The men of the ship were probably regular joes. Paul, unlike them, was guided by the will of God. Ephesians 1:1 tells us as much. Christ, himself, in Acts 9:15 says that Paul is a chosen vessel unto him (Christ). Paul was guided by his spiritual eyes. The men of the ship were guided by their natural eyes.
Before they (all 276 of them, verse 37) left port they had been told this could (actually would) happen if they set sail. The helmsman and the owner of the ship, the experts, disagreed with Paul, the man of God. Being impatient, they chose not to heed what a man like Paul would say. As a child, mothers warn their children, “Burn, burn. You’ll burn yourself if you keep trying to touch that stove.” Some children pay attention and others don’t. They get burned. It’s much the same story here. Paul, guided by God, gave the warning. They got burned.
Paul knew he was going to reach Rome regardless. God told him he was going to Rome (Acts 19:21, 23:11). However, in verse 10, Paul said their would be much damage to the ship, the cargo and their lives. By verse 22 which was many days later, Paul stands and says, “Sirs, you should have hearkened unto me…now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man’s life…”
Then he explained how he knew that. “For there stood by me this night the angel of God whose I am, and whom I serve, saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee.” (verse 22, 23) Then he repeats it again, “Be of good cheer…”
Here Paul was in a dire situation. Countless times he could have panicked and been driven by fear like the crew. Here he was facing the possibility that this trip could be the last one. But, he believes God. He knew, because God told him, he was going to Rome. And he shared the confidence he had with the crew. It must have been quite a revelation for them when all that Paul said came to pass.
So it should be with us. Stand by God and he’ll stand by you.