Originally Posted by indaba1991
Interesting matter salvage - including the much misunderstood debate about handing over a tow rope / being handed a tow rope. Under Maritime English law if anyone takes a boat in tow in a matter of salvage you do not automatically become the owner of that vessel. If you have made an effort to save / tow a vessel and you feel you have not been adequately compensated for what you did, (when the vessel is adequately insured) the incident will be referred to an arbitration board who decide the level of compensation. In any one incident historically claims never exceed 5-8% of the vessels value - and that can mean salvaged value (not original). The arbitrators will also increase the salvage sum if there other circumstances such as a fishing boat losing fishing time. If you rescued a burning tanker going up a beach the reward sum would be significantly increased because of danger / avoiding a polluted coastline etc. The law in these cases is eminently sensible and in a way dissuades people letting vessels go from moorings and then "salvaging" them. If the jet-ski guy towed the burning boat away from the dock and saved the marina catching fire he would be entitled to a claim related to that - plus what he did had a definite risk element. But he would not have any automatic title to the vessel. The law is very complicated and anyone who thinks his rib might break down and need a tow should definitely discuss with his insurance company how to respond if such an event occurred - individual policies can be different. I often hear people claiming they have a wonderfully cheap insurance deal. If they read the small print they may see discover they are not particularly well covered in this type of event. They may even have personal liability to cover certain sums - good policies will cover most potential salvage issues but it is really worth checking.
Pure salvage award value can be a much higher % of boat, and all contents at time, depending on 'danger' involved
If ever in that situation crucial to agree a nominal price for TOWAGE before any tow starts, ideally writing and signing on some paper if possible. Verbal agreement witnessed is not as strong.
Otherwise you may receive a salvage demand for some considerably higher payment afterwards