The idea of using trousers as an auxiliary means of keeping a man
afloat was submitted to the Office of Naval Intelligence by the
commanding officer of the Naval Training Station, San Diego, Calif. All
recruits trained at the station are taught the technique. This
technique, with illustrations, is given in the Intelligence Bulletin because
troops of all Army branches may be placed in situations where such
knowledge might mean the saving of lives.
2. THE TECHNIQUE
The first step in the process is to tie each leg of the
trousers with a suitable string or cord about 3 or 4 inches
from the bottom (study fig. 10). If no string
or cord is available, tie an overhand knot with each
leg. The trousers are then grasped in the position
commonly used for dressing and swung overhead from
the back. The man then jumps into the water, holding
the trousers at arms' length over his head. Upon
striking the water, the trousers are inflated. If time and
facilities permit, wet the trousers thoroughly before
inflation--this enables them to hold air better.
|Figure 10. Trousers Used As a Life Preserver.|
Recruits at the San Diego station are also trained
to remove their trousers while in the water and prepare
them for life preservers. The trousers are
slipped off and the overhand knot is tied in the end
of each trouser leg. The trousers are then brought
quickly over the head at arms' length, from back to
front, thereby inflating them with equal efficiency.
Tests have been made which prove that inflated
trousers will hold a man's weight in water for as long
as 2 hours. By re-inflating the trousers, the time can
be extended as long as the man can repeat the
To float or swim, after the trousers are inflated, the
man places the inverted crotch of the trousers under
his arms and chest.
Khaki cloth will hold air better than the more porous
navy blue trousers. The navy white and khaki have
about the same inflation value.