Two children from South Carolina made headlines a few weeks ago. For more specific information, check out Boy Scouts of America. They had spent six days adrift at sea before being rescued … off the coast of North Carolina. The boys, one fifteen and sixteen, were exposed in a small boat without oars, no motor, no sails, no food and no water. The fact that he had survived for six days, in these circumstances is almost a miracle. The first lesson to learn from their experience goes almost without saying: never, never, never to sail, no oars, motor, or candles. No matter how close you think you will stay on the edge, no matter how calm the sea seems, no matter how the weather is calm, you can not trust that conditions will not change.
Beyond the obvious, you need to paddle or sail, what else need to survive at sea and you have to do to maximize your chances of survival? The survival of the U.S. Army Manual has very good information on the subject of survival at sea. It First, in the words of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, is "do not panic." Check the physical state of on board everyone. Give first aid when necessary. Take seasickness pills if available as vomiting of seasickness (or otherwise) increases the risk of dehydration. Then make an inventory of all equipment, food, water, thermos jugs, containers, clothes, cushions, life jackets, and anything that may be of value. If you have an emergency radio, turn it on. Emergency signaling devices have been prepared for immediate use.