Survival Blog: How to stay afloat if you go overboard

by Kenneth Leung on Sep 02, 2020

Survival Blog: How to stay afloat if you go overboard

How to stay afloat if you fall overboard in the ocean


There are many things that happen in life that we can’t control or predict, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be ready.

This isn’t something that happens often but if it does you will want to know what to do.


Think to your self now - what would you do if you went overboard with no lifejacket? What if it was a dinghy, what if it was a speedboat, or a cruise ship? or your boat sank…


There are many different ways to handle each of these scenarios…however we will be looking at the first step that’s the most important.


How long would you be able to stay afloat for until people came back for you? 3 mins? 40 min?


Here is a great trick to help you stay afloat in this crucial time so you can calm down and get your mind thinking about how to get out of this situation.



1) Treading Water

Moving your body and limbs for the purpose of staying afloat or keeping your head above water.

This is something you can train to get better at.



Move your arms side to side /horizontal to the surface. Your body will move up and down as you do so…keep the palm of your hand forward as you move it towards the front of your body and turn it backwards as you move your arms to the back of your body, this helps to get the most water moving and the best buoyancy you can.


Move your legs in a kicking motion, or in circular motion. These will sync up with your hand movements so it feels more comfortable.



If you get tired - You can lay on your back horizontal in the water while gentle waving your arms and feet to keep you afloat.



2) Using your trousers as an improvised floatation device.


When you are in the water, quickly take your pants off. Once they’re off, what you want to do is tie a square knot in the individual ends (by the ankle) of each pant leg.

The idea behind this is to fill the pants with air so you can float on them


Hold the pants by the waist and lift it up and out of the water, then flick them round and go straight down into the water with them waist first…this should help to trap air in each of the legs and they can act as big balloons. It may take a few try's to get the best fill possible. Once they are full of air you can rest your body between each leg and you should float reasonably well.


Once they start to go down, repeat. This should buy you some time and precious energy. while you swim or wait for a rescue.

see images below






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