As you learned in earlier chapters, being a
professional Sailor is dangerous. These dangers arent
limited to just your job in the Navy. In times of conflict,
your ship or shore station may be in contact with an
enemy force or ship. Regardless of your rate, rating, or
duty station, you may need to stay alive in the water until
you can reach land or be rescued. You must have the
knowledge required to live in the field with limited
equipment (survival) and to avoid the enemy (evasion).
If captured, you also have the responsibility to flee from
the enemy (escape) if possible.
This chapter contains information on the principles
and techniques of sea survival, evasion, land survival,
and escape that have been used successfully worldwide.
The information given here is by no means all-inclusive,
but should serve to help you if the need arises.
SURVIVAL AT SEA
Learning Objectives: When you finish this chapter,
you will be able to
Recall the methods and procedures for
Identify the techniques for swimming through
oil, flames, and debris.
Recognize the techniques for using clothing and
buoyant objects to stay afloat.
Recognize the procedures used to care for and
use personal floatation devices and the use of
lifeboats and associated survival gear.
Recall the characteristics of, use of, and
adjustment to CO2inflatable and inherently
buoyant life preservers.
Identify the responsibilities and authority of the
senior person in a survival situation.
Survival at sea depends on your knowledge,
self-control, training, and equipment. The time to learn
as much as possible about survival and rescue at sea is
before you abandon ship, not after you find yourself in
the water. The information for survival at sea is general
in nature and applies to all Navy ratings.
Having to abandon ship isnt pleasant. Your home
is gone along with most of your possessions and
possibly some of your shipmates. You dont know how
long you must wait for rescue. However, with the proper
knowledge and training, frightening aspects can be
greatly reduced. Dont panic and dont give up hope.
Remember, the Navy knows youre missing and is
searching for you. Also, remember that thousands of
persons have survived ships sinking in both wartime and
If time permits, the crew will abandon the ship
in a planned and orderly manner. In the prepare-
to-abandon-ship stage, all personnel go topside and
muster at their abandon ship stations, don life jackets,
and rig lines and ladders over the side. Bearing and
distance to the nearest land, sea and wind conditions,
and water temperature are passed over the 1MC (ships
general announcing system). When the order to
abandon ship is given, all boats are lowered and
lifeboats are released. The crew members then go over
the side and board them as quickly as possible.
Know Escape Routes
Many survivors have reported that their shipmates
were lost because they were unable to get topside before
the ship sank. In many of these cases, the compartments
in which personnel were trapped were not cut offthe
individuals only thought they were.
Once on board a particular ship, most Sailors learn
the easiest ways from their berthing compartments to
their stations and automatically use these routes day
after day. The habit of using the same hatches and
ladders day after day becomes so strong that a person
finds it difficult to use other routes. This habit is
Without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it,
everything honorable and glorious.