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Maritime Personal Survival Techniques: What are maritime personal survival techniques?

Personal Survival Techniques in Cold Water

Maritime Personal Survival

The maritime industry can be very dangerous, and you need to know the personal survival techniques in the event of ship abandonment. On average, there are around 100 deaths and 1,100 injuries of crewmembers each year.

There are several guidelines and standards that OSHA has for maritime and personal survival. Check out OSHA’s website for more information on it. The 29 CFR 1915.158 standard ensures that there is lifesaving equipment aboard the ship. The purpose of these guidelines and standards is the safety of the employees in case of ship abandonment.


There are several more techniques for maritime personal survival that are not listed here. However, these techniques are applicable and essential to increase your chance of survival.

Each emergency situation is different and unique. It’ll be essential for you to use your training and judgment to perform in these situations.

Heat. In hot conditions or climates, the heat can be one of the most serious factors for your survival. Sunburns are very painful and will make every task you perform very difficult. Use sunscreen if available, but if not try to make some sort of sunshade or canopy. Remember, the sun’s reflection on the water can cause sunburns as well.

Cold. In cold conditions or climates, the survival time is significantly reduced. The greatest danger is hypothermia. Make sure you have your immersion suit on if available. Keep the floor of the raft dry, and if there are others, huddle together to keep warm and move to circulate the blood.  

Heavy Weather. In heavy weather conditions, capsizing can be the difference between life and death. Make sure that everyone is sitting low in the raft and sitting in a position for even weight distribution. Do all that is necessary so that the raft doesn’t turn over.  

Dehydration. Outside of the environmental conditions, dehydration is the greatest danger. You must rationalize the water that you have. Also, try everything to collect rainwater by containers that can capture it or clothing that can absorb it. Remember to not eat if you have not drunk anything. You can survive with as little as 2-5 ounces of water a day.

Mental Health. If you can fight off the environmental conditions and can stay hydrated and eat, your mental health will become a huge risk factor. It is very important that there is mental stimulation. Use the pen and paper if available to keep a journal or to write. This can give you a routine and count the days.

For more techniques, check out Hard Hat Training Series that has trainings specifically for maritime personal survival techniques. They offer many more techniques that you can utilize. Taking their training will help prepare and ensure safety in your maritime workplace. 

Good luck and stay safe!

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