We’ll show you here, the basic skills you would need, or find helpful to survive in case of getting lost or stranded on a deserted tropical island. They are:
* Starting a Fire
* Making a Shelter
* Getting Food
* Getting Water
Before starting, we’ll have to know the three basic survival priorities, often called as the “Rule of Three”:
1. Humans cannot survive more than three hours exposed to extreme low-temperature.
2. Humans cannot survive more than three days without water.
3. Humans cannot survive more than three weeks without food.
Although this is only an estimate, and it also depends on the situation you’re in, and depends on person to person, you should always have this in mind.
Knowing, and learning the survival skills would mean increasing the chances of surviving in the survival situation, in this case, on a deserted tropical island. This is why we advise you to know and learn the skills.
Fire Making Skill
Fire is one of the most important things you would need in survival. Fire provides heat and light. Heat can be useful, as it allows the body to be warmed, wet clothes to be dried, water to be purified, and food to be cooked. Fire also keeps away wild creatures, and so you can have a peace rest at night. And last of all, fire and smoke can be used for signaling very long distances.
First of all, you have to understand what four things are needed to start a fire and keep it burning:
1. Fuel including wood, gasoline, coal, dried animal dung, alcohol, or other material that burns.
2. Heat, for example that initially provided by a match or rubbing two sticks together.
3. Oxygen from the surrounding air that is consumed during the burning process.
So how do you actually start a fire?
Of course, the easiest and the simplest way to make fire, is having special survival kit like a waterproof match, lighter or flint and steel. You can start a fire easily with those and they are also small so easy to bring. Light the tinder with fire, and you will have a controlled fire (picture on right shows how to start a fire with flint and steel). If you have a high level of fire making skill, it is possible to start a fire from rubbing two sticks together. Though this is not really reliable, because the sticks have to be dry, and you have to make the devices first, so it takes much longer time. However it is possible that your waterproof matches don’t work, or you lose your lighter. If you want to know exactly how to start a fire with things you can find, read “Starting a Fire yourself”.
Starting a Fire yourself (Using things you can find)
Things you need (You would usually be able to find these things quite easily on a deserted island.)
* A drill
Looks like this: v Can be made by strong dry wood. Just sharpen both sides. Make sure that one side is sharpened really well, like the right side of this picture!
Basically, anything that’s dry! Examples are dried mosses and shredded plant fibers.
Lots of firewood. You should collect different sizes (thickness and length).
* A bow
Looks like this: v Use slightly bendable wood, but also has to be stiff enough to not bend when you’re using it. Make it about 60cm long. Use as thin a piece of wood as you can so the bow will be as light as possible. Attach the shoelace (or whatever you can find, which works) to each end of the bow. You need a little slack in the shoelace so that you can twist the drill into the bow. Once the drill is in the bow, the tension should be nice and firm.
Looks like this v the fireboard needs to be some kind of light and dry wood.
Your socket can be made of bone, wood, or rock. If you’re really lucky you’ll find a rock that you can easily hold in your hand, and that has a nice smooth dimple in it, that will take the pencil-sharp end of your drill. You have to be able to hold it and control it. The socket should be small enough for you to comfortably hold in your hand, but big enough that your fingers don’t wrap all the way around it and touch the drill as it’s turning. It is best to make the socket out of hardwood if possible.
Now it’s time to combine everything together. Put the fireboard on the ground, and put your foot (use left foot if you’re right handed) on the board. Kneel on your right knee. Hold the bow in your right hand, and the drill in your left. Put the drill on top of the string with the sharper end pointing right, and twist it into the bow. Put the sharp end of the drill on the crater. Put the socket on the drill on the other side. Grab as close to the end of the bow as you can. Put some downward pressure on the socket and start to pull back and forth on the bow. This is where you need skills. (Usually, it’ll go wrong, if you’re first time doing this. If it goes wrong, you should try tightening or loosening the bow.) You’ll have to now saw back and forth with the bow faster and faster, and put more and more pressure on the socket, and finally you’ll get some black powder around the bottom of the drill, and some smoke. If you got smoke coming out, stop and pick up the fireboard. Now carefully, drop the black powder with smoke onto the tinder (the tinder can be on a newspaper or anything that’s dry and flat). You should blow air gently onto the smoke and help the tinder to ignite. If it does, you’ve made it!
Building a Shelter
Shelter protects your body from the outside environment, including cold, heat, rain, the sun, the wind (unlikely on a deserted island) snow, and wild creatures/ insects. A shelter also allows you to sleep peacefully.
There are many types of shelters; from natural shelters, such as caves, to a man-made shelter such as a debris shelter. You should bring a space blanket or a tarp with you, because these things would help you make your shelter easily.
On a deserted island, you should probably look for caves, or a huge tree. If you find a cave, you should check it first, because there might be snakes or scorpions living inside it. When making any kind of shelter, it’s the best to make it small, so that the heat stays inside. You can also make a tent using leaves or parts of the wreck, or, alternatively find temporary shelter under trees.
Be sure to bring extra water with you all the time. You can go without food for a number of days, but you would only be able to live without water for on average three days. A lack of water can cause dehydration, which may result in lethargy, headaches, dizziness, confusion, and eventually death. However, even if you find water at any kind of place, you should think that the water is not clean, as disease organisms maybe living in even the cleanest looking water. That’s why it is very important to know how to make your water clean. The best ways in purifying your water are boiling (picture on the right), filtering, chemical treatment, solar water disinfection and distillation. However, if you can’t do any of these, and if it looks clean, it is still preferable to drink it anyway.
Never drink blood or urine (pee). They will make you even thirstier. Also, don’t drink alcohol, as it can lower body temperatures and cause other problems for survivors.
You should remind yourself to drink, every hour and even if you don’t feel like it, force yourself to drink. If your urine becomes dark colored, this is an indication of dehydration..
You will have to find water where you can, in a survival situation. Usually, on a deserted island, it is easy to get water from the sea, and then just purify it. If you can’t get access to sea water, dew can be collected off surfaces and plants.
You can also try digging. If you dig deep enough into sandy soil you will come across water. Collect the water using a leaf from a tree or a shell.
Humans can survive several weeks without food. However, not eating food for long can bring many consequences before it causes death:
* Irritability and low morale
* Loss of mental clarity, such as confusion, disorientation, or poor judgment
* Weakened immune system
* Increasing difficulty in maintaining body temperature
You need more knowledge, skills and equipment to get food than getting clean water. For example, you need knowledge to find out which plants are eatable (the picture on the right is a plant that’s eatable. It might not look like it, but it is). You also need equipment for hunting, such as net, bows, or harpoon. We advise you to learn about the dangerous plants to eat, and skills for hunting before you find yourself in a survival situation.