Having seen better days, the sailing vessel Cannibal sets out for Mexico from the south Pacific with a leaking hull. The captain (Rock Hudson) is haunted by a tragedy that happened on another ship under his command. Believing the vessel to not be seaworthy, the crew pleads to change course for Honolulu. Being wanted there in connection with a man's death, a passenger (Cyd Charisse) wants to avoid Honolulu. As the water rises in bilge, the passengers and crew struggle against nature to survive.