When you think of survivalist, you’re probably thinking of igniting fires, building shelters, and hiking miles of wilderness. Though survivalists do these things, many people don’t think about the aquatic survival skills people need to know in order to survive places like rivers, oceans, and other larger bodies of water.
As a survivalist, you will need to be comfortable with the idea of being around water if you want to explore the world to the fullest. Not only that, but learning basic aquatic survival skills may save your life on vacations or allow you to explore your abilities as a survivalist in the water.
All survivalists should know how to swim. Though there are a variety of swimming techniques to use, the most common form is freestyle, where you alternate kicking your legs and alternating extending your arms forward. Using your arms, you push yourself through the water using your legs as a natural propeller. However, knowing how to swim isn’t the only thing you need to know. You also need to be cognizant of your swimming ability and endurance so you don’t overdo it and put yourself in harmful situation.
2. Treading Water
There are a variety of techniques you can choose from when learning how to tread water. Some important things to keep in mind, however, is that you will need to use both arms and legs while keeping your head above water.
One technique you can try is moving your arms horizontally while spinning your legs as if you were on a bike: in a vertically circular motion. Another technique is to use flutter kicks (point your toes downward and then kick your legs back and forth in short bursts) while using your arms to keep balance. No matter what treading technique you try, you will run out of energy, so be sure to practice consistently and frequently.
If you cannot tread water anymore, then you may lie on your back in the water and float to regain your strength. You can attempt to backstroke to safety if you’re within an ideal range, but the main focus should be on you getting your strength back so you can stay afloat!
3. Getting out of Currents
If you get stuck in a river or ocean current, this isn’t the end of the world. If you are stuck in an ocean current and are getting pulled out to sea, do not panic. Take slow deep breaths and then begin to swim parallel to the shore. You will waste energy trying to fight against the current to swim back to shore. Though it may take a while, you will eventually feel the current stop pulling on you and then you can swim to shore. If you can, try and call for help, but not if you think you’re going to inhale water doing it!
Similarly to being stuck in an ocean current, do not fight against a current. Swim at in a diagonal line to shore; don’t swim upstream or perpendicular to the current. If, worst case scenario, you are going downstream and can’t fight it, turn your body so your feet are facing the way you are going. Doing this will prevent your head from hitting something and causing you injury or unconsciousness.
If you are going to be around or going into any body of water, be prepared to bring a flotation device with you. This prevents you from having to expend precious energy in staying afloat in a dangerous situation. Along with having floatation devices, be sure to continue practicing swimming– never know when it could save your life one day.