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Old 26-04-2013, 09:54   #1
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Brother, sister swim 14hrs after boat sinks off St. Luica

Why I always have a waterproof handheld radio and gps...
US tourists tell story of 'miracle' survival after swimming for 14 hours to safety after deep sea fishing boat sinks in rough seas off St Lucia - Americas - World - The Independent
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Old 26-04-2013, 10:36   #2
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Re: Brother, sister swim 14hrs after boat sinks off St. Luica

I was taught a survival technique in a college swimming course -- it was intended for people without PFD's but probably would work better with one. Basically, you just hang, limp, in the water, with even your face in (to protect it from the sun). You push your arms down periodically (using minimal effort) to raise your head for a safe load of air (pushes you high enough that you won't take in water), and then go limp again. You use minimal energy this way. We had to "hang" in the deep end for an hour; rather than swimming, that was our final exam. He said the Air Force developed it to save downed flyers. Far less exhausting than actually swimming, esp. in waves. I keep my handheld radio strapped to a fanny pack, which I wear when sailing alone.

Is anyone else aware of this survival technique, or what its name is, whether the Air Force still teaches it?
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Old 26-04-2013, 12:01   #3
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Re: Brother, sister swim 14hrs after boat sinks off St. Luica

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I was taught a survival technique in a college swimming course -- it was intended for people without PFD's but probably would work better with one. Basically, you just hang, limp, in the water, with even your face in (to protect it from the sun). You push your arms down periodically (using minimal effort) to raise your head for a safe load of air (pushes you high enough that you won't take in water), and then go limp again. You use minimal energy this way. We had to "hang" in the deep end for an hour; rather than swimming, that was our final exam. He said the Air Force developed it to save downed flyers. Far less exhausting than actually swimming, esp. in waves. I keep my handheld radio strapped to a fanny pack, which I wear when sailing alone.

Is anyone else aware of this survival technique, or what its name is, whether the Air Force still teaches it?
I learned the same thing many years ago but not certain what they called it, survival breathing or survival floating or something. Same deal, we had to float in the pool for an hour as the final. Really a piece of cake. Much easier than the part where they first tied your hands and feet.
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Old 26-04-2013, 12:10   #4
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Re: Brother, sister swim 14hrs after boat sinks off St. Luica

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I learned the same thing many years ago but not certain what they called it, survival breathing or survival floating or something. Same deal, we had to float in the pool for an hour as the final. Really a piece of cake. Much easier than the part where they first tied your hands and feet.

LOL! The military could get away with that -- I don't think a college could.

Our instructor made an important point, that you can float this way even with a fairly serious injury. For instance, no problem doing it with a broken leg.

When my children were little, I taught it to them. Lots of their friends lived in homes with swimming pools.
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Old 26-04-2013, 12:16   #5
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Re: Brother, sister swim 14hrs after boat sinks off St. Luica

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LOL! The military could get away with that -- I don't think a college could.
Actually it was at GA Tech but way back in 1967. Don't think they could get away with it today but that was in prehistoric times when things were different.
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Old 26-04-2013, 12:47   #6
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Re: Brother, sister swim 14hrs after boat sinks off St. Luica

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Actually it was at GA Tech but way back in 1967. Don't think they could get away with it today but that was in prehistoric times when things were different.
Really -- I was at Jacksonville University in 1966. Things certainly were different then!
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Old 26-04-2013, 12:51   #7
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Re: Brother, sister swim 14hrs after boat sinks off St. Luica

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Really -- I was at Jacksonville University in 1966. Things certainly were different then!
Uh oh. Guess I should apologize for calling the 60s prehistoric. Where's that emoticon showing a foot in a mouth.

Yes things were different then. Probably because that predated the "sue for anything you can" mentality.
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Old 26-04-2013, 13:00   #8
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Re: Brother, sister swim 14hrs after boat sinks off St. Luica

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Uh oh. Guess I should apologize for calling the 60s prehistoric. Where's that emoticon showing a foot in a mouth.

Yes things were different then. Probably because that predated the "sue for anything you can" mentality.

I see no need to know how to survive being thrown in the water with arms and legs tied, unless your business "associates" have names like "Billy the knife" and Jimmy "the ripper" or something ...

It sounds cruel as well as reckless to me. To use this survival strategy, you have to stay calm, because you have to be relaxed in order to maintain that nearly vertical position in the water and expend so little energy to safely get air. I'm sure in the ocean you would learn to do it between waves pretty quickly.
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Old 26-04-2013, 13:31   #9
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Re: Brother, sister swim 14hrs after boat sinks off St. Luica

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I see no need to know how to survive being thrown in the water with arms and legs tied, unless your business "associates" have names like "Billy the knife" and Jimmy "the ripper" or something ....
And they carry violin cases but aren't musicians.



