Overcrowding of boats or rafts: The senior officer or petty officer in charge of a raft or boat is responsible for ensuring it does not capsize or overturn due to overcrowding. If too many personnel are in the boat or raft, they must be shifted to another less crowded craft. Shift personnel from boat to boat PRIOR to entering water.
Rotating personnel in the water with regard to time and water temperature: When in cold water, everyone must get into the craft as soon as possible. If it is necessary to stay in the water, keep arms and legs moving to prevent numbness, which can occur in as little as 30 seconds. Personnel in the water should be rotated every 5 minutes in moderate temperatures, and more frequently when the water temperature is lower. Hypothermia, a condition where the body loses too much heat, may set in if a person remains in the water too long.
Food and water conservation: Survival at sea depends upon your knowledge, your self-control, and your training. The time to find out as much as possible about survival and rescue at sea is before you abandon ship not after you find yourself in the water. The one absolutely essential requirement for survival is drinking water. Without it, death will most likely occur in 8 to 12 days. Normally, a person needs about 2 quarts of water a day, but because of inactivity and lack of food, persons in a lifeboat can survive on as little as 6 ounces per day. If water is scarce, eat sparingly. Do not drink your entire daily water ration at one time, it is better to drink small amounts three or four times daily. Do not take any food or water the first 24 hours. Food is much less important for survival. With water, a person can survive for 4 weeks or longer without food. Never discard any article that will hold water. Cover all open containers to slow down evaporation, and use those open containers first. During the rain, drink all you can hold. NEVER drink seawater under any circumstances.
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