Huck and Jim encounter a damaged steamboat during a storm on the river. The sinking steamboat, as an image, might serve to symbolize the action of the chapter, especially as Huck continues to sink more deeply into potential danger as the chapter goes on.
Insisting on searching the boat for potential booty, Huck discovers some criminals discussing a murder. He manages to escape, with Jim, by stealing the skiff tied to the steamboat by the criminals.
This small boat could also be a symbol - of theft, escape, and irony. The criminals are ironically betrayed even as they are attempting to betray a man who has betrayed them. This cycle is nearly comical, but rather dark as Huck regrets what he has done (leaving the criminals to die on the sinking steamboat).