Survival: the Manual

1986 edition of the US Army FM 21-76: Survival

This mornign i ebcame the proud new owner of a 1986 Army field manual dedicated to survival in numerous situations across a variety of terrains. It’s referred to by some as FM 21-76, and it’s considered by many to be the bible of survival guides. You can find free versions online, but the book form gives the whole thing some off-the-grid gravity you just can’t emualte online.

In a bizarre coincidence, when I opened the book to scane the contents I found myself looking at the section about sharks. In particular, “surviving if you are in a raft and you sight sharks—”

  • Do not fish. If you have hooked a fish before seeing the shark, let the fish go.
  • Do not clean fish in water.
  • Do not throw waste overboard
  • Do not trail arms or legs in the water.
  • Keep still and quiet.
  • Keep hands, feet, legs, arms adn equipment inside the raft.
  • Conduct all burials as soon as possible. Wait until night if sharks are numerous.

Shark Survival tips (click for larger version)

WTF! The list was pretty palatable until that last bullet point about night burials. Jesus, survival is some macabre shit. The illustrations in this guide are priceless, and I wonder if anyone would be interested in using this as a model for an edtech field manual for surviving the Higher Ed apocalypse 🙂 THis is now officially part of my sumemr reading list.

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15 Responses to Survival: the Manual

  1. Tom says:

    Strange don’t swim at night or your more likely to be attacked by a shark but make sure you jettison your bodies then (so they can’t see where they came from?) . . .

    I would have thought eating the bodies a better idea . . .

    • Reverend says:

      I was wondering if you own a copy of this book? Perhaps I’ll bring it down on Wendesday? Fodder for our next project. This has Woodward written all over it.

      • Pat Lockley says:

        Water surface cooler at night so sharks will sink lower (tropospheres) – learnt that from Red Storm Rising 🙂

        Are you making a survive the internet manual?

        • Tom says:

          I can’t find any mention of troposphere other than in the air but I could be missing something (not that I don’t trust Tom Clancy). I’m genuinely curious. I did find some strangely titled Great White research which references the thermocline and seems to indicate that particular shark stays near the surface at night. I didn’t read enough to figure out how deep the water was in total- oceanic vs coastal.

          It does appear that many sharks move inland during the night (bad for swimming near shore, good for ditching bodies?).

    • Reverend says:

      I’m dying to go to Australia just so I can swim ina beach where the sharks are tweeting where they are. More than that, entering the water as I pass Shark Sighted sign would be my dream:

      Although, the whole recent wave of adolescent Great Whites being spotted regularly up and down the Southern California coast is pretty fascinating too. And I’ll be there shortly 🙂 I son;t know what it is, but Sharks remind me we are deeply vulnerable always.

      • Pat Lockley says:

        We only ever meet them when they are hungry though, so I suppose it’s like meeting some one rather irritable due to being hungry.

        I suspect a well fed shark could be like a dolphin except faster and doesn’t fall asleep.

  2. Kate says:

    My favourite bit of weird shark survival advice remembered from the 70s: don’t play tennis. Why? Because sharks have notoriously bad eyesight but can see contrast, and are attracted to tennis players’ untanned feet.

    End public service announcement.

  3. Pingback: Sightings | Music for Deckchairs

  4. Michael Berman says:

    “Shark attack victim stared ‘eyeball to eyeball’ with predator”

  5. Pingback: The Bloody Watters of Higher Ed | bavatuesdays

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