Tag Archives: water

Coastal Survival

If you live near the coast, you’re in a unique position allowing you to utilize resources from both land and sea. Since there have been and will be many land survival articles, I will focus on the sea aspect in this one.

We’ll start with water. Of course you can’t drink seawater,dis_process until you take the salt out. So how do you take the salt out? There are 3 principle types of desalinization, electrical, thermal, and pressure. Electrical desalinization is a process utilizing an electrical field to remove the salt. It’s technical and papers have been written by universities about it. Due to its complexity it’s really not a helpful process for the average person. Pressure desalinization is the act of using centrifugal force to pull the salt out of the water. Thermal desalinization is the oldest and most natural form of removing salt from seawater.desalinazation So natural, that it occurs by the sun everyday around the world. The water vapor forms clouds and then is released back to earth as rain. We can simply replicate this process a couple different ways. Either using a heat source and distilling the water, or utilizing the suns radiation in a solar still to evaporate the water.

Shelter on the ocean is a serious problem. If you’re in the ocean, you have two serious concerns hypothermia and shark attack. Hypothermia is when the bodies core temperature falls below 95 degrees Fahrenheit. hypothermiaDue to water being an excellent conductor of heat, it can pull the heat out of a body, and since we lose like 80% of our body heat through our head and neck, keep them out of the water. Also don’t shed clothes, they will act as a barrier and your body will heat the water between your skin and your clothes acting as an insulation layer between you and the outside water. On a long enough timeline everyone’s survival rate drops to zero. If the water temperature is above 50 degrees Fahrenheit the danger for shark attack is elevated. The lower the water temperature, the greater the risk of hypothermia due to prolonged exposure, when exposed to cold water the Coast Guard’s 1-10-1 rule applies. The first stage in cold water exposure is Cold Water Shock, you have one minute to control your panic. Studies show that 20 percent of people exposed to cold water die in the first minute; they panic when they are first immersed, breathe in cold water and drowned. The next phase is Cold Water Incapacitation, over approximately 10 minutes you will lose effective control of your body, fingers, hands, legs and arms. You need to deal with self rescue during this brief phase because your ability to swim will become greatly reduced as time passes, if you aren’t  wearing a life jacket at this point and are unable to get out of the water, the odds are pretty good you’re going to drown. The last phase is Hypothermia, you have approximately 1 hour, depending on water temperature, and physical condition until your body shuts down, you lose consciousness and die.fishTrap

Another thing the ocean has in abundance is food; in the form of fish, shellfish and water fowl. Since this isn’t a hunting or fishing article, I won’t get in depth into gathering food but will touch on a few gathering techniques. You can of course always fish with a hook, line and pole. But there are several ways to harvest fish without a line and hook. There are several different types of commercial fish trap available for purchase, but you can also make one from sticks and twine, or using sticks in the sand you can make a tidal fish trap.fishspear16 Making a fishing spear is also an option, it’s a little more complicated than just sharpening a stick, but still not very technical.

When you live near the ocean, like coastal dwelling people throughout history, you must master the sea and to do so you’re going to need a boat. I’m going to talk about boat building next week, but will talk this week a little about some aspects of their use.

When you’re standing on the beach and looking out to sea, due to the curvature of the earth, the horizon is only 8 miles away. You can see larger objects such as cruise ships or aircraft carriers out to 10-12 miles depending on their height but a small motor boat or row boat, you would be lucky to see at 8 miles. If you were sitting in a canoe or kayak out in the water your horizon would be down to perhaps 5-6 miles. This comes into play when we start talking about navigation.N-chart_11451-9

Whether you’re navigating on land or on sea, before you can plan where you’re going; first you must know where you are. To know where you are, you need a map or chart, a compass, and a straight edge. There are a few different grades of certainty that I want to talk about. If you look on your map and find a tower, an antenna, or even a notable landmark or pier that you can see from your location; take a bearing to the object and lay it out on your map with your straight edge, what you have now is a line of bearing. Find another object that is like 50-60 degrees off from the last, and lay it out on your map, you now have an estimated position. Repeating the process and at the point where the 3 lines meet is a fix, for most of what we’re doing here an estimated position will work for what we need, if you’re navigating a deep draft ship in close proximity to shoal water, knowing your exact location is crucial, however if you’re in a row boat, and you know where you are within 100 or 200 yards, you will be fine because from there you can visually navigate to where you want to go.

