Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: New Orleans
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I won't give legal advice here (so please don't take it as such) but "abandonment" and "salvage" are two different questions. Salvage involves a bunch of factors, such as how much peril the boat is in, how much risk (physically and monetarily) you took to "save" it, and yada yada. The outcome of this complicated question will determine whether you're entitled to a salvage "award", and if so, how much.
Abandonment is a simpler question in a way, but you have to prove abandonment. The owner may have given up, but his hull insurers may not have. You may end up in a joust with them, and the question of "peril" may not be as dramatic as it is in a true salvage case.
Having said all this, it's not legal advice, contact your own attorney, etc, etc, etc....