The Intricacies of Marine Salvage

The dictionary meaning of the word marine salvage is all encompassing and quite descriptive. Unlike, the meaning of the word salvage which is explained in simple terms as ‘to save from ruin, destruction, or harm’ and ‘to collect discarded or refused material’, when it comes to the aspect of explaining the term marine salvage Webster’s New World Dictionary includes the following points.

Salvage is explained something like this:

  • The rescue of a cargo or ship from peril.
  • The compensation paid to those who saved the vessel or cargo from peril.
  • The ship or cargo rescued.
  • The restoration of sunken vessel or cargo by divers.

And while earlier, marine salvage might have not been that much of a priority, in recent times, however the story is quite different and staggering. Owing to the recent increase in water traffic, the concept of marine salvager has become relevant and important. Also, since the ocean and sea waters are getting highly polluted, the concept of marine salvage has become a top-most priority.


Marine salvage is not only essential but is also tricky. And the trickiness involved makes it essential that a prospective marine salvager have the basic skills that would help him to sustain in the situation and avoid further complication. The basic skill set required is quite simple but one needs to be adept in them at the same time. Swimming, diving, basic mechanic skills, rigging (whenever required), seamanship, boat handling and patching (in case there is a leak scenario) are the seven most important and essential necessities that any marine salvager needs to be knowing while undertaking a marine salvage operation.

Also, when it comes to diving it is important that the depth of the area under the water is also monitored. This is because if the depth is too much, then salvaging from such a deep area would become difficult on account of lack of favorable light and oxygen problems. Therefore the prescribed diving limit for the purpose of marine salvage is limited to 60 km so as to facilitate smooth marine salvage and help the required.

In every situation that requires marine salvage, there are certain important gears that need to be used. A primary requirement, without which marine salvage cannot take place at all, would be that of a boat that would be strong and sturdy enough to hold the boatmen to safely carry out the procedure of marine salvage. Additionally, the boatmen also need to have basic handy tools that would help them to immediately take care of the minor incident-causing factors and then revert to the more serious ones. Also, the boatmen in a marine salvage help-boat need to be observant enough to utilize any item that would come cheap, expendable and that could be added to the pile of accessories to help the process of marine salvage without any hindrance.

A marine incident is costly therefore making the development of marine salvage highly relevant as a profession. There are people who undertake this profession as a successful part-time venture owing to the vast amount of compensation that they get for tracking the cargo and vessel and patching up what needs to be patched. A unique profession, marine salvage, is nonetheless one which is gaining lot of popularity not only because of the intrigue that the profession offers but also because of the success involved in it.

References: Marlegal, Marine Salvage: A guide to boaters and divers by George H. Reid

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