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It sounds cruel as well as reckless to me. To use this survival strategy, you have to stay calm, because you have to be relaxed in order to maintain that nearly vertical position in the water and expend so little energy to safely get air. I'm sure in the ocean you would learn to do it between waves pretty quickly.
Well I wasn't too happy with the results myself. On one of my bob-ups to catch a breath I managed to cough a little and didn't get a full inhale. So I floated back down but didn't have enough buoyancy to float back to the top nor was I heavy enough to sink to the bottom to kick off, more or less neutral. So there I was hanging suspended between top and bottom, hands and feet tied and going nowhere. I waited for about a minute hoping I would go one way or the other but never did. Ran out of air, major panic ensued and the next thing I knew I breached like a blue whale with no idea how I got there. Amazing what adrenaline can do.

Which by the way, don't ever let anyone tell you that drowning is a peaceful way to go. i was pretty close to it and I was as far from peaceful as I have ever been in my life. A car wreck didn't even come close.
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Old 26-04-2013, 13:43   #10
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Re: Brother, sister swim 14hrs after boat sinks off St. Luica

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And they carry violin cases but aren't musicians.





Well I wasn't too happy with the results myself. On one of my bob-ups to catch a breath I managed to cough a little and didn't get a full inhale. So I floated back down but didn't have enough buoyancy to float back to the top nor was I heavy enough to sink to the bottom to kick off, more or less neutral. So there I was hanging suspended between top and bottom, hands and feet tied and going nowhere. I waited for about a minute hoping I would go one way or the other but never did. Ran out of air, major panic ensued and the next thing I knew I breached like a blue whale with no idea how I got there. Amazing what adrenaline can do.

Which by the way, don't ever let anyone tell you that drowning is a peaceful way to go. i was pretty close to it and I was as far from peaceful as I have ever been in my life. A car wreck didn't even come close.

I came close to drowning once, too, caught in a rip current when I was 14. Really and truly, the only reason I survived was that I had read -- not two days before -- how to save yourself in a rip current (they called them "rip tides" then) -- in READER'S DIGEST! No kidding.

BEFORE you try to swim out of it to the side, you're gonna be thrown around (and oh boy, are you). the water is all churned up and full of sand, so you put a hand over your nose and mouth. No matter how good a swimmer you are, if you get sand up your nose, you aren't going to be able to hold your breath.

You ball up into a ball, and then in spite of the turbulence you'll bob to the surface. THEN you can swim to the side.

I was at the end of the old Jacksonville Pier by the time I bobbed to the surface. People on the pier had seen what happened (the current was right by the pier, dug out by a storm). A very good looking man (hubba hubba!) jumped in to save me, with a pool floating raft. I'm not stupid -- I stopped saving myself, and this blonde Adonis scooped me up to the back of the raft and took me into shore.

Jacksonville, right?

He was a NATO sailor - from NORWAY -- didn't speak a word of English, and at 14 that was the end of that.

Until my family and I went to the pier 2 days later, only to see an 11 ft shark hanging there someone had just caught ... off the pier. We looked, and people were using bait fish, cleaning out the guts and throwing them off the pier. The water was full of chum -- and sharks. I'd been dragged out to shark infested waters.

I really am lucky to be alive!
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Old 27-04-2013, 05:03   #11
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Re: Brother, sister swim 14hrs after boat sinks off St. Luica

The Army called it drown proofing.
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Old 27-04-2013, 05:22   #12
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Re: Brother, sister swim 14hrs after boat sinks off St. Luica

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The Army called it drown proofing.
Indeed.
Drownproofing
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Old 27-04-2013, 05:23   #13
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Re: Brother, sister swim 14hrs after boat sinks off St. Luica

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The Army called it drown proofing.
So did the Red Cross when I took the class in the 4th grade (circa 1960s).

Even though I first strapped on tanks as a kid the time came when I had to go through SCUBA certification. The course included tying our hands to our sides and wearing tennis shoes and legs tied at the ankles. This to test physical stamina but also to simulate being caught up in kelp or your own gear. The trick is to establish the cycle of breaking the surface for breathing, then descending towards neutral buoyancy. Get off the cycle and it will be as described in a previous post.
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Old 27-04-2013, 05:27   #14
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Re: Brother, sister swim 14hrs after boat sinks off St. Luica

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Indeed.
Drownproofing

Wow Gord -- thank you so much! That's going to be going on my blog. It's aimed at newer sailors, and one of my goals is to set people up for really good safety habits from the beginning.

This link should also be connected to the couple planning to sail with their children and home school.

It seems to me that a crew could tie itself together at the waist, use this to stay alive, and stay together, making a much better target for rescuers ...
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Old 27-04-2013, 05:27   #15
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Re: Brother, sister swim 14hrs after boat sinks off St. Luica

Back to the topic of this thread, didja hear of the 50 yr old surfer from South Africa who survived 27 hours in the water (no floation device, no wetsuit)?
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