This is a list of the most important things to remember if you are shipwrecked. The list comes from Yan Martel’s prize-winning novel, Life of Pi.
1. Always read instructions carefully
2. Do not drink urine. Or sea water. Or bird blood
3. Do not eat jellyfish. Or fish that have spikes. Or fish that have parrot like beaks. Or that puff up like balloons.
4. Pressing the eyes of fish will paralyse them
5. The body can be heroic in battle; if a castaway is injured, beware of well-meaning, but ill-founded, medical treatment. Ignorance is the worst doctor, while rest and sleep are the best nurses.
6. Put your feet up at least 5 minutes every hour
7. Unnecessary exertion should be avoided. But an idle mind tends to sing, so the mind should be kept occupied with whatever light distraction may suggest itself. Playing card games, twenty questions and I spy are excellent distractions.
8. Green water is shallower than blue water
9. Beware of far-off clouds that look like mountains. Look for green. Ultimately, a foot is the only good judge of land.
10. Do not go swimming. It wastes energy. Besides, a survival craft may drift faster than you can swim. Not to mention the danger of sea life. If you are hot, wet your clothes instead.
11. Do not urinate in your clothes. The momentary warmth is not worth the nappy rash.
12. Shelter yourself. Exposure can kill faster than thirst or hunger.
13. As long as no excessive water is lost through perspiration, the body can survive up to 14 days without water. If you are thirsty, suck a button.
14. Turtles are an easy catch and make for excellent meals. Their blood is a good, nutritious, salt-free drink; their flesh is tasty and filling; their fat has many uses; and the castaway will find turtle eggs a real treat. Mind the beak and the claws.
15. Don’t let your morale flag. Be daunted but not defeated. Remember: the spirit, above all else, counts. If you have the will to live, you will. Good luck!