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View Full Version : How far could you swim, for your life?



Maui Mike
March 4th, 2009, 11:28 PM
This boating incident with the NFL players raises the question of when would it be appropriate to leave a capsized boat (violating a prime safety rule) and attempt to swim to shore? I'm sure many of the people on this forum would do just fine only a mile from shore in reasonable seas, and I'm also sure some would feel safe going for it at even longer distances. I'm curious, what's your threshold?

Bobinator
March 4th, 2009, 11:38 PM
I think I could swim indefinitely unless, a shark attacked me, I ran out of fuel (calories), or if the water was below 66 degrees. :bouncing:

Rykno
March 5th, 2009, 01:03 AM
I have no idea, but I am guessing over 10km (~6miles), since I've done two 10,000 yd swims in the pool with out eating or drinking.

I guess it would be more a factor of the water temp like Bobinator mentioned, or energy.

what was I doing on the boat, was I drinking then maybe I would think I could make it 5km but not really.

I guess it would also depend on was I only thinking of myself, or would I try to pull a family member or 3 along with me. put then on something that floats and pull them after me, not sure I could make it that far.

jbs
March 5th, 2009, 09:27 AM
While cold would definitely be a factor, I would think the larger one would be line of sight. Even if you are used to open water swimming, it can be hard to maintain a straight line. I'm not sure how you would keep straight if all you have around you is water and more water. And even if you could maintain a straight line, without something to sight off of it is hard to gauge how the current, etc. is affecting your course. Plus, if you are going to leave a boat voluntarily, you want to be absolutely sure that you are aiming at land--and preferably the closest land. It can be hard enough for rescuers to find boats in the water, much less something as small as a single swimmer.

More to the point, here's hoping that none of us ever find ourselves in that situation.

jim clemmons
March 5th, 2009, 11:37 AM
While cold would definitely be a factor, I would think the larger one would be line of sight. Even if you are used to open water swimming, it can be hard to maintain a straight line. I'm not sure how you would keep straight if all you have around you is water and more water. And even if you could maintain a straight line, without something to sight off of it is hard to gauge how the current, etc. is affecting your course. Plus, if you are going to leave a boat voluntarily, you want to be absolutely sure that you are aiming at land--and preferably the closest land. It can be hard enough for rescuers to find boats in the water, much less something as small as a single swimmer.

More to the point, here's hoping that none of us ever find ourselves in that situation.

Without a reference point, it's been documented (somewhere, don't recall where I read it) that we would all swim in a circle. Some a larger circle than others, but in a circle nonetheless. Stay with the vessel unless you can see your goal.

Maui Mike
March 5th, 2009, 11:45 AM
Famous big wave surfer Eddie Aikau disappeared at sea when the Polynesian voyaging canoe Hokulea capsized and he left on a surfboard to paddle to land, only a few miles away through fairly warm water. Eddie was famous for going out on huge days on Oahu's north shore and chalked up more than a few rescues of less accomplished watermen. They've named a select, invitation only, big wave surf contest "The Eddie" and you see bumper stickers all over the islands saying "Eddie would go!" But, as Jim pointed out, there is a prime rule of boating safety and a better bumper sticker would be,
"Eddie should have stayed with the boat."

Karen Duggan
March 5th, 2009, 11:46 AM
During one pregnancy I had a conversation with my husband about what would happen if our car went into the SF Bay and the kids were in their car seats! Cheery huh? (hormones were a raging). I thought if I could get them out of their car seats I could float and hold them, but I was scared I couldn't and they would drown. (Luckily, for me now, 3 out of 4 can swim!)

My hubby, Mr. Navy (ret. Lt. JG), told me that if I were ever in that position that I could use my shirt as a floating device. Just fill it up with air and it would assist me.

Don't care to ever try it but it brought me peace fo mind. : ]

To answer the question: circumstances I guess. Sharks bad, cold water bad, dehydration bad, but I'd bet I could swim (with rest of course) as far as I needed to if the other things weren't huge factors. Of course if there's a boat to hold on to... duh.

Couroboros
March 5th, 2009, 11:58 AM
How far could I go?

Far enough! Yeah, that's right.

DolphinGirl
March 5th, 2009, 02:29 PM
Provided the temperature didn't get me, I'd start survival floating and save my energy

Ripple
March 5th, 2009, 02:30 PM
Staying with the boat is the best idea, unless it's sinking fast and creating a big sucking vortex. Distances can be deceiving on the water (things seem to look closer than they really are), so even if I saw land, I'd have to think very carefully about trying to swim to it.

Couroboros
March 5th, 2009, 08:25 PM
Didn't Clint Eastwood kind of have a situation like this? When he was in Korea, his plane got downed or something and he had to swim several miles to shore...

chaos
March 5th, 2009, 09:06 PM
to the nearest floating tiki bar (i have them all programed into my wristwatch/gps unit)

ddl
March 5th, 2009, 11:20 PM
In such situations, do people usually swim freestyle? Would it be better to swim a style that can keep the face out of water, such as backstroke (could even be elementary) or breaststroke with head above water?

scyfreestyler
March 6th, 2009, 12:02 AM
I think it would depend upon whether or not you had a B70 on hand, no? :D

Karen Duggan
March 6th, 2009, 12:11 AM
With a B70 you might look like a tasty seal!