Survival Skills: How to Build a Raft

Survival Skills - Building a raftHow to build a raft. A raft can be a great benefit to a person lost in the woods, or stranded on an island in a lake. If you're stranded in the ocean, a raft would not be a viable choice of escape, unless you're Tom Hanks. Rafts are great for short distances, but would not stand up to ocean currents, and weeks out to sea. It also would not be able to carry enough supplies to keep you alive. However, if you simply want to stay dry while ferrying you and your supplies across a slow moving river or lake, then a simple log raft will be your perfect vehicle.

So let's figure out how it's done:

Step 1: Forage for logs of similar size and diameter; the more alike they are, the better they will fit together. A great place to look is on the banks of a river, many trees fall in, or are in the process of falling into the river from erosion caused by the current. Avoid pieces that are extremely heavy, this usually means they're waterlogged, or otherwise not of value.

Step 2: Once you've collected enough logs to provide adequate surface area for you and you're supplies, you will need four more pieces called 'braces' that help hold the raft together vertically. Keep in mind, while collecting your supplies, that you want the most stability possible; choose wisely.

Step 3: Begin to notch the logs near the ends, this will be to create a solid grip for the lashings and help keep your raft in one piece. If you have no manufactured cutting tools available, you can always find a sharp rock, or bone fragment to dig out notches with. This step is imperative, you will regret not doing it.

Step 4: Now that you have notched them out, begin tying the logs together. If you have no rope, you may have to spend some time braiding plant fibers together; but that is another topic altogether. Tie logs together two at a time, then start connecting the pairs together, this will provide extra strength in keeping the logs tied. If you were thoughtful enough to pack duct tape, go ahead and slap that on there too. You can never be too careful.

Step 5: Now, get those braces you collected earlier. These are to be placed perpendicular to the rest of the logs; one on each end, and each side. Lash these the same way you did previously. Having two braces on each side really binds the logs together and provides for a more stable raft.

Step 6: Analyze your supplies; looking for things that float. At this point you've done the best you can, but if you can gain any advantage, then take it. If you have empty, sealed plastic containers, or anything buoyant, add them.

Step 7: Now, the raft is ready for usage, but don't forget to find some kind of paddling or navigating device. Most of the time, a long, solid stick will suffice.


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