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Books on Sea Survival

Learn how others have survived disasters at sea and read up on the survivor mindset.


  1. 58 Degrees North, by Hugo Kugiya. The story of the loss of the F/V Arctic Rose and the resulting Coast Guard investigation.

  2. Deadliest Sea, by Kalee Thompson. The loss of the F/V Alaska Ranger and Coast Guard rescue efforts.

  3. Deep Survival, by Laurence Gonzales. A survey of true survival stories exploring the psychology of who lives, who dies, and why.

  4. Desperate Journeys, Abandoned Souls, by Edward Leslie. This is an excellent collection of stories about survivors from historical times to the present, and it provides many insights into the psychological aspects of survival. Engrossing reading.

  5. Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage, by Alfred Lansing. This story of Ernest Shackleton’s ill-fated expedition to reach the South Pole in 1914 is particularly insightful in terms of the vital role a leader can play in a survival situation. One of the all-time great survival stories.

  6. Lost at Sea: An American Tragedy, by Patrick Dillon. Study of the loss of the “A” boats in 1983, through the passage and implementation of the Fishing Vessel Safety Act.

  7. Shackleton’s Boat Journey, by F.A. Worsley. Although this book describes the same Shackleton expedition as Endurance, it does so from the captain’s perspective.

  8. Survival Psychology, by John Leach. The classic study of survival psychology. Contains many marine examples of survival at sea.

  9. Survivor, by Michael Greenwald, edited by Steve Callahan and Dougal Robertson. This is one of the more comprehensive books ever done on sea survival and is full of true stories. The 25 pages of seabird identification may be a bit overdone, but no topic relating to sea survival has been left out.

  10. The Last Run, by Todd Lewan. True story of the loss of the F/V LaConte and the attempts of Coast Guard air crews to rescue them during a severe storm.

  11. Until the Sea Shall Set Them Free, by Robert Frump. Although about the sinking of a merchant marine vessel, it gives an accurate and graphic description of a survival at sea incident.

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