Fish aces 'A' school and chooses to leave the area, and his teacher girlfriend, and work at Randall's Alaska base.
His first assignment is to rescue two kayakers who are trapped in a cave with the tide closing in. Randall and Jake jump into the water, time the waves, and pick up the guys. Jake leaves first with the injured kayaker. Randall's guy panics and hits his head on a log. With his face covered in blood, and the flare in the background, Randall suffers a flashback and just treads water.
Jake returns to help him out, but everyone knows that he is finished. Randall hands in his resignation to the captain and then goes to visit his ex-wife. He hands her the signed divorce papers, and returns to the base.
Meanwhile Jake joins his new crew and flies off to rescue 4 men from a cargo ship, about to sink in ferocious weather. He saves the first three and ventures below deck to find the captain. With the chopper low on fuel the pilot must leave him behind.
Fish manages to free the captain, but then a wave rocks the boat about - the captain is knocked unconscious and then trapped under more debris - and they are both trapped in the hold.
Without a backup team, the base captain needs to fly as pilot - and needs Randall as the swimmer. They fly to the ship, and Randall rescues Fish from the locked room. The boat's captain who caused all the problems has long since bit the dust.
Without much time, they are both winched away from the ship - but the metal cable starts to fray and untie. It can't support their weight, so Randall frees himself.
Jake catches him before he call fall and won't let go, so Randall slips out of his gloves - and hits the water from a great height. He doesn't reappear.
In the credits we're told that the Coast Guard carried out one of the most extensive searches, but his body was never found.
Then it repeats the first theme in the movie - Jake rescues another soul, who asks who the other swimmer was, even though he was all alone. So Randall has become the legendary ghost-like Guardian and helps rescue people lost at sea.
Jake returns to Louisiana, walks into the local school, and sweeps his teacher-girlfriend off her feet.