Lost At Sea

Type of Activity: Problem-Solving/Decision Making

Props Needed: The "Lost At Sea" worksheet for each participant (Click Here) and pencils

Process: Give each participant a copy of the Lost At Sea worksheet.  Have them break into smaller groups and fill out the group worksheet together. Click HERE for worksheet in PDF

According to the "experts", the basic supplies needed when a person is stranded in mid-ocean are articles to attract attention and articles to aid survival until rescuers arrive.  Articles for attention are of little importance.  Even if a small life raft were capable of reaching land, it would be impossible to store enough food and water to subsist during that period of time.  There fore, of primary importance are the shaving mirror and the two-gallon can of oil-gas mixture.  These items could be used for signaling air-sea rescue.  Of secondary importance are items such as water and food, e.g., the case of Army C rations.  A brief rationale is provided for the ranking of each item.  These brief explanations obviously do not represent all of the potential uses of the specified items but, rather, the primary importance of each.

1. Shaving mirror--Critical for signaling air-sea rescue.

2. Two-gallon can of oil-gas mixture--Critical for signaling, oil-gas mixture will float on the water and could be ignited with some clothes and a match (obviously, outside the raft).

3. 10 Water proof matches--See above.

4. Five-gallon can of water--Necessary to replenish loss by perspiration, etc.

5. One case of U.S. Army C rations--Provides basic food intake.

6. Twenty square feet of opaque plastic--Utilized to collect rain water, provide shelter from the elements.

7. Two boxes of chocolate bars--A reserve food supply.

8. Fishing Kit--Ranked lower than the candy bars because "one bird in the hand is worth two in the bush."  There is no insurance that you will catch any fish.

9. Fifteen feet of nylon rope--May by used to lash equipment together to prevent it falling overboard.

10.   Floating seat cushion--If someone fell overboard, it could function as a life preserver.

11.   Shark repellent--Obvious.

12.   One quart of 160-proof of Puerto Rican rum--contains 80% alcohol, enough to use as a potential antiseptic for any injuries incurred; of little value otherwise; will cause dehydration if ingested.

13.   Small transistor radio--Of little value since there is no transmitter (unfortunately, you are out of range of your favorite radio station.)

14.   Maps of the Pacific Ocean--Worthless without additional navigational equipment, it does not really matter where you are, but where the rescuers are.

The basic rationale for ranking signaling devices above life-sustaining items (food and water) is that without signaling devices, there is almost no chance of being spotted and rescued. Furthermore, most rescues occur during the first 36 hours and one can survive without food and water during this period.

Debriefing Topics:

  • What did you keep and why? How useful would it actually be?


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