The Bombard Story

The Bombard Story is the account of Alain Bombard’s amazing journey in 1952 across the Atlantic on a small 14-foot inflatable boat. Alain Bombard left without food or fresh water and sailed 4.400 kilometers. He lost 25 kg. but proved his point: Man can actually survive on ocean water for an extended period of time!

The Bombard Story
In this small vessel Bombard sailed across the Atlantic – without freshwater

As a doctor, Bombard was concerned about the hundreds of deaths at sea every year related to sailors drinking ocean water. He developed the theory that humans can not just survive but live for years on seawater. This sounds very strange, but his big idea was to begin drinking seawater, while you are still hydrated – and in small quantities. It turns out that saltwater is only dangerous if you are dehydrated and suddenly drink large amounts of it. – The way shipwrecked sailors typically would do when they run out of fresh water. From the book:

For some time I had made a study of the resistance of the human organism to privations and had convinced myself that it was possible for an individual to survive beyond the limits normally assigned by physiological science. I had paid particular attention to the case histories of political deportees, prisoners, and undernourished populations. But, with my background as a doctor, for whom the teachings of science remain a dead letter unless they can find practical application, my theoretical studies only seemed to lead to the question: ‘What use can made of this knowledge?’

Bombard ate spoonfuls of plankton that he collected in a fine net and he also drank juice made from pressed fish he caught along the way. Sound disgusting, but the man survived and he might have discovered an important piece of knowledge for survival on the ocean.

Download the free PDF e-book here (223 pages/38MB):

 The Bombard Story 1953


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