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February 3, 1945


JAMA. 1945;127(5):278. doi:10.1001/jama.1945.02860050026009

Water is the primary need for survival on a raft at sea. A man who ingests ample water but not food can, as pointed out by Ivy and his associates,1 survive twenty to thirty days, provided he is not subjected to physical strain, to which fasting renders him unduly susceptible. An adult may survive lack of food for forty or more days under favorable conditions. The longest recorded period of survival at sea without water is eleven days. Ivy2 points out that the space and weight which can be allowed to life saving gear aboard military aircraft is naturally limited. The parachute and rubber raft are most important, and next water. This lack of space has made water packed in cans inadequate.

With the opening of the Naval Medical Research Institute in October 1942, further investigations were undertaken. The suggestion that sea water could be ingested at a