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Stockpiling Water

Every day we go about our lives, we get up take our showers, wash our clothes and dishes, every time we turn on a faucet, water comes out. If you’re anything like me there have been times that you turn that faucet and water hasn’t come out. It’s inconvenient and maddening, but what if it was the new normal. If you woke up one morning and the shower didn’t work and neither did the lights. You groan in frustration and pick up your cell phone, the screen is blank and won’t turn on. Whatever the circumstances, the point is that we need on average between 2 and 3 liters of water per day. If you’re not lucky enough to have your own well, where is it going to come from if the water stops flowing? Even discounting the run on the grocery stores to buy every last drop, what happens when that’s gone?

In an emergency situation, you can dig a hole in the ground, put a cup in the bottom and cover the hole with black plastic and put a small pebble or weight on the plastic above the cup and condensation will roll down the plastic and collect in the cup, but that won’t produce 3 liters per day.waterCup

I’m lucky enough to have multiple fresh bodies of water near my home. All I need is a filtering system and I’m golden! Let’s talk about some filtering systems.

There are hundreds if not thousands of commercially available water filtration systems, but over time filters lose their effectiveness and must be replaced or replicated.

The 5 steps of water filtration are:

Screening, Water is passed through a screen which removes large debris. Water pulled from a ground source may not need this step.

Coagulation, alum and other chemicals are added to the water which cause Floc or sticky particles that attract dirt and contaminants, which sink to the bottom of a storage tank.

Sedimentation, water and floc flow into a sedimentation tank where the floc falls to the bottom

Filtration, the water is then passed through gravel, sand and perhaps charcoal.

Disinfection, chlorine or other disinfecting chemical is used to kill micro organisms and keep the water safe to drink. If using ground water this maybe to only step needed.

In a SHTF or emergency situation CPVC marked NSF-61 or NSF-PW has been tested to be safe for drinking water,filter use a piece about 4 inches in diameter and about 4 feet long. Put a rounded cap on one end with a hole drilled in the middle. Put about 2 feet of sand in the bottom and 1 ½ feet of gravel on top of that, leaving about a foot of room on the top to pour water in, and poof instant water filter.

Use 8-16 drops or ¼ teaspoon of chlorine bleach to 1 gallon of water for the disinfection of filtered water, or 2% tincture of iodine at 5 drops per 1 quart of filtered water. In the absence of these chemicals boil water at a full rolling boil for 1 minute.

Here is a great article on drilling your own well.

 

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Bugging Out… Where?

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One of the most controversial subjects in this community is the contents of your BOB (Bug Out Bag)! I don’t want to get into a big heated debate in the comments section, because yes, I read all of them and respond to as many as I can, so as a disclaimer, this is MY list and it is centered around my needs and my abilities! Yours could vary considerably depending on your knowledge base, climate and bug out destination, which brings me to my next disclaimer! Bugging out is a last resort scenario! You are almost always better off staying put, hunkering down and sheltering in place. Your house/apartment is the largest version of your stuff and has way more resources than you can carry with you! So to reiterate, bugging out is a last resort and should only be done if remaining in place will put your life or the lives of your family in danger.

Where are you bugging out to? How are you getting there? Here’s the deal folks; we plan everything! If you leave your home and all of your stuff on foot with a backpack full of stuff that someone on the internet said you were going to need, bound for God knows where; odds are the vast majority would be dead in a week! If you have to leave your home, have a specific destination and a plan to get you there! That being said, your Bug Out Bag is the gear that you will need to get you from your original location to your planned destination, that’s it! There’s none of this, “well, I might need to kill and cook a deer on the way” B.S. If you’re bugging out and God forbid having to do so on foot, a whole lot has gone bad and this should be treated like a SERE scenario!evade

