, more in hot and arid climates.



Take drink breaks at hourly intervals and force yourself to drink if necessary. Dark coloured urine is the most reliable indication of significant dehydration. The effects of dehydration, even mild dehydration, are insidious and extremely dangerous in a survival situation.

If water is scarce, drink what you have, within reason.

With no tap to turn on, you will have to find water where you can. Dew can be collected off surfaces and plants. Water flows downhill so check the valleys and the base of cliffs. Look for animal tracks and trails heading downhill. In more arid climates your search will be more difficult, but the same general rules apply.

In arid areas, lush vegetation is a sign of possible water (and a source of shade). Dig down in dry washes at the base of cliffs, on the outside of a bend and near green vegetation. If you don't hit wet sand within a couple feet, try elsewhere.

Remember that if you dig deep enough into sandy soil you will come across water. Collect the water using a leaf from a tree or a shell.

Barrel and other cacti are also highly recommended as a potential water source.

Water from natural sources like streams and springs must be considered contaminated. Before consumption boiling, chemical treatment or filtering should purify it. Contrary to popular myth, it is not necessary to boil water for extended periods or for even longer at higher elevations. Simply bringing it to a boil is all that is necessary to kill those bacteria and render the water drinkable.

However, if you have no way, whatsoever, to purify the water, it is still preferable to drink anyway. It is possibly better, as a last resort, to risk a bout of "giardiasis" (a microbe-induced intestinal disorder) or gastroenteritis, than to perish from dehydration.

Generally, food is not a survival priority. Water is much more important. Finding food in the wild is fraught with difficulties. You can survive without food for weeks without permanent side effects.

In conclusion food per se is not necessary in the days following abandonment on an island. The most pressing priority is water swiftly followed by shelter. These are absolutely necessary for survival.

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