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July 16, 2010 – 8:47 pm

Keeping afloat

- Posted in Polystyrene Uses by Fran

Styrofoam raft used on a miraculous journey

Styrofoam raft used on a miraculous journey

It’s Friday evening, it’s been a long, wet week, and we are all looking forward to spending some time at home with our family and friends.

But spare a thought for the Cuban man who constructed this boat to enable him to flee to the United States.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents
discovered him after he apparently floated in the Caribbean Sea for 25 days in the small, seven-foot long homemade raft. When the migrant was rescued, he was severely dehydrated. A spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection said that the man was given treatment for dehydration but didn’t require hospitalisation.

If the migrant does not need emergency hospital care, then it’s possible he might be sent back to Cuba. In general, under the wet-foot/dry-foot policy, Cuban migrants intercepted at sea are sent back, but if a migrant requires hospital care, they are taken ashore and allowed to stay. After a year, the person can apply for a green card, like all migrants who reach U.S. soil.

Cuban man in his homemade boat

Cuban man in his homemade boat

Apparently, Cubans have used just about every kind of craft and material imaginable to make the 90-mile crossing to the Florida coast, including a 1951 Chevrolet pickup, a floating taxi and a wooden cargo crate.

Using Styrofoam to make this boat was a wise move as it is regularly used as a flotation device and could have acted as an insulator.
Would I trust it to to keep me afloat? Yes, I would, especially compared to a chevy pickup.

How far would you go, or what would you use to stay afloat, if you were in a similar situation?
The best comment wins their name in polystyrene foam.

(via U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Washington Post and the Miami Herald)

Post a Comment


  1. James Lawson-Smith

    Posted January 26, 2011 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

    What would I use to stay a float? In this situation I would have to say a Russian T-54 Tank! That way I would get across and the coast guard could not bother me, lol.

  2. Fran

    Posted January 26, 2011 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

    Hi James,
    Thanks for the comment.
    Your T-54 ‘craft’ is nearly as unusual as the one featured in the post. Yes, it would be unique but I don’t think they would be readily available for an escapee to use. ;-)