The men have lost their main boat and they are not far off the coast of Florida. All the men are tired and some are injured, however, they all work to keep their extremely small lifeboat afloat in the rough ocean.
Just as the day begins to break, the men see seagulls, which is an indication that land is close. The bird lands on the boat, however, the men can not swat it off without knocking the boat over. As the men continue to row the boat, they spot a lighthouse in the distance.
The group of men continue to row toward to land. The captain keeps reminding the men that the lighthouse keeper should have seen them by now and will be sending help. They celebrate getting close to land by sharing cigars and drinking water.
The men begin thinking the worst; death. Suddenly, on the beach they see a man but he just thinks the men are fishing so he does not send help. The men continue to row to the land through the night.
While the the correspondent was rowing, he rowed in the wrong direction. The boat continues to fill with frigid sea water. The men are angry and impatient. A ocean monster begins to swim close to the men’s boat. The shark is big and looks extremely dangerous.
The men talk about death and the universe. One man points out that even when life gets tough, a man can still love himself and there is nothing the universe can do about it. The men switch off who rows the boat through the night. The shark comes back and the waters begin to get rough again. The cook wakes everyone up to help row to land.