General Question

PriceisRightx26's avatar

How do you survive a sinking ship?

Asked by PriceisRightx26 (1255points) May 26th, 2014

Assuming you’re not inside the ship/ferry when it submerges; If you know it’s sinking, is it better to jump off as soon as possible (and swim far away as fast as you can) or to wait until the ship gets closer to the water and then jump?

Two things to consider:
1A) Some ships are very tall, which would mean a long drop [which can still kill you (I’m not sure if there’s some kind of construction guideline in effect that considers that specifically, therefore keeping the drop-distance at a safe level)].
1B) If you have to jump from something high, do you dive, cannon bomb, or try to stay straight, with your feet first?
2) I would suspect that waiting puts you at higher risk of being pulled under with the boat (not enough time to get a safe distance away from the vessel before it completely submerges).

Also, if you do happen to get stranded because of a situation like this, should you just hang out and hope that someone finds you? I’d imagine that a distress signal would be sent out and alert an ERT.

*I haven’t considered lifeboats, so if someone wants to comment on that aspect, I’d be interested in listening (I’m curious to see the whole of a situation like this).
**You can thank me and anyone who gives a good answer if this information saves your life one day :)

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9 Answers

kritiper's avatar

Get a life jacket on, or find something good to float on, then get some booze, drink it until you’re totally bombed, then jump in or on your float when the ship is half sunk.

Seek's avatar

In case of emergency, my husband serves as a flotation device.

PriceisRightx26's avatar

I am so anti-life jackets it’s not even funny (unless I’m at risk for hypothermia). Not for everyone, just personally. All they do is impair my movement. Plus, I have great buoyancy :p

antimatter's avatar

Gather as much fresh water as possible, anything that can float including a life jacket. Jump off feet first at thirty feet you may still be okay. If you don’t want to jump. Find the gangway and lower that into the water or drop the anchor and climb down the anchor chain. To stay warm a wetsuit may help. Or like all normal people find a life raft.

PriceisRightx26's avatar

What’s a “normal people?”


antimatter's avatar

The ones that heads for a life raft…

stanleybmanly's avatar

Just too many variables. The rate at which the ship is sinking. The location of the ship (50 feet off the pier at Santa Monica or in the middle of the North Atlantic in January), the size of the ship (availability of provisions and lifeboats). The odds of survival for a man in a lifeboat compared to the guy adrift in a life jacket—-well no need to even talk about it.

Jonesn4burgers's avatar

Don’t put on a flotation device if you are going to jump. You throw the ring, jacket, or whatever, then jump, and put it on in the water. In the Navy, we were taught how to use our work uniform for floatation. It involves stripping to the skivvies, and tieing some knots while treading. It is actually easy. To jump, especially from very high, you want to be super straight; with toes pointed, ankles crossed, and for men, hands cupped to keep goodies from being ripped away. This protects your body, but shoots you so deep, you need VERY strong lungs to make it all the way back to the surface..
The best scenario is to be aboarde a ship with an entire crew that can’t swim, because they will try very hard to not sink the boat.

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