NOTE: This spoiler was submitted by Jeremy

Massachusetts, 1952 - Bernie Webber (Chris Pine) and his friend are meeting two ladies for a date. Bernie hasn't met this woman yet and is nervous that she won't like how he looks. When they do meet, they are instantly attracted to each other. Her name is Miriam Penttinen (Holliday Grainger). The two couples go out for the night, ending it on a boat that Bernie, a coast guard, can ride. Before getting on the boat, Miriam kisses Bernie.

Months later, Bernie and Miriam are together at a dance. Miriam asks Bernie if he'll marry her. He says no, driving her to tears. Bernie explains that he does want to marry her, but feels that he cannot due to his job. She assures him that she'll stick with him no matter what, and Bernie decides that he definitely wants to marry her.

On a stormy night, two oil tankers, SS Fort Mercer and SS Pendleton, are sailing on the ocean amidst heavy winds and pouring rain. The storm becomes so intense that the waves hit the boat hard until one such wave breaks a hole into the ship. Water starts to spill inside and throw the men all over the place. The damage gets so bad that the ship splits in two, and Mercer sinks to the bottom of the ocean. Knowing they have to stay afloat until they can be rescued, engineer Ray Sybert (Casey Affleck) suggests they run the boat aground to keep it up steadily. The men prepare themselves for this.

Bernie is assigned by his superior Daniel Cluff (Eric Bana) to take the CG 36500 motorboat to go out and rescue the men. Bernie brings with him Richard Livesley (Ben Foster), Andy Fitzgerald (Kyle Gallner), and Ervin Maske (John Magaro) to help.

The men on the boat work hard to steer the boat aground, though a few of them try to escape on a lifeboat. Ray cuts the rope to the boat and lets it drop. The boat hits the water and is quickly destroyed against the side of the ship.

The coast guards ride through the storm across the treacherous water. They get hit with waves that nearly throw them off their boat, but they hang on tight and continue to brave the storm.

Miriam arrives at the station and tearfully demands that Cluff bring Bernie and the others back, knowing how terrible the storm is. Cluff refuses and orders Miriam out of the office. She leaves and drives away, accidentally losing control of the car and driving into a mound of snow where the car gets stuck. Miriam is picked up by a woman who happens to be the wife of Carl Nickerson (Matthew Maher), the man that reported the tankers sinking, making him indirectly responsible for why Bernie and his friends are out in the storm. Carl gets Miriam's car out of the mound.

The engineers finally manage to run the ship aground and keep it standing long enough until the coast guards arrive. It is noted that there are too many men to fit on the one boat, but they insist on trying. They drop a Jacob's ladder down, and the men slowly start to descend. Some of them fall into the water but are pulled onto the motorboat. Others jump and are caught by Richard, Andy, and Ervin. One man, Tiny Myers (Abraham Benrubi), falls into the water and is killed when his head is struck by the tanker. Ray is the last man to make it onto the boat. The Pendleton slowly loosens and sinks.

Bernie calls the station back and informs them that they rescued the men but lost their compass and have no way of making it back to the shore. As the men sail back, Miriam and multiple citizens bring their cars around and flash their headlights to give the men a signal. They make it back and are cheered on as heroes. Bernie and Miriam embrace and kiss.

The final text states that Bernie Webber, Andy Fitzgerald, Richard Livesley, and Ervin Maske were seen as heroes. Bernie and Miriam were married until his death in 2009.

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