Legal Definition and Related Resources of Salvage

Meaning of Salvage

In maritime law a reward or compensation given to those who have successfully rescued the cargo or the ship or both from threatened or impending loss or injury or from actual peril or loss. See The Jefferson, 215 U. S. 130,30 S. Ct. 54,54 L. Ed. 125. The reward or compensation allowed by the maritime law for the service rendered in saving maritime property , at risk or in distress , by those under no legal obligation to render it, which results in benefit to the property if eventually saved. See La Rue v United Fruit Co., (C.AA.Md.) 181 F.2d 895. The compensation allowed will vary with the circumstances of the case, but generally in cases of legal derelict, it may be one-third of the gross proceeds or may even amount to one-half. See M’Donough v Dannery, 3 Dali (U.S.) 188, 1 L.Ed. 563; Oelwerke Teutonia v Erlonger, 248 U.S. 521, 39 S.Ct. 180, 63 L.Ed. 399. In order to constitute salvage, it is essential that there must have been danger to the subject of the service, and secondly that the undertaking of the service be a voluntary act on the part of the salvor , and not as a result of any contract or duty imposed upon that person . See The Connemara, 108 U.S. 352, 2 S. Ct. 754, 27 L.Ed. 751.

Salvage Alternative Definition

In maritime law. A compensation given by the maritime law for service rendered in saving property or rescuing it from impending peril on the sea or wrecked on the coast of the sea, or, in the United States, on a public navigable river or lake, where interstate or foreign commerce is carried on. 1 Sumn’. (U. S.) 210, 416; 12 How. (U. S.) 466; 1 Blatchf, (U. S.) 420; 5 McLean (U. S.) 359. Occasionally used to designate the property saved. 2 Phil. Ins. § 1488; 2 Pars. Mar. Law, 595. There are three things essential to the right to salvage:
(1) The peril. In order to found a title to salvage, the peril from which the property was saved must be real, not speculative merely (1 Cranch [U. S.] 1) ; but it need not be such that escape from it by any other means thkn by the aid of the salvors was impossible. It is sufficient that the peril was something extraordinary, something differing in kind and degree from the ordinary perils of navigation. 1 Curt. [U. S.] 353; 2 Curt. [U. S.] 350. All services rendered at sea to a vessel in distress are salvage services. 1 W. Rob. Adm. 174; 3 W. Rob. Adm. 71. But the peril must be present and pending, not future, contingent, and conjectural. 1 Sumn. (U. S.) 216; 3 Hagg. Adm. 344. It may arise from the sea, rocks, fire, pirates, or enemies (1 Cranch [U. S.] 1), or from the sickness or death of the crew of master (1 Curt. [U. S.] 376; 2 Wall. Jr. [U. S.] 59; 1 Swab. 84)
(2) The saving. In order to give a title to salvage, the property must be effectually saved; it must be brought to some port of safety, and it must be there in a state capable of being restored to the owner, before the service can be deemed completed. 1 Sumn. (U. S.) 417; 1 W. Rob. Adm. 329, 406. It must be saved by the instrumentality of the asserted salvors, or their services must contribute in some certain degree to save it (4 Wash. C. C. [U. S.] 651; 01c. Adm. [U. S.] 462) ; though, if the services were rendered on the request of the master or owner, the salvor is entitled to salvage, though the services were slight, and the property was saved mainly by a providential act (5 McLean [U. S.] 359; 1 Newb. Adm. [U. S.] 130; 2 W. Rob. Adm. 91; Bee, Adm. [U. S.] 90; 9 Lond. Jur. 119).
(3) The place. In England it has been held that the services must be rendered on the high seas, or, at least, extra corpus convitatus, in order to give the admiralty court jurisdiction to decree salvage; but in this country it is held that the district courts of the United States have jurisdiction to decree salvage for services rendered on tide waters and on the lakes or rivers where interstate or foreign commerce is carried on, although infra corpus comitatus. 12 How. (U. S.) 466; 1 Blatchf. (U. S.) 420; 5 McLean (U. S.) 359.

Synonyms of Salvage


  • conservation
  • deliverance
  • extrication
  • property saved
  • recapture
  • reclaimed materials
  • reclamation
  • recoupment
  • recovery
  • redemption
  • remains
  • reoccupation
  • repossession
  • rescue
  • retrieval
  • return
  • salvation
  • scrap Associated Concepts: equitable salvage
  • net salvage
  • salvage charges
  • salvage loss
  • salvage service

Related Entries of Salvage in the Encyclopedia of Law Project

Browse or run a search for Salvage in the American Encyclopedia of Law, the Asian Encyclopedia of Law, the European Encyclopedia of Law, the UK Encyclopedia of Law or the Latin American and Spanish Encyclopedia of Law.

Salvage in Historical Law

You might be interested in the historical meaning of this term. Browse or search for Salvage in Historical Law in the Encyclopedia of Law.

Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms

Search for legal acronyms and/or abbreviations containing Salvage in the Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms Dictionary.

Related Legal Terms

You might be also interested in these legal terms:

Mentioned in these terms

Salvage Loss, Salvage Money, Salvage Service, Salvage Value, Salvor, Towage.


You might be interested in these references tools:

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Salvage in the Dictionary Salvage in our legal dictionaries
Browse the Legal Thesaurus Find synonyms and related words of Salvage
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Related topics Salvage in the World Encyclopedia of Law


This definition of Salvage is based on the The Cyclopedic Law Dictionary . This entry needs to be proofread.

Vocabularies (Semantic Web Information)


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Sitemap Index Sitemap Index, including Taxonomies The URI of Salvage (more about URIs)

Salvage in Law Enforcement

Main Entry: Law Enforcement in the Legal Dictionary. This section provides, in the context of Law Enforcement, a partial definition of salvage.

Salvage in Maritime Law

Note: There is more information on maritime/admiralty law here.

The following is a definition of Salvage, produced by Tetley, in the context of admiralty law: [Translation of Salvage in French: “assistance” or “assistance en mer”] [Translation of Salvage in Spanish: “salvamento”] [Translation of Salvage in Italian: “assistenza e salvataggio”] [Translation of Salvage in German: “Bergung”] – The salvor has a claim of salvage reward if he has successfully and voluntarily salvaged maritime property in danger. The civil law term is “assistance” (see this maritime law term in this legal dictionary) permitting the salvor to be rewarded whether the salvage was successful or not. “Sauvetage” (see this maritime law term in this legal dictionary) is used in France for wreck salvage [Translation of Salvage in Italian: “ricupero”]. See Chap. 9 in Tetley, M.L.C., 2 Ed., 1998 at pp. 329-382; Tetley, Int’l. M. & A. L., 2003, Chap. 8, at pp. 317-359.


See Also

  • Law Enforcement Officer
  • Police
  • Law Enforcement Agency

Further Reading

Salvage in Admiralty Law

For information on salvage in this context, see the entry on salvage in the maritime law encyclopedia.




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