How to Survive on a Desert Island

A desert island might have its own challenges but being close to the sea, having natural warmth and an abundant supply of food will all contribute to making your survival more likely than if you had found yourself washed up on an uninhabited polar coastline.

Don’t panic

The first thing to remember, if you find yourself alone and in a survival situation, is that a positive and optimistic frame of mind can be the difference between life and death.

Before you head to shore, it can be a good idea to gather up any supplies or materials near you. There may be useful items floating on the waters surface that will help you survive and await rescue. Try to look for anything you can use before heading to shore.

Finding fresh, drinkable water should be a top priority upon discovering that you are stranded. If the weather is very cold or very wet, build a shelter first.


Never drink water from the sea. Even though you are surrounded by waters, drinking it may cause even death. These are the effects the sea water may have over your body:

– Blood pressure
– Heart rate
– Physiological changes
– Excessive thirst
– Brain damage
– Loss of consciousness
– Inability of making decisions
– Kidney failure
– Death

Look around the island for a good shelter spot; if you have found fresh water, put your shelter within easy walking distance. If you have a raft, you can lean it up against a rock wall, dense bush or thick tree to make an instant shelter.

Building a fire not only keeps you warm, but it will help to signal any rescue planes that are flying overhead. If you have glasses, binoculars, or a camera, use the lens to concentrate the rays on the tinder to ignite it. Then blow when it starts smoking. Otherwise, your best alternative is to use the “Fire-Plow” method.


Your best source of food will most likely be the fish in the shallow areas surrounding the beach. The surrounding water should be shallow enough to walk through and look for fish.

In order to catch the fish, the easiest technique is to use spear fishing. Create a long spear from one of the branches you find on the island. Make the tip as sharp and long as possible, but be sure that the stick is long enough to throw and that it has some weight.