Bunbury survival trainer Keaton Widmer launches 'Survive it South West'

Survive It South West: Survival trainer Keaton Widmer said while no one plans to be in a survival situation, it's important to know fundamental skills on how to survive out bush. Picture: Pip Waller
Survive It South West: Survival trainer Keaton Widmer said while no one plans to be in a survival situation, it's important to know fundamental skills on how to survive out bush. Picture: Pip Waller

IT'S safe to say that most of us have witnessed Bear Grylls go to extreme lengths to survive in the 2006 reality series Man Vs Wild - including drinking his own urine.

But Bunbury's very own survival trainer Keaton Widmer, who is frequently asked if this is a way to survive dehydration, wants the community to know that it's not.

"Just don't do it," Mr Widmer laughed.

"In my experience, a lot of survival advice out there can sometimes be hazardous and the last thing you want to do is further hurt yourself while in a survival situation.

Mr Widmer sets up his three GoPro cameras so he can film different angles of the survival skill he is demonstrating.

Mr Widmer sets up his three GoPro cameras so he can film different angles of the survival skill he is demonstrating.

"Drinking your own urine will dehydrate you quicker because it's already full of salt and toxins - meaning your body has to pull in more water to filter out what has already been filtered out.

"It's a huge misconception that a lot of people think is true - but please don't do it."

To further educate the community on tips and tricks on how to look after yourself in a survival situation, Mr Widmer has recently launched 'Survive It South West', a survival how-to guide that can be found on both YouTube and Facebook.

Mr Widmer said the idea, which he had been "toying with" for the last five years, came about during the COVID-19 pandemic.

After cutting a piece of wood using a technique called 'feathering', Mr Widmer uses a knife and a feroccium fod to light a fire.

After cutting a piece of wood using a technique called 'feathering', Mr Widmer uses a knife and a feroccium fod to light a fire.

"When COVID hit, no one in WA could travel, so everyone started buying four-wheel drives, caravans and camper trailers and heading out bush," Mr Widmer said.

"I was also inspired by the Zavros family in South Australia who got trapped by flood waters late last year who didn't have enough gear to survive - relying solely on supply drops.

"So I thought it was a good enough time to teach people how to survive as long as they can in the bush will waiting for rescue - because you just don't know when help is going to come."

One day if someone messages me and says Keaton, I used what you taught me and survived - then that's my ultimate goal.

Survival trainer Keaton Widmer

Following in his parents footsteps, Mr Widmer has been a volunteer with the Bunbury State Emergency Service in search and rescue for over 19 years.

He expressed the importance of preparing for a survival situation every time anyone heads out bush.

"One fundamental mistake that a lot of people make which is critical to survival is letting people know where you are going," Mr Widmer said.

"Before I go out anywhere, I always let my wife and my parents know where I'm going and if I can be contacted - and I never rely on my phone.

"When it comes to a conducting a search for someone and the last place they have been is their home, then you may as well just throw darts at a map and say lets search there.

"No one ever plans to be in a survival situation - but it can be one of those things that just happens."

So far, Mr Widmer's videos as part of Survive It South West have covered how to navigate using a compass and map, creating an emergency lean to shelter as well as different ways of collecting and filtering water.

Survival How To - Bush Survival Shelter

He offered the following tips for those in the South West who may find themselves in a survival situation in the future:

  • Make sure people know where you're going and roughly what time you will be back.
  • Always pack supplies like water and if you're in a survival situation, drink your water, don't just ration it out, and spend the time looking for another water source.
  • Practice survival skills - don't just watch how-to videos once and then expect to be able to do it.
  • Remember you can survive three weeks without food
  • Ensure your 'survival kit' is well stocked

Through the creation of Survive It South West, Mr Widmer hopes to both educate and share what he knows "with people who need it".

Contents of Mr Widmer's homemade survival kit include matches, a whistle, a pocket knife, a compass, a torch and more.

Contents of Mr Widmer's homemade survival kit include matches, a whistle, a pocket knife, a compass, a torch and more.

He thanked his parents, his wife and two sons for their continued support and guidance.

"I urge the community to do their research, but also to practice what they see - don't just wait until you're in a survival situation because you won't remember.

"And remember that hope is a big thing - if you give up hope, then your chances of survival drop dramatically.

"One day if someone messages me and says Keaton, I used what you taught me and survived - then that's my ultimate goal."

Mr Widmer will next film a 'survival weekend' where he will head out bush and survive with only what he has in his backpack.

When his newborn son Odie is older, he also hopes to apply for 'Alone', a documentary series on SBS where survivalists test out their survival skills in the wilderness.

Visit https://www.facebook.com/surviveitsouthwest or 'Survival How To' on YouTube.