Modern warfare creates a situation whereby frequently small numbers and less frequently large numbers of naval, military or civilian personnel are suddenly cast on the seas to survive as best they can in small life craft. World War I saw submarine warfare initiated on a major scale for the first time. The present war, however, sees submarine activities and mine laying, together with the proved additional deadly instrument of aerial attack, all conducted simultaneously on the seven seas on a scale hitherto unknown.
Survival at sea after forced abandonment of a ship in an intact standard lifeboat is contingent on two major factors: (a) timely rescue or (b) the ability to make land. The first factor is self explanatory. The second is controlled by several subfactors (a) ability to combat exposure and exhaustion, (b) the meteorological conditions such as weather, tide, currents and wind, (c) availability of motive power: (1)
BRADISH RF, EVERHART MW, McCORD WM, WITT WJ. SOME PHYSIOLOGIC ASPECTS OF THE USE OF SEA WATER TO RELIEVE DEHYDRATION. JAMA. 1942;120(9):683–685. doi:10.1001/jama.1942.02830440025006