  1. Avoid human contact. Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you! If you want to be a Christian charity when you’re at home or again in your bug out location, fine but on the road avoid people. You have no idea how desperate people are, what their circumstances are or what they’re capable of. Anything you can do that will attract attention, don’t! To name a few items: this includes fires, cooking, hunting and discharging a firearm (unless YOUR life depends on it). It’s definitely not an all inclusive list, but you get my meaning.
  2. Plan for shelter first. Next to not having air, not having shelter will kill you first. You should have 2-3 changes of underclothes and wool socks and some good, comfortable, insulated, over the ankle hiking boots. The type of clothing is dependent on climate, season and altitude, however layer your clothing so you can shed layers when hot and add layers when cold. You should have 2-3 different ways to stay dry. A rain suit and a military type poncho is what I recommend. The poncho has grommets and can be used as a shelter as well. If traveling with my family I might include a small tent but you have to weigh the threat of being seen.shelter I depend mainly on my surroundings to provide the items for my shelter because with the tools in my pack I can build several different kinds. But you can really hedge your bets with a 6’X8’ tarp, it will always come in handy. A bedroll, preferably a good lightweight sleeping bag.
  3. Next worry about water. In a pinch you can go a couple days without but it will have an effect so plan for about 1 liter per day per person. You will be walking and exerting your body and you will sweat even if it’s cold, so to avoid dehydration and cramping drink your water. water-bottle-120120Many packs have a hydration system built into them, I just use 2 canteens. Life Straw filters like 1000 liters of water and is a great back up. Water purification tablets are light weight but generally purify more water than you will drink and can be harmful when trying to use small doses. If you use them purify the recommended amount of water, fill your containers and leave the rest for someone else.
  4. The next thing to plan for is accidents. I’m not going to spend a lot of time talking about a first aid kit because I couldn’t do it justice here; it deserves and will have its own edition. There are a couple things I will say, first I recommend you build your own, so you have firsthand knowledge of everything in your kit and you don’t have a lot of what you are unlikely to need but not enough of what you are more likely to need. Also, if you live anywhere that you could run into poisonous snakes have a snake bite kit.
  5. Food is down the list a bit for me. Since this kit is for 48-72 hours, food should be minimal. I won’t spend a lot of time on it since it should consist of energy bars and trail food, maybe MRE’s that don’t need to be cooked. All you want is calories to give you energy to get you where you’re going, although avoid candy bars since they will give you a sugar rush that will be over as quickly as it began.
  6. Tools are an important part of the kit. A good multi tool, I prefer Leatherman, will do so many things for you. A shovel type tool can do far more than just dig, the M48 can be used as an ax, as a machete, it has a serrated edge and would be a wicked weapon in a hand to hand situation.m48Shovel A wire saw can be used to cut poles for shelters as well as firewood. One of the other hotly debated topics in this field is: what is the best survival knife? Since I’m going to do a whole article on it, let’s just say have a good survival knife that is comfortable for you.
  7. Miscellaneous items, that I couldn’t categorize elsewhere. A solar/hand crank AM/FM radio to keep appraised of emergency news. A good flashlight and a head light preferably with red lenses with extra batteries for each. Although I recommend only using them inside a structure where there is no light, to avoid detection. 2- 50 gallon black plastic trash bags, can be used to collect water and as ponchos. Cell phone with power bank for recharging, this isn’t to play candy crush on the trail but for emergency communication if there is reception. There are also plenty of useful apps that can be used even if they aren’t (like my spotting and bullet trajectory app). A pencil and small note pad for making notes, writing coordinates, bearings and anything else you may need to remember. A couple bandanas can be used for 100 things. 100 ft of 550 cord (paracord), 50 ft of climbing type rope something in the 10mm range also some military surplus trip/snare wire 50 ft or so. Don’t forget maps of the area and a compass. Duct tape, binoculars, 3 different ways to start a fire (for emergencies and distraction), bug spray and sunscreen round out the list.
  8. Personal protection items, is again a much debated topic. Many cannot legally carry a firearm due to their local laws, however since this is my blog and I live in Texas and was fairly clear at the beginning that this is about MY equipment, I am always carrying both a handgun with spare magazine and a assisted opening locking blade type knife.ar15_m4_xhc_by_hellion You can be sure if I’m bugging out I will also have a tactical carbine rifle also with several spare magazines.
  9. Personal hygiene items. A toothbrush and toothpaste will make you feel a whole lot better than if your teeth are wearing sweaters while you walk. Also since you are only going to be out 48-72 hours, handiwipes to clean the sensitive areas will help prevent chaffing and a roll of toilet paper in a plastic ziplock bag.

