The Greeks attributed the sea's turbulence to a monster whose thrashing tail brought havoc and death to sailors. Despite the many advances in equipment and search procedures, the sea still takes its toll as these stories demonstrate. The U.S. Coast Guard is the official rescue force and these stories emphasize that role. Beginning with a sad tale of incompetence and cowardice in 1879, the authors combine knowledge of rescue operations and human understanding to portray the drama of salvage at sea. Among the best are: the story of the Italian ship which refused to be rescued; the ditching of a Pan American plane in the Pacific; and the weird story of the Morro Castle in 1934, which had far reaching effects on safety methods. The authors leave no doubt why respect for the savagery of the sea is a part of every sailor's thinking.