"When the men had hoisted it aboard, they passed ropes under the ship itself to hold it together. Fearing that they would run aground on the sandbars of Syrtis, they lowered the sea anchor and let the ship be driven along." NIV translation
On the first day of the storm, they were so scared that they tried to hold the ship together with ropes and set the anchor to try and slow themselves down. This is a picture of what can happen when we do not accept the correction of the Holy Spirit and get back into the will of God. If these people would have listened to Paul (through the power of the Spirit), they would not be in this mess. Instead, God is going to turn up the heat to get their attention. He will do the same for us (if we are His children) because of His knowledge of what is best for us and His love that wants us to have the best.
"We took such a violent battering from the storm that the next day they began to throw the cargo overboard." NIV translation
The second day is worse as the men throw their only way of making a living overboard. You see, this was a cargo ship and the crew received a part of the profits when the cargo was delivered. In this case, no delivery means no profits and no income.
"On the third day, they threw the ship's tackle overboard with their own hands. When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved." NIV translation
Finally, they gave up all hope and realized that they were at the mercy of others. It is much the same for us as we often try all kinds of things on our own instead of simply trusting in the finished work of Jesus on the cross. When we finally are at the end of our abilities and still have no hope, that is when we can see the true hope which can only be found in Jesus.
"After the men had gone a long time without food, Paul stood up before them and said: 'Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss. But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed.'" NIV translation
At the darkest point when the crew thought that they were even going to lose their lives, Paul encourages them. First, he reminds them that, if they had listened to God speaking through him, they would not be in their current mess. Then, he encourages them by telling them that not a single man would lose his life in this storm.