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How to survive a night on a deserted beach

There’s nobody around, it’s just you against the elements… how do you survive?

By Charlotte
Imagine the following scenario. You’ve got into trouble and washed up with your sailing dinghy on the shores of a deserted beach. It’s getting late, and the seas are rough. There’s nobody around – no place you can go to get food or shelter. It’s just you against the elements, and you’ve got to survive. Worse still, you didn’t plan for this eventuality. You’ve got no tent, no sleeping bag, no stove, and no extra water. Somehow you’ve got to survive the night on the beach. How do you do it? Check out these ultimate survival tips.

Use Your Boat’s Sail For Warmth

So you don’t have a sleeping bag – no problem. When it comes to survival, it’s all about taking advantage of the resources that you have at your disposal. That sail on your boat? It could come in handy. Carefully de-rig it, making sure that you don’t rip it (you may need to use it again) and use it as a make-shift blanket/sleeping bag. As night draws in, you’ll need to wrap up warm quickly, especially if you have the misfortune of landing on a beach in northern climes where nighttime temperatures can fall below zero.

Use Your Life Jacket As A Pillow

You might not have a pillow or sleeping bag with you, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t have anywhere to place your head as you try to get a nights’ sleep. The inflatable life jacket on your boat is the perfect solution, ergonomically designed to hold up your head in a comfortable position. Inflate it using the manual inflation straw so that you preserve the CO2 canister, and you’ve got a lovely pillow!

Find Shelter

Staying on the beach might not be a good idea thanks to the exposure to wind and rain and the threat from the tide. If possible, head inland so that you can find shelter. You don’t have a tent with you, so you’ll have to construct it from the materials you have to hand. The most basic option is a teepee shelter, created from a tripod of branches and then covered in foliage to keep out the worst of the weather. Again, your sails may well come in useful here to create another layer of covering.

Start A Fire

If you’ve got a lighter on your boat, then you’re in luck: you’ve got a tool you can use to start a fire. But if you don’t have matches or a lighter, what can you do to create warmth and provide a place to cook? Check your items for glasses, binoculars or any optic tool that could focus the sun’s rays. Find dry tinder and experiment with focusing light at different angles to create a flame. But it’s getting late, and the sun isn’t strong anymore. Fear not, you can also use the fire-plough method to create a fire. Cut a groove in some softwood, place dry hardwood timber shavings at the end of the depression and use a stick to create friction and heat. The shavings should eventually light, but it won’t be easy.

Find Fresh Water

You might be next to the sea, but finding water you can actually drink can be a challenge on a deserted beach. You can collect rainwater in anything that you might have to hand, including large leaves. There may also be sources of fresh water around, such as streams or brooks. Make sure you boil any freshwater you collect if possible. If there is no rain or freshwater around, you can also create something called a “solar water still” which works by collecting condensation and funnelling it into a bucket.

“When it comes to survival, it’s all about taking advantage of the resources that you have around you.”