Many people are under the false impression that surviving in the tropics, such as on a beach, will be much easier than surviving in a more “brutal” environment such as a desert or high in the mountains.
But in reality, any wilderness survival situation of any kind is going to challenge you and really put you through your paces. And if you’re admittedly one of those people who believes that surviving in a tropical environment is going to be easy… well, you should realize that there are some pretty serious mistakes you can make.
Here are the top mistakes to avoid when surviving in the tropics:
Not Building a Shelter
Why do you need to build a shelter on a tropical beach? After all, if anything, you could just sleep right out on the beach by the crashing waves.
Just remember that the purpose of a shelter is to protect you from the elements. And there are many elements in a tropical beach environment that you will need protection from, including wind, rain, and especially the sun.
For this reason, building a shelter to shield yourself from each of those things should be a top priority for you.
Not Building a Fire
You may likewise not see the point in building a fire in a tropical environment, especially if it’s already warm outside.
But fire has many other uses beyond keeping you warm. It also gives you light in darkness and the ability to cook food and boil water. Granted, you won’t need to cook any fruits or coconuts you manage to find, and you won’t need to boil water you collect from the rain; but if you catch any fish you’ll need to cook them, and any freshwater collected from a ground source will need to be boiled to make sure it’s safe.
Relaxing Over Surviving
Just because you’re on a beach doesn’t mean that you need to be spending your time relaxing in the sun. You’re in a survival situation after all, which means that civilization is either many miles away or worse: you’re stranded on a deserted island. With that in mind, getting back to somewhere of safety needs to be your number one goal, which leads us on to our next point.
Not Signaling for Help
If you do find yourself stranded on a deserted island, you may think that the very best thing to do is to build a crudely-made raft and then sail out in the hope of finding a ship or something (such as in the movie Cast Away).
But in reality, a far more effective thing to do is to bring help to you, and you can accomplish this by building a signal of some kind. For instance, you could gather green brush, throw it into a pile on the highest point on the island, and then light it up. This would create thick white smoke that would be visible for many, many miles.
Not Sticking to the Beach
If you find yourself stranded on a beach but are on the mainland or a civilized island and are NOT on a deserted island, then hacking your way through the jungle in an attempt to find civilization will be foolhardy.
Instead, stick to the beach or near to the beach (so that it’s always within eyesight) as you travel. Eventually, even if it’s several days or weeks later, you will find civilization of some kind.
Not Drinking Water From a Fish
Yes, you read that right. When you catch a fish, don’t just eat the flesh and then toss the carcass away. Instead, suck moisture from both the spine and from the eyes. It won’t be much, and it may not taste like the water out of your sink or refrigerator, but it will help to keep you hydrated and that’s what matters.