The lyrics convey the first-person account of a "normal boy" who has fallen or jumped off the bow of a ship and the thoughts that pass through the boy's mind as he loses the will to keep afloat by treading water. His final thought is of his beloved as he eventually concedes to drowning:
I thought of just your face, relaxed and floated into space
In the final verse the song takes on a deeper meaning as the lyrics reveal that the initial story of the boy drowning was just a dream spurred by feelings of grief over the loss of a loved one, presumably the woman whose face gave him comfort as he imagined he was drowning. The dream is referred to lyrically as "Midnight's late reminder of the loss of her, the one I love." The song then indicates that he wishes, like in the dream, that he could slip "into the ocean, end it all."
According to a VH1-online article about the band, "Into the Ocean" has had an impact on many listeners who may have been contemplating suicide.
"Into the Ocean," with Delahoussaye's seductive violin siren call and plucked mandolin, openly contemplates a death wish with so much honesty, fans write to the band, claiming tracks like this have prevented their own suicidal impulses.
"I love Justin's lyrics," says guitarist [CB] Hudson, ..."Our music touches people in the heart. I'm really proud of that."
"If I have saved others, I don't know what to say," admits Justin. "But if I can do that for them, why the fuck can't I do that for myself?"