When is it Salvage?
In broad terms, courts define marine salvage as a voluntary service (meaning that there's no pre-existing agreement) rendered to a vessel requiring assistance because of a present or reasonably apprehended danger or peril. When a salvage service is provided, the salvor is entitled to a salvage award. We want you to know that a marine salvage takes place when we rescue your boat whether it is aground, on a reef, beached, stranded at sea, flooding, sinking or in any other number of situations. A salvage situation can arise in all kinds of situations. For example, assisting a vessel taking on water, extinguishing a fire, or pulling a vessel free from a reef will almost always be considered salvage. Our captains are trained to inform you that the services they are about to render are salvage and you will be asked to sign our Standard Form Marine Salvage Contract. The contract is a two-sided sheet and contains, among other things, a requirement that the parties arbitrate any disputes. To help you better prepare to handle a salvage situation, we recommend you review your marine insurance policy and understand what coverage is afforded to you for salvage services. (It's always a good idea to call your insurance company or broker if you have questions as to what your policy does and does not cover.) We also strongly urge you to get to know your local salvor before you're faced with a salvage situation. Learn about their reputation within the community and find out their philosophy on salvage. Knowing who to call will make all the difference!
Towing vs. Salvage
What's the difference between towing and salvage? A good starting point is to understand how the courts see the issue. Generally speaking, the courts have explained that towage is merely speeding up a vessel's voyage without reference to any circumstances of danger. Of course every situation is unique, but generally if you need a jumpstart or a fuel drop or if you have a minor mechanical breakdown and there's no immediate or pending danger, Ocean Rescue & Recovery will generally treat the incident as a tow. On the other hand, where more serious circumstances are involved, the situation may give rise to a salvage service. Remember though, at Ocean Rescue & Recovery, we'll let you know right away (or as soon as practical) if the situation is salvage.
Ocean Rescue & Recovery has been providing towing services to boaters for more than twenty years. Examples of towing service are towing your vessel from its point of breakdown to your port of choice, fuel delivery and battery jumps, and soft ungroundings. If your boat breaks down we have the experience and equipment to bring your boat home. Ocean Rescue & Recovery provides towing services for boats of all sizes. We tow everything from jet skis to mega-yachts.