Here’s a great story from Prevention about how one man survived 20 hours at sea after he fell overboard from his fishing boat, 25 miles from shore in the Gulf of Mexico, without a life jacket, by treading water and using his old Navy training:
Bill Durden was on a roll. He’d just caught two good-sized groupers and tossed his line back into the water when he felt it snag on the bottom of his boat. The engine, he realized, wasn’t in neutral. Durden gave the rod a good tug. It yanked him right back, pulling him out of his flip flops, off the back of the boat, and into the Gulf of Mexico – 25 miles from shore.
As Durden broke through the surface – gasping for air – he watched his unmanned boat orbit around him on a path that moved further and further away. Locking his eyes on the white hull, he tried to swim back to it as quickly as possible. But between the motor, which was still running at three or four knots, and the wind, it was hopeless. Within minutes, it was gone. Read more: