Through the proceedings of the Court of Naval Enquiry the story of the loss of the fishing boat Dauntless is revealed in flashbacks -- of the two owners, and the crew. Pushed by debts, the off season and bad fishing, Skipper Cope gambles his luck for top catches in the face of bad weather and unusual fishing grounds. From a gale to shelter, the miracle of a drift leads to a phenomenal catch which will undoubtedly clear up the financial troubles and a drifting log delivers the death blow. Frantic, desperate efforts are to no avail because of the engine driver's carelessness; the ship strikes and is abandoned and all high hopes with it. South African fishermen, the skills and factors of memory and eyesight in small boat handling, and a shoot or bust trip add up to a compact tale of strange waters and the men who live and die in them. Something for the young and old men of the sea.