Salvage is a word that can scare even a captain of a ship, however with St. Clair Marine Salvage we make rescue and recovery of your ship and cargo a breeze. Marine salvage is the process of rescuing a ship, its cargo and sometimes the crew from peril. Salvage encompasses rescue towing, refloating a grounded ship or patching or repairing a ship. Today the protection of the environment from cargoes such as oil is often considered a higher priority than saving the ship or cargo. There are two types of salvage: contract salvage and pure salvage.


Contract Salvage

Occurs when a contract is made prior to commencement of salvage operations, the amount of compensation is fixed and the salvor is paid regardless of whether the salvage is successful or not.

Pure Salvage

Occurs when a ship or boat has been rescued or salvaged without prior agreement between the owner and salvor or an agreement is made but not for a fixed amount.

We can work with your insurance company to make sure your emergency is handled properly and in a timely manner.



Fees are based on the criteria in the SALCON 89* [International Convention on Salvage 1989]**Salvage awards are based on a 10 point system**The more points that are met the more the award


Also based on the 10 point system of the 1989 SALCON Convention. Emergency hoist fees are at an additional cost.

Storage Fees

$4.00 per ft. per day for salvaged boats until salvage bills are paid in full.  *Note: SALCON is an Act passed by Congress in 1996 adapting the International Salvage Convention Laws. The 10 points are identified in Chapter III, Article 13, Section 1.   The text of this convention can be found online by clicking on the link below.


A: When the price or reward for the salvage effort is left open in the agreement, to be decided later when the boat is safe and the two parties can calmly discuss the matter, that agreement is referred to as an “open form salvage agreement”.

Q: What if I don't sign a contract before my boat is salvaged? Can the salvor still make a claim?

A: It is important to understand that a contract is not necessary in order for a salvor to make a salvage claim. The salvor only needs to demonstrate that the effort was voluntary (he had no pre-existing obligation to come to the rescue), that he was successful and that the vessel rescued was in peril. This type of salvage claim is often referred to as “pure salvage”.

Q: So what if you find yourself in the predicament of needing a salvor to save your boat, you allow him to do it and now he wants you to sign a contract. Do you have to sign any contract just because the salvor puts it in front of you?

A: NO. The salvor still has a pure salvage claim against your boat. He must have your permission to render assistance if you are on board (you can not be forced into anything), but the absence of a signed agreement may mean that there will be some convincing necessary to get the salvor to resolve any dispute by arbitration as opposed to litigation. There is always litigation in Federal Court and, while not the most economical method of resolving the value of a boats “rescue”, it is tried and true.