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by Staff | June 26, 2019

Stranded on an Island? Here’s How to Survive and Get Rescued

Imagine being in a catastrophic accident in the midst of nowhere: a plane crash in a lonely yet unknown destination devoid of human habitation or a stormy gale hits the ship you are cruising on, and the end result…you get stuck on a deserted island with nothing except your unassuming knowledge, will, and strength to survive.

In such situation, you may be alone or even with other survivors far away from home, hotel, shelter, food, water, and most importantly safety.

Will you give in to the many dangers surrounding you? Certainly no, you MUST do something to stay alive until help comes your way!

Crash-landing and being shipwrecked on a deserted island usually seems disheartening, but fret not! In actuality, your chances of survival are quite high, especially if you follow some basic survival skills and apply them to the letter.

If you ever find yourself on a deserted island all by yourself with the possibility of being rescued uncertain, take this to heart:

  • A positive and optimistic frame of mind can make all the difference between life and death.

It is, therefore, your ability to be calm, think clearly, and adapt to the condition that you find yourself in will contribute in helping you pass through the ordeal without too much agony. Where other people would’ve given in to despair, your positive mental attitude will see you through.

How to Survive on an Island

Although a deserted island has its own challenges, having adequate supply of food, shelter, and proximity to the shore will contribute to making your survival a reality.

Here are the necessary steps you need to implement if you find yourself in such a predicament…so that you can thank your rescuers with a beam of smile in your face at the end of the day.

1. Take care of your health first.

If you find yourself on a deserted island as a result of ship wreckage or plane crash, then there is the likelihood of injury. So, your first priority is to get away from any possible danger and tend to yourself of any possible wounds or pain.

This can be done by performing simple first aid:

  • Stop the bleeding, if there is any, by placing your big thumb over the wound and holding it tight for about five minutes. This will calm and possibly stop the bleeding in a gradual manner.
  • Stabilize any other severe health problem by relaxing, lying down, and resting on a level ground. When this is done, the other situations can be taken care of.

2. Salvage as many items as possible.

Even if your ship, boat, or plane wrecked, it is still a source of many useful items to survive on the island such as empty water can, broken plastics, spoons, and many others.

Anything can be used alternatively to build shelter, beds, and even make clothes. All you have to do is to put your ingenuity to work by devising a means to use those items to create tools to aid your survival. Be your own MacGyver.

3. Look for a source of water.

Most deserted islands tend to be blessed with fresh water from streams, rainfall, dew, and waterfalls. You can make use of possible containers you found to collect rain water that falls by setting them out in the open. Alternatively, you can use large leaves to collect drops of rain and funnel them into a container.

If the island has a lot of vegetation including palms and coconut trees, then there will be plenty of water.

If the island is only occupied with sand, you have the option of using the sea as a source of water. Obviously, drinking seawater is lethal to your health; therefore, making of solar water still which helps to convert salt water into distilled water becomes necessary. Here is how to go about it:

1. Dig a hole that is about 3 feet both in depth and in width – deep enough to fit a bucket in it.

2. Put a container in the center of that hole.

3. Fill the edges and gaps surrounding the container with wet leaves.

4. Place a plastic sheet over the hole you dug and large rocks at the edges of the hole to keep the plastic sheet firm.

5. Now, put a medium-weight rock in the center of the plastic just above the container.

6. Condensation will take place underneath the plastic sheet when the sun heats the walls and water-drops will run directly to the center, which will fall into the container filling it with distilled water you can drink.

4. Construct a shelter.

Having a shelter is very essential to your survival. You need a place to rest as well as protect yourself from harmful elements. In view of this, you need to construct a temporary shelter such as a “lean-to” shelter while waiting for any available help.

How do you achieve this?

1. Find a tree with a large-horizontal branch low enough for you to lean (bend) another branch on the other end of the tree.

2. Place smaller branches along the length of the big branch in a perpendicular direction and cover the whole structure with large leaves and foliage.

This temporary shelter can only last for at least two weeks before the leaves and foliage begin to decay.

Alternatively, you can build a more permanent shelter if help is not forthcoming as soon as possible and if you plan to stay on the island much longer. This type of shelter is called the “tipi.”

The following steps will help you to construct this kind of shelter.

1. Get up to 20 pieces of long branches of a tree. Make sure that these branches are very thick.

2. Create a tripod structure by sticking three of the branches into the ground with the other ends meeting together at the top. Use something to tie or hold the top-ends together if you can.

3. Place the remaining branches around the tripod in a circular form while creating a free area for your entrance.

4. Look for the largest and biggest leaves and use them as cover for the entire structure.

As a tip, make sure you sleep off the ground while in the shelter, so create a foundation inside as well.

5. Make a fire.

The making of a fire will not only keep you warm, but it will help you alert any rescuer flying above or ship cruising along to come to your rescue. This will require you to build the structure and then light it up.

Here is how you can do that without any hassles.

1. Look for dry tree branches of many sizes, tinder, as well as twigs and gather them in a particular location.

2. Make a tipi-shape structure using the smaller twigs and place the tinder in the center of the structure.

3. Look for camera lens, glasses, or binoculars; use any one of them to direct the rays on the tinder to ignite it and blow it immediately when it starts smoking.

Alternatively, there is another option called the “fire plow method.” This is how to perform it:

1. Look for a soft wood, cut a groove or hole at the base, and place some tinder around the cut.

2. Using a hard stick in your hand as if you were rubbing your hands together, plow (in a circular motion) up and down the groove in order to create friction.

3. When this is done, the tinder will begin to smolder.

4. Blow on it to fasten the fire-catching process and place other small twigs on top once the fire ignites to help the fire stabilize and grow.

6. Look for food.

It is likely that your major food source will be the fishes in bodies of stream. The streams should be shallow enough to allow you walk through and look for fishes.

1. The simplest way to catch the fishes is to use a spear. This is how to fashion a spear to use for fishing.1Look for a long branch of a tree on the island, take it to any rock around you, and squeeze one of the thinner ends against the rock until it becomes pointed and sharp. Also, you can use any sharp object such as a piece of broken bottle or strong glass to thin and sharpen one end of the stick. Make sure that the spear is a bit heavy and long enough to throw.

2. Now, stand near or on top of something like a within the stream. This will less likely to alarm the fishes and give you the perfect view of their movement in water; however, if you want to walk in the water, do so ever so gently to not frighten the fishes.

3. Hold the spear firmly a little above the water, then quickly extend your arm and strike the fish by throwing the spear directly onto the head when the fish settle in a particular spot.

4. You can prepare the captured fishes by either roasting them – placing them by the sides of the fire you made, allowing hot air to evenly pass through them or cooking them through boiling.

7. Getting rescued.

The fire you made in step 5 above will be the strongest indicator to rescuers who are looking for you, but you can always do more.


  • You should look for a way to create a “HELP” or “SOS” message in the sand to further increase your chances of being found.
  • Look for tree branches that are large and use them to spell the letters “HELP” or “SOS” at a strategic location where it will be visible for airplane flying overhead to see.


So there you have – the key basics of staying alive if you ever do find yourself stranded on a deserted island, but the good news is, the chance of that happening is as slim as winning the lottery. But hey, it doesn’t hurt to have some knowledge to be better prepared, if it ever occurs.

(Disclaimer: The information presented here was intended for entertainment purposes only. The writer takes no responsibility for the actions of the reader or how the information is utilized.)

by Staff

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