McTaggart's energetic brush work and bold colour convey the power of the thunderous sky, lashing wind and turbulent sea. Man's vulnerability and courageous struggle in relation to natural forces are suggested through the tiny fishing vessel at sea and the launching of a rescue boat from the shore. Anxious families wait in the foreground. The figures are fully integrated into the landscape which was worked up in McTaggart's studio, but based on a smaller version painted out of doors at Carradale in Kintyre in 1883. Andrew Carnegie, the industrialist and philanthropist, bought the painting which was later presented to the gallery by his widow.