I'm reading Stefan's recommendation, Essentials of Sea Survival by Golden and Tipton, and it is a gripping read.  As I'm not a Kindle reader, I had my wife hunt it down in paper and the only library that carries it on Long Island is, of course, the Montauk Libarary, home of Frank Mundus, the inspiration for Quint. The book briefly mentions a couple of other incidents that I've read about before.
If you enjoy harrowing, real life tales of the sea and especially of sailing, than I must highly recommend Derek Lundy's mesmerizing account of the '96-'97 Vendée Globe single handed solo race around the world, Godforsaken Sea: The True Story of a Race Through the World's Most Dangerous Waters.
One of the many stories within is about Tony Bullimore who capsized in the Southern Ocean in 52°S 100°E and survived five days up to his chest in icy water within his overturned vessel.  See a reenactment with actual footage of the rescue (~6 min).
Another even more amazing tale is that of the rescue of Raphaël Dinelli by former Royal Marine and fellow competitor Pete Goss.  In 70 knot winds and thirty foot seas, Dinelli capsized and his mast crashed through the deck of his yacht like a straw through a fountain drink lid.  After the boat righted itself, it was full of holes and slowly began to sink. He stood on the coach roof in freezing waters for 24 hours while Pete Goss, hearing of his emergency, turned back into the face of the storm and sailed to find him.  Goss sailed for two days to Dinelli's location, suffering constant knock downs (boat rolled to the horizontal with masts in the water), when he finally got there he couldn't find him. Meanwhile, the Australian Air Force had located Dinelli and dropped a life raft which he promptly crawled into ten minutes before his boat sank completely.  An Air Force plane helped Goss find the raft and he managed to get Dinelli aboard safely. Goss recieved the Legion d'Honneur and the MBE for his efforts.
Goss' narrative of the race and rescue is also a fantastic read.
Video of Pete discussing the incident with photos.
"I'm not a naval gazer, I don't have to find myself, I'm not a tortured soul, I just do it 'cause I enjoy it.  And that sometimes disappoints people."


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