Catastrophic damage to a large vehicle (such as a spaceship, or a cruise ship) forces the characters to struggle to survive in a familiar environment that has suddenly become dangerous. Some characters must deal with situations outside of their expertise, because the appropriate person is unavailable. Meanwhile, the senior command personnel may need to make decisions that could mean sacrificing crew to save the vehicle.
Can be used as a plot for a Bottle Episode
, as it can be used to craft a tense episode without having to craft new sets. Often includes at least one Locked in a Room
scenario when the power to the doors fails. While it often goes hand in hand with Abandon Ship
, it has absolutely nothing to do with Ship Sinking
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Anime & Manga
Films — Live-Action
- The Poseidon Adventure and its 2006 remake Poseidon: May be seen as the template for film portrayals of the scenario for decades to follow.
- U571, in which the crew of an American submarine must escape to the German sub they just stole a decoding machine from, when their own boat is sunk. Everything is labelled and documented in German, making it next to impossible to use the controls.
- All adaptations of the RMS Titanic disaster feature this, but the James Cameron version in particular.
- The submarine at the end of The World Is Not Enough and its video game adaptation.
- Late in Star Trek Into Darkness, the Enterprise is crippled and tumbling into Earth's atmosphere. Kirk and Scotty make their way to Engineering as Gravity Screw sends them and their fellow crew members tumbling, with many a Red Shirt seen falling to their death.
- The book Star Surgeon by James White, after Sector General was hit by a missile that tore a hole in the hospital and destroyed the translation computer.
- The Perfect Storm, based on a true story. In this case, there were no survivors.
- The first chapter of SeaFire has James Bond and his current girlfriend stopping a takover of a cruise ship by Ruthless Modern Pirates. An explosion caused by a misfired torpedo from Big Bad's submarine rocks the boat in the next chapter, and it goes bottom of the sea.
- Mass Effect 2 opens with Shepard struggling to save Joker (the pilot) as the Normandy burns.
- SOS, a SNES game is almost The Poseidon Adventure The Game, with a similarly capsized ocean liner that must be evacuated through the bottom of the ship.
- Happens in Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, though the ship has floodgates to control its sinking. Of course, it only applies to the Nonary Game 9 years ago on the Gigantic. The one in which the game takes place is just a recreation of the ship, with simulated flooding.
- In the first mission of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, the ship is bombed by enemy planes and you have to run through the flooding and collapsing cargo hold to get topside, where you must make a Leap of Faith to a helicopter.
- Tomb Raider Underworld has Lara entering a boat only to release a demon that results in the ship sinking. Cue a turn through the sinking ship.
- Resident Evil 6 at one point has Ada enter a submarine in order to get a Plot Coupon but it turns out to be an elaborate trap and the sub is scuttled forcing Ada to escape the now horizontal boat.
- Far Cry 3 has Jason sneaking aboard a boat in order to get the location for some lost treasure only the computer is booby-trapped and in the resulting explosion the boat starts to sink; forcing Jason to swim through the ship fighting off the enemies that for some reason are more interested in killing him than escaping with their lives.
- "The Posei-dam Adventure" in The Angry Beavers, combined with Chained Heat to explain why there would be peril in the first place. Beavers can hold their breath for 15 minutes, you know, but shrews can't.
- Naturally, a common training exercise in real world navies. The typical setup is to send the team of trainees into the room and start flooding it, and then they have to use whatever is on hand to devise methods of sealing holes, blocking leaks, and isolating sections that are too far gone. Everyone will be soaked by the end regardless.