Six members of a North Atlantic fishing crew, whose boat has just sunk while out on a fishing trip, have managed to take refuge in two of the lifeboats, which they have tied together in their vow to stay together as they try to make their way back to safety. They have also managed to salvage many supplies, including some food and water, which falls to regimented Gib to ration according to Captain Gerald's timetable. With only a compass in hand and no sight of either land or other marine vessels, they can only guess where they are, which Gerald does, believing rightly or wrongly that at the speed and frequency they are rowing, they should hit land in six or seven days barring any unforeseen circumstances. For good or bad, Merv and "Young" Dickie further have each other emotionally as father and son, the devout Christian dad who is tough on his naive son, for who this trip is his first in his want to be a fishing boat captain his own right in the future.

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