How to Create an Improvised Life Jacket

Survive in Open Water

(Modern – What water survival technique can help you survive long term if you become stranded in the middle of the ocean?

• Floating pants

• Floating shirt

• Doggie paddle

• Water glide

Answer: Floating Pants. Here’s why…

Water is necessary to sustain life, but in the wrong circumstances, it can also be deadly. Drowning is a possibility in any body of water, but if you become lost in a river or the open ocean it becomes a very real threat — especially if you don’t have a life jacket. Thankfully, if you are wearing pants, you may be better off than you think.

In the following video, America’s Navy shows how to transform a pair of pants into an improvised flotation device:

The first step to creating your flotation device is to take your pants off. Once you’ve completed this step, tie the legs into a knot near the bottom as you tread water. Zip up the fly and button the top to keep air from escaping.

There are three options at this point to inflate the pants:

  1. The Overhead Method. Hoist the pants over your head with the waist open, then thrust the opening down and into the water.
  2. The Splash Method. Hold the waist open underwater and splash air into the pants until both legs are full of air.
  3. The Underwater Breathing Method. Hold the waist underwater, then expel air from your lungs into the pants until they are full.

Once you have the pant legs inflated, you can put them around your head, giving you the ability to float without expending energy. You never know how long you will be forced to float while you wait on rescue craft to find you.

For more information on how to survive being stranded at sea, check out our article on desalinating saltwater.

~Here’s to Your Survival!

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