This list is not all inclusive, and mine changes by season and is modified periodically based on my needs and desires but it will give you somewhere to start.

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The Rule of 3’s

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Knowing the rule of 3s, focuses you on your survival priorities. It’s funny in many Hollywood dramas about survival situations, how the characters spend a considerable amount of time and energy pursuing the wrong priorities, and could very well in real life result in their doom.

3 Minutes Without Air; going without air is known as Hypoxia. Hypoxia can be generalized, affecting the whole body or it can be localized to a portion of the body. It can be caused generally in healthy people by being at a high altitude or breathing gasses low in oxygen content. High altitude typically over 8200 ft or 2500 m can cause High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE), a life threatening condition resulting in the lungs accumulating fluid. This condition requires immediate medical attention and getting the subject to low altitude.

3 Hours Without Shelter; being without shelter in harsh weather will kill you! The inability to protect the body from cold can result in hypothermia, a condition that occurs when the body’s core temperature drops below 95 degrees. Alternately, hyperthermia is the opposite. When the body takes on more heat than it can dissipate, commonly caused by heat stroke due to prolonged exposure to high heat and/or humidity.

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Therefore, in a survival situation establishing shelter should be your first priority! The type of shelter depends on the circumstances. If you’re lost and want to be found, seeking shelter in a manmade structure or high visibility location, using signal fires for warmth/cooking and signaling is the route you want to take. However in an SHTF situation where you are either on the run evading capture or avoiding human contact trying to get to your bugout location and need temporary shelter. Use the SERE acronym BLISS:

Blend in
Low Silhouette
Irregular Shape
Size
Secluded Location

http://sublimator.ca/home/page/6/?orderby=rating Blend in: use low visibility material and camouflage your shelter with cuttings from the local vegetation. Construct it in a shadowy/low lying area (not a dry wash if rain is likely) away from roads and trails. Humans are basically lazy and won’t go into hard to access places without good reason.
buy modafinil in china Low Silhouette: keep your shelter low to the ground, waist high or below, preferably knee high. Avoid high ground, stay in or near the bottom of hills/draws/hollows. If you are halfway up a hill but low to the ground, you are still head height to someone standing below you.
click Irregular Shape: regular geometric shapes are very noticeable to the human eye and indicate a manmade structure. Be mindful not only of how your shelter looks close up but also from a distance and from above. Looking down on a square tarp from a hilltop or from the air would be a dead giveaway!
Size: make a shelter just big enough to do the job, keep it small! If you’re with your family, consider making multiple small shelters instead of a single large one. This is to protect you from the elements while you rest or lay low during high enemy activity not a place to sit around and play cards, so big enough for one or two people to lay down and rest.
Secluded Location: stay away from buildings, roads and trails. Avoid clearings and high ground, in times of bright sun light, avoid casting shadows when possible.
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3 Days Without Water; while it is true there are cases of people living without water for a week, this is NOT an area you want to experiment around with. Our bodies are 65% water and dehydration has serious physical consequences, some of its symptoms are: weakness, sluggishness, confusion, and fainting. When on the move trying to avoid detection, I definitely don’t want to feel sluggish, weak and confused… STAY HYDRATED! Water collection methods and sources will depend on your environment and will have a future article devoted to it. However for now, suffice it to say keep a personal water filter and chemical water purifying pills in your bugout bag. Boiling water is also an option, however should be avoided when on the move as fires will attract attention.

3 Weeks Without Food; although food is the least critical of our necessities, it is no less important. When we go without food our bodies go into starvation mode and begin to store fat and metabolize our muscle tissue. It can also result in physical weakness and dehydration. When at our shelter in place or our bugout locations, considerable time and resources can be devoted to the hunting and gathering of food, however if our transit time is less than a few days, hunting and cooking is not practical and the cooking fire could have a more detrimental effect than a few days without eating.

In short, if an SHTF situation should catch you traveling on foot in hostile or potentially hostile territory. If you’re having difficulty breathing due to altitude, all effort should be focused on getting to a lower altitude. If you can breath, shelter when the local population is active and travel when they are less active. Establish your shelter with consideration for the acronym BLISS, near a reliable water source. If you can get to your destination in a few days and a food source isn’t readily available, forgo it, however if the travel will be extended, attempt to find a food source that doesn’t require cooking.

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