How To Make Seawater Drinkable On a Desert Island

If you ever find yourself stranded on a desert island, the ability to make seawater drinkable could be your saving grace. 

This article will explore how to make seawater drinkable on a desert island. Turning seawater into fresh drinking water using simple items could potentially save your life.

To make seawater drinkable on a desert island, build a small fire and place the 1-gallon pot filled with saline water over it. Place a medium-sized rock in the quart pot and set that inside of the larger one to keep it from floating. Cover everything tightly with plastic wrap secured by a string, then monitor until condensation gathers on its interior surface. This is clean water which should drip into an inner pot as saltwater evaporates from outside – repeat the process until you have enough for drinking!


Let’s dig in.

Why Salt Water is Dangerous

Saltwater is dangerous because it contains high levels of salt, which can harm humans. Salt is an essential mineral for the body and helps regulate fluid balance in cells and aid digestion. However, when consumed in excess amounts or used on a regular basis without proper hydration, salt can become toxic and cause serious health problems. 

The most common effect of consuming large quantities of salty water is dehydration due to osmosis imbalance across cell membranes caused by excessive sodium concentration outside them relative to inside them. 

This results in the loss of fluids out of those cells into extracellular space where they are not replaced quickly enough leading eventually even towards death if left untreated long enough. 

Additionally, electrolyte imbalances such as hypernatremia (elevated blood concentrations) may also occur making one feel weak with a headache, nausea/vomiting, confusion, dizziness, fatigue, and more. 

These are all symptoms associated with overconsumption of any form of too much salinity when drinking ocean water. This happens especially fast, so if you drank plain a lot of saline water, go get medical treatments!  

High doses have been reported to cause kidney failure coma paralysis cardiac arrhythmias seizures blindness, and even death.

Note: Filtering water and desalination are two completely different things

Myth: Boiling Saltwater Will Somehow Make It Drinkable

This is a false belief that persists, despite the fact it has been proven to be untrue time and again. The truth of the matter is that boiling salt water will not render it drinkable in any way whatsoever; instead, desalination needs to take place for this purpose. 

To begin, when you boil salt water all you are doing is evaporating off some of its content. 

But because only pure H2O turns into steam during the evaporation process (as opposed to saline or other substances), what remains behind after the condensation process happens does nothing more than make your original salty solution even “saltier” since these dissolved impurities concentrate further. 

They become evermore concentrated due to their lower relative volume now versus before heating took place. In addition, no amount of boiling can change chemical composition from salinity back to fresh water.  

This means if drinking was the goal one should look elsewhere to make saltwater drinkable.If you would like to learn how to find water, check out our How to Find Water in the Wild.

How to Make Salt Water Drinkable On a Desert Island

To use this method, you need to make a small fire so that the water does not boil over when it is placed over the fire. This is critical because if the water boils, everything will be ruined. 

If you need to know how to make a fire, check out how to start a fire in the wild. The fire should be constructed so that the large pot can sit level on the embers.

First, set the 1-gallon pot on top of the embers. Place the medium-sized rock in the quart pot and the 1-quart pot in the center of the larger pot. 

Then, once the saline water is added to the larger pot, the rock must be heavy enough to keep the smaller pot from floating. Fill the large pot with seawater until it reaches just below the brim of the smaller inner pot.

Take the plastic sheet and loosely but completely cover the top of the larger pot. Tie the string around the plastic and the pot to make a complete seal. Place the smaller rock in the center of the plastic sheet, so it is directly over the center of the inner pot.

Monitor the still so the water does not erupt into a rolling boil, which may upset the inner pot. As the saltwater heats, notice how small drops of condensation gathering on the inside of the plastic sheet. This is clean water that should run down the depressed plastic sheet and drip into the inner pot.

When the water in the outer pot is completely evaporated, remove the still from the heat. The salt from the saline will remain at the bottom of the inner pot. The process can be repeated until you have enough water.

Alternative Method

The solar still method is another way to make seawater drinkable with just a few simple items. To use this method, you will need plastic sheeting that’s larger than the container of sea water, some rocks and containers for collecting clean drinking water. 

Start by digging in an area where there is no direct sunlight so as not to overheat your setup; place the salted seawater into one container and put it inside the center of your dug-out pit or hole. 

Place smaller stones around it on all sides until they form a wall holding up your plastic tarpaulin securely above everything else — be sure to leave enough space between each rock for air circulation! 

Finally set up two containers outside of this makeshift frame at opposite ends from each other (so that condensed vapors can run down towards them). 

As heat rises during daylight hours, evaporated steam should condense against the underside of the tarp and collect within those collection vessels – allowing you access to fresh potable drinking water without ever having boiled anything!

To Conclude

Now that you have learned how to turn seawater into drinkable water for survival.

Please consider following us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest (Pin), and Instagram. Also, consider sharing this content and subscribing to get 255 free e-books or six free checklists.

Also, be sure to check out some of our other articles, if you liked this one:

1 thought on “How To Make Seawater Drinkable On a Desert Island”

  1. I found out that Life Straw does not remove salt or hazardous substances from polluted water or seawater. Desalinators can create drinking water from saltwater do. I looked it up, and Amazon sells it for roughly $250- $300. It was nice to read about how to make seawater drinkable without having to spend a ton!


Leave a Comment