Has there ever been a time when people were rescued by sending out a message in a bottle to drift across the sea?

  • The "bottle" doesn't have to be an actual bottle. It could be a box, a cask, a barrel, any kind of physical item bearing a message.
  • It does have to drift across the sea, though. There was an incident where some people off the shore of Costa Rica tied a message to a long line dragging behind a fishing boat -- that's not what I'm looking for. I'm looking for a case where the message was carried by the sea.
  • If wikipedia doesn't know of it, most likely there's no known occurrance. I certianly couldn't find one. I was able to track down a link for the Costa Rican incident for you though.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Jul 24, 2012 at 13:45
  • 1
    @downvoter, please leave a comment explaining how you think this question can be improved, or why it's not a good question.
    – Joe
    Commented Jul 24, 2012 at 13:53

1 Answer 1


Not quite the traditional castaway rescue, but there was the case of the Meermin slave mutiny, where the imprisoned slavers used a message in a bottle to alert shore forces to the slave mutiny, resulting in the defeat of the slaves and rescue of the slavers.

There's also the case of Chunosuke Matsuyama, where a shipwrecked Japanese seaman sent a message in a bottle in 1784. Unfortunately, it was not discovered until 1935; ironically in the village of his birth.

Other stories can be found in Wikipedia, although none tell of castaways actually rescued because of a message in a bottle. It seems to be more a tradition of literature...

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