The Open Boat is a short story by Stephen Crane. The story is about four men who survive a shipwreck, and are forced into a ten foot dinghy, where they must live until they can find shore. The four men are the ship's injured captian, an oiler, the ship's cook, and a news correspondent. The story has some degree of suspense, and is considered by many to be Crane's finest short story.
The story is based on events that actual happened to Stephen Crane. He was a news correspondent aboard a ship, The Commodore, that ran into a sandbar and sank on January 1, 1897. He, just like the characters in the story, was stranded in a small lifeboat for an extended period of time (one day and one night in his case), and he eventually made it to shore. There are many other similarities between the story and the actual event as well. After they made it safely back to shore, the captain of that boat (who was in a sling), was interviewed in The New York Press. He said that "That man Crane is the spunkiest man out." He cited Crane's bravery on numerous occasions. "He's a thouroughbred, and a brave man, too, with plenty of grit."