Lost at Sea Team Building

Here is our guide to Lost at Sea team building online.

We put this guide together after running thousands of successful virtual team building sessions for remote teams.

Playing Lost at Sea team building online involves simulating a scenario where participants are stranded at sea and must collectively decide which items to prioritize for survival. The activity promotes teamwork, critical thinking, and decision-making skills as participants navigate through challenging scenarios and prioritize resources to survive together. The benefits of playing Lost at Sea with your team include fostering collaboration, communication, and problem-solving skills in a dynamic and immersive virtual environment.

Ideal group size:

4 to 8 players per team

Activity duration:

30 to 60 minutes



What you’ll need:

  • Video conferencing platform (Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, etc.)
  • Lost at Sea team building exercise materials (scenario, roles, rules)
  • Virtual whiteboard or online collaboration tool (like Miro, MURAL, or Google Jamboard)

How to play:

Step 1: Introduce the Game

When you welcome participants, provide a brief overview of the Lost at Sea team building exercise. The goal is to stimulate collaboration, decision-making, and communication skills.

Step 2: Set the Stage

Next, present the scenario. The team is stranded at sea after a shipwreck, with only a lifeboat and a list of survival items. After discussing the scenario, share the list of items and explain that the team must collectively rank them based on their importance for survival.

Step 3: Assign Roles

You can assign roles to each team member, such as a leader, timekeeper, note-taker, and discussion facilitator. It is important to emphasize the importance of clear communication and active participation.

Step 4: Start the Discussion

The team can discuss and debate the importance of each survival item. Be sure to facilitate the conversation to ensure the team has a chance to voice their opinions and contribute to the decision-making process.

Step 5: Utilize Collaboration Tools

Virtual whiteboards or collaboration tools allow team members to organize and prioritize the survival items. You can also guide teams on how to use the tools effectively for brainstorming and decision-making.

Step 6: Facilitate Consensus Building

Teams need to reach a consensus on the ranking of the survival items. Groups should compromise and negotiate while remembering the goal.

Step 7: Review and Reflect

Once the team has finalized their rankings, review the decisions together. Prompt reflection on the process.

You can ask questions like the following:

  • What went well?
  • What challenges did they face?
  • What lessons can we apply to real-life teamwork situations?

Survival scenario items

Basic Necessities

  • Water: Containers for storage, purification tablets, or portable water filters
  • Food: Non-perishable items like energy bars, dried fruits, or canned goods
  • Shelter: Tents, tarps, or emergency blankets for protection from the elements
  • Clothing: Weather-appropriate attire including layers, hats, and gloves
  • First Aid Kit: Bandages, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers, and any necessary prescription medications

Navigation and Signaling

  • Map and Compass: Tools for navigation if applicable to the scenario
  • GPS Device or Smartphone with Offline Maps: Backup navigation tools
  • Signaling Devices: Whistle, signal mirror, or flares to attract attention

Fire Starting and Lighting

  • Waterproof Matches or Lighter: Tools for starting a fire
  • Fire Starter: Ferrocerium rod, magnesium fire starter, or waterproof tinder
  • Flashlights or Headlamps: Portable light sources with extra batteries

Tools and Equipment

  • Multi-tool or Knife: Versatile tools for various tasks
  • Rope or Paracord: Useful for shelter building, securing items, or creating makeshift repairs
  • Duct Tape: Versatile for repairs, first aid, or improvising solutions
  • Cooking Utensils: Pot, pan, and utensils for food preparation

Communication and Rescue

  • Two-Way Radio or Satellite Phone: Communication devices for contacting help if available
  • Whistle: Loud and compact signaling device for alerting rescuers
  • Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) or Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT): Devices for sending distress signals and facilitating rescue operations

Watercraft and Survival Gear

  • Life Raft or Inflatable Boat: Emergency flotation devices for water survival scenarios
  • Life Jackets: Personal flotation devices for safety in water
  • Fishing Gear: Equipment for catching fish or other aquatic creatures for food

Knowledge and Skills

  • Survival Manual: Reference material for essential survival techniques and tips
  • First Aid Training: Knowledge and skills for administering basic medical care
  • Wilderness Survival Skills: Training in shelter building, fire starting, navigation, and foraging for wild edibles

Personal Hygiene and Comfort

  • Sanitation Supplies: Soap, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, and garbage bags for waste disposal
  • Personal Care Items: Toothbrush, toothpaste, and any necessary hygiene products
  • Comfort Items: Items like a book, journal, or music player for mental well-being during challenging times


  1. Communication is Key: Maintain clear and constant communication with your team members to coordinate efforts effectively.
  2. Delegate Responsibilities: Assign roles based on strengths and expertise to ensure everyone contributes meaningfully.
  3. Stay Calm and Focused: Keep a cool head and focus on problem-solving rather than panicking in challenging situations.
  4. Utilize Online Tools: Make the most of virtual collaboration tools for planning, decision-making, and sharing information.
  5. Think Creatively: Be open to unconventional solutions and creative problem-solving approaches to overcome obstacles.
  6. Prioritize Safety: Always prioritize safety when making decisions, especially in simulated emergency scenarios.
  7. Support Each Other: Offer encouragement, assistance, and support to teammates to foster a positive and cohesive team dynamic.
  8. Time Management: Manage time effectively, setting deadlines and sticking to schedules to accomplish tasks efficiently.
  9. Learn from Mistakes: Embrace failures as opportunities for learning and improvement, adjusting strategies accordingly.

Final Thoughts

This activity fosters collaboration, problem-solving, and resilience among remote teams. The challenges of navigating virtual waters mirror the complexities of real-life teamwork, making these experiences highly relevant and impactful. This exercise is about surviving the storm and thriving amidst adversity. Each online session offers valuable opportunities for personal and professional growth.

Want more ideas? Check out our post on team building activities for work.

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