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The ocean is a major location on Lost, and is almost always seen in the background in scenes on the beach camp. Much like the jungle, the ocean is a place of mystery and danger, and generally serves as a catalyst for plot points throughout the show.
The ocean as a travel medium
The submarine used by the Others (Filming location image)
The Others had long used a submarine to travel from the outside world to the Island. ("The Man Behind the Curtain") They also used smaller motorboats to travel from Hydra Island to the main island. ("Stranger in a Strange Land")
Having been given a sailboat by Libby in order to sail around the world in a race, Desmond attempted to sail across the Pacific ocean, but in a horrific storm, was shipwrecked on the Island. Unbeknownst to him, Kelvin Inman, his partner in the Swan station, had salvaged the wreckage of the ship, and over the course of three years, attempted to repair it to seaworthy condition. However, when Desmond discovered this, he attacked Kelvin for his deception, and accidentally killed him. ("Live Together, Die Alone")
The ocean was initially seen as a means for escape by the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815. Michael Dawson was the first to truly take adavantage of the ocean as a potential means of travel by building a raft. He, his son Walt, Jin, and Sawyer set off on the raft. After half a day of traveling, they were intercepted by the Others in a more advanced motorboat. The Others then destroyed the raft and kidnapped Walt. ("Exodus, Part 2")
The Elizabeth ("Live Together, Die Alone")
Upon being discovered by the survivors, the previously hidden Desmond fled to his boat at the cove, sailing off but was unsuccessful in leaving the Island, eventually ending up right back where he started, causing him to claim that he was stuck in a "bloody snowglobe." Sun, Jin, and Sayid then used the boat to travel around the coast of the Island to meet Jack, discovering several odd sights, including a four-toed statue. ("Live Together, Die Alone") The boat was later captured by Colleen and the Others. ("The Glass Ballerina")
After making a deal with Ben Linus and the Others, Michael and Walt were able to leave the Island in a motorboat, making it back to civilization. ("Live Together, Die Alone") However, after being convinced by the Others, Michael returned to the Island on the freighter Kahana, which was captained by Gault. ("Meet Kevin Johnson") Sayid ferried people back and forth from the freighter to the Island several times using a Zodiac raft. ("There's No Place Like Home, Part 1") The Kahana was stationed several miles offshore for the near entirity of Season 4 before being destroyed as a result of Martin Keamy's death at the hands of Ben. ("There's No Place Like Home, Parts 2 & 3")
The Zodiac raft ("There's No Place Like Home, Part 1")
The Oceanic Six, Frank Lapidus, and Desmond managed to escape in a helicopter immediately before the freighter exploded; however it soon ran out of fuel and they were forced to crash-land in the ocean. Using a life raft, they managed to drift for a day until they were discovered by Penelope Widmore's boat, the Searcher. The Oceanic Six then used a life raft to travel to Indonesia to build an alibi for their story. ("There's No Place Like Home, Parts 2 & 3")
The Searcher finds the life raft. ("There's No Place Like Home, Parts 2 & 3")
The remaining survivors on the Island later found a canoe, which they attempted to use to sail around the cape of the Island and make it to the Orchid. However, while paddling, they were attacked by a group of people pursuing them in another canoe. Several shots were fired, though no one was killed. ("The Little Prince")
The ocean and death
Sawyer on the open sea ("Adrift")
The ocean was a place of death on the show, because of the danger of drowning. Many characters drowned or had near misses with drowning. Several passengers of Oceanic Flight 815's tail section drowned when their plane became submerged in the water. ("The Other 48 Days") Soon after the crash, on the beach camp, Joanna Miller was swept out to sea by a riptide, and drowned. Boone Carlyle, in an attempt to save her, swam out into the ocean as well, and was saved just in time by Jack, who brought him to shore. ("White Rabbit") The ocean was also used as cover by Ethan Rom to sneak into the camp and murder Scott Jackson. ("Homecoming") After being attacked by the Others while on their raft, Sawyer and Michael both almost drowned and were nearly attacked by sharks while adrift on the open sea. ("Adrift")
Charlie drowns. ("Through the Looking Glass")
A month afterward, Claire nearly drowned when she was caught in a riptide, but was saved by Desmond, who revealed that he did it to save Charlie, whom he had prophesized would drown trying to save Claire. ("Flashes Before Your Eyes") In another one of Desmond's flashes, he saw Charlie being battered to death against rocks on the coast by the ocean. ("Par Avion") Finally, Charlie and Desmond swam down to the underwater Looking Glass station to deactivate the signal-jamming mechanism in the station. During the course of this operation, Mikhail Bakunin committed suicide in order to blast open a porthole in the station, successfully drowning Charlie. ("Through the Looking Glass")
The freighter explodes. ("There's No Place Like Home, Parts 2 & 3")
When the Kahana arrived offshore of the Island, many deaths resulted on the ocean. In an unsuccessfull attempt to reach the Island, Brandon was killed by becoming unstuck in time, and George Minkowski died of the same cause soon after. ("The Constant") Regina, suffering from a heightened case of cabin fever, committed suicide by wrapping herself in chains and throwing herself into the ocean, drowning herself. ("Ji Yeon") Soon afterwards Martin Keamy threw Ray in the ocean after killing him. ("Cabin Fever"); his body later washed up on the shore of the beach camp. ("The Shape of Things to Come"). The Kahana later exploded, sinking into the ocean and claiming many lives.("There's No Place Like Home, Parts 2 & 3")
Jack, Sawyer, Kate, Sayid, Hurley, Jin, Sun, and Frank hijacked Widmore's submarine, unaware that The Man in Black had swapped backpacks with Jack to smuggle a bomb on board. When Sawyer's attempt to stop the bomb failed, Sayid ran with the bomb to the back of the submarine to spare the lives of his friends, dying when it exploded in his hands. The submarine instantly filled with water, and when Sun became trapped under debris, Jin refused to leave her and the couple drowned together below the sea. ("The Candidate")
- The survivors were passengers on Oceanic Flight 815.