If you're in the water, with or without a beacon or a PFD, there are still things you can do to better your chances. Again, Petty Officer Brugh has some thoughts on the subject, though his overboard experience is entirely voluntary. If you find yourself alone offshore, he says, "Conserve your energy." Don't swim after the boat or futilely chase a ring buoy drifting away in a strong wind. Keep your arms and knees near your chest and head out of the water to reduce heat loss, with your back to breaking waves. If caught without a PFD, tie knots in the ends of your jacket sleeves and fill them with air. "If you have to, ditch your shoes," Brugh says, "but keep your clothes for warmth." While most people instinctively wave their arms to attract attention, "Splashing is much more visible against a blue ocean." Finally, be aware that you can last much longer than you might think; just a few months ago a Polish seaman was rescued after treading water for 21 hours without a PFD. He probably won't be taking any Swimmercise lessons at his local YMCA anytime soon, but let his survival be an inspiration to us all.