Put on an antiexposure suit. If unavailable, put on any extra clothing available. Keep clothes loose and comfortable.
Take care not to snag the raft with shoes or sharp objects. Keep the repair kit where you can readily reach it.
Rig a windbreak, spray shield, and canopy.
Try to keep the floor of the raft dry. Cover it with canvas or cloth for insulation.
Huddle with others to keep warm, moving enough to keep the blood circulating. Spread an extra tarpaulin, sail, or parachute over the group.
Give extra rations, if available, to men suffering from exposure to cold.
The greatest problem you face when submerged in cold water is death due to hypothermia. When you are immersed in cold water, hypothermia occurs rapidly due to the decreased insulating quality of wet clothing and the result of water displacing the layer of still air that normally surrounds the body. The rate of heat exchange in water is about 25 times greater than it is in air of the same temperature. Figure 16-7 lists life expectancy times for immersion in water.
Your best protection against the effects of cold water is to get into the life raft, stay dry, and insulate your body from the cold surface of the bottom of the raft. If these actions are not possible, wearing an antiexposure suit will extend your life expectancy considerably. Remember, keep your head and neck out of the water and well insulated from the cold water's effects when the temperature is below 19 degrees C. Wearing life preservers increases the predicted survival time as body position in the water increases the chance of survival.
Rig a sunshade or canopy. Leave enough space for ventilation.
Cover your skin, where possible, to protect it from sunburn. Use sunburn cream, if available, on all exposed skin. Your eyelids, the back of your ears, and the skin under your chin sunburn easily.
Most of the rafts in the U. S. Army and Air Force inventories can satisfy the needs for personal protection, mode of travel, and evasion and camouflage.
Note: Before boarding any raft, remove and tether (attach) your life preserver to yourself or the raft. Ensure there are no other metallic or sharp objects on your clothing or equipment that could damage the raft. After boarding the raft, don your life preserver again.
The one-man raft has a main cell inflation. If the CO2 bottle should malfunction or if the raft develops a leak, you can inflate it by mouth.
The spray shield acts as a shelter from the cold, wind, and water. In some cases, this shield serves as insulation. The raft's insulated bottom limits the conduction of cold thereby protecting you from hypothermia (Figure 16-8).
You can travel more effectively by inflating or deflating the raft to take advantage of the wind or current. You can use the spray shield as a sail white the ballast buckets serve to increase drag in the water. You may use the sea anchor to control the raft's speed and direction.
There are rafts developed for use in tactical areas that are black. These rafts blend with the sea's background. You can further modify these rafts for evasion by partially deflating them to obtain a lower profile.
A lanyard connects the one-man raft to a parachutist (survivor) landing in the water. You (the survivor) inflate it upon landing. You do not swim to the raft, but pull it to you via the lanyard. The raft may hit the water upside down, but you can right it by approaching the side to which the bottle is attached and flipping the raft over. The spray shield must be in the raft to expose the boarding handles. Follow the steps outlined in the note under raft procedures above when boarding the raft (Figure 16-9).
If you have an arm injury, the best way to board is by turning your back to the small end of the raft, pushing the raft under your buttocks, and lying back. Another way to board the raft is to push down on its small end until one knee is inside and lie forward (Figure 16-10).
In rough seas, it may be easier for you to grasp the small end of the raft and, in a prone position, to kick and pull yourself into the raft. When you are lying face down in the raft, deploy and adjust the sea anchor. To sit upright, you may have to disconnect one side of the seat kit and roll to that side. Then you adjust the spray shield. There are two variations of the one-man raft; the improved model incorporates an inflatable spray shield and floor that provide additional insulation. The spray shield helps keep you dry and warm in cold oceans and protects you from the sun in the hot climates (Figure 16-11).