Avoiding salvage. - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 16 Old 04-25-2010 Thread Starter
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Avoiding salvage.

I don't remember there being a thread about this, and it is something I think everyone would be interested in, so here is the question; if you are on your boat and you need some assistance, fuel, a tow, etc, what steps must you take to insure beyond all doubt that you will not be in a salvage situation ?

The one thing I know about salvage is that the best way to avoid it is to never be in a situation where you need assistance. But I'm sure there are people reading this thread who know a lot more about it than that!

What are you pretending not to know ?

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post #2 of 16 Old 04-25-2010
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The rule as I understand it is that you have to come to an agreement before the assistance is rendered.

Practically I'm not sure how you would get a chance to read the contract and sign it but that is the law.

I believe a verbal agreement is binding but of course harder to prove.

Even if you have a sea-tow membership and and you call them and it is a hard grounding and requires extra equipment and boats you are probably looking at salvage. The fine print is interesting.
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post #3 of 16 Old 04-25-2010
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Certainly a lot of gray area!

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The concept of marine salvage has been recognized by law since the times of the Byzantine Empire, and in modern times, the Salvage Convention of 1910 was adopted by an international panel and ratified in 1913 by the United States. To supplement the convention and address new circumstances, in 1912, the U.S. formulated a Salvage Act.

The person who saves property at sea is entitled to a reward is generously computed in light of the fundamental public policy involved. Public policy which has been formulated to encourage mariners to provide prompt service in case of emergencies and also to award compensation much greater than the value of the actual labour involved.

Formal requisites of an act of salvage:
1) serious peril from which the vessel or property could not have been rescued without the salvor's assistance
2) voluntary act of the salvor with no legal or official duty rendering assistance
3) a successful act in saving a part of or all of the property at risk
On abandonment of the property, anyone may become a salvor and if the owner later wants to reclaim his property, he would take it, subjected to a lien for the salvage claim. Typical acts of salvage involve the rescue and tow of a vessel at turbulent seas, but the ranges of situations which can constitute salvage are quite broad.

Examples of salvage are like escorting a distressed ship to a position where aid can be rendered, giving information on how to avoid an obstruction such as an ice floe or carrying a message which results in provision of emergency assistance. For properties to become subject to salvage claim it must be on the waters or on a beach or reef.

A person who is under a duty to provide assistance cannot act as salvor. Crew members or passengers, public employees like firemen or even licensed pilots are not entitled to an award for saving property.

The main ingredients in determining the amount of the award to be decreed for a salvage service are the labour expended by the salvor, his promptness, skill, and energy, the value of the property saved, the degree of danger and risks incurred by the salvors.

The items which are taken into account in assessing the value of the property are the ship, freight and cargo. The salvage award will never be greater than the value of the salved property but always be substantially lower, except in the case of abandoned or derelict property.

Salvage awards are for salvage of property and not life, so it does not provide any awards for the pure salvage of life unaccompanied by property salvage. Anyhow the trials of the court will also take into account the moral as well as economic issues.

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post #4 of 16 Old 04-25-2010
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An understanding I have had true, or not. The difference may be in recieving a line instead of giving one? Always give a line!.......i2f

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post #5 of 16 Old 04-25-2010
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One primary requirement is that the salvor uses his equipment to help you. If you hand your lines to the other boat, it generally can not be considered salvage, as you are using YOUR equipment not theirs.

The other factor that has a strong bearing is whether the boat is actually in DANGER. If it boat is not in imminent danger of sinking, damage or loss, the argument that the boat was in a salvage situation is pretty greatly weakened.

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post #6 of 16 Old 04-26-2010
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I'm new to this . What about the boats I've seen sunk at marinas? Do you raise them and then claim salvage?

Worse yet what stopped someone from salvaging my boat when we were aground a few weeks? (grounded 60 yrd off shore after a storm)
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Originally Posted by MarioG View Post
I'm new to this . What about the boats I've seen sunk at marinas? Do you raise them and then claim salvage?

Worse yet what stopped someone from salvaging my boat when we were aground a few weeks? (grounded 60 yrd off shore after a storm)
And if my boat gets grounded and I get in the dinghy to take an anchor out into deeper water so that I can pull my boat out, is that considered abandoning my boat because I got into the dinghy ?

What are you pretending not to know ?

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post #8 of 16 Old 04-26-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarioG View Post
I'm new to this . What about the boats I've seen sunk at marinas? Do you raise them and then claim salvage?
Yes, you could, but most of those boats aren't worth very much... the salvage fees are based on the value of a boat.

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Worse yet what stopped someone from salvaging my boat when we were aground a few weeks? (grounded 60 yrd off shore after a storm)
You were lucky.

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post #9 of 16 Old 04-26-2010
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No, because you are actively working to recover your boat. If you decided to get in the dinghy and go and get lunch...then you'd be considered abandoning your boat. As long as you are present near your boat, especially if you are actively trying to recover it, it can not be considered abandoned.

As a point of reference, I can cite the case of the multimillion dollar yacht that was driven aground in the Florida Keys a few years ago. The owner hired another boat and was living aboard near his grounded boat until the conditions were right for refloating her. It was never considered abandoned, even though the owner was not aboard since he was working actively to recover it and staying nearby.

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And if my boat gets grounded and I get in the dinghy to take an anchor out into deeper water so that I can pull my boat out, is that considered abandoning my boat because I got into the dinghy ?

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—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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post #10 of 16 Old 04-26-2010
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SD -
Do you have any authority for the notion that if you hand him a line you are using your equipment and its not salvage? It seems to me that the line is only part of the equipment, the boat is also part of it, so if you use your line to tie to the salvor's boat, you are still using his equipment, just a little less of it.
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