FACTORS THAT INFLUENCE AWARD SIZE
1. The salvaged vessel’s post-casualty value. How much the vessel is worth after it
2. Weather and sea conditions. Rough seas and strong winds make salvaging more
challenging and increase the award.
3. Degree of risk involved. If there is no immediate danger to the vessel or her crew, the
award may be lower. However, if the weather is severe or the vessel is being driven toward
rocks, for example, the risk and therefore the award will typically be higher.
4. The salvor’s skill, experience, promptness, and expertise. Professional salvors typically
have a high level of skill and expertise and get on scene as quickly as possible. This factor
is designed to weed out a casual boater offering assistance, or someone who suddenly
becomes a salvor when they believe there may be a substantial award.
5. The salvor’s time, equipment, expenses, and losses. The effectiveness of the salvor’s
equipment, their expenses and losses such as spill kits and damaged equipment, and the
amount of time involved in a salvage operation are considered in the award.
6. Environmental damage avoidance. Environmental fines for oil spillage and reef or sea
grass damage can be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars and the effort a salvor puts
into preventing such damage is taken into consideration in deciding an award.
7. Measure of success. Was the salvage effort completely successful and did it cause no
further damage to the vessel?
8. The value, readiness, and efficiency of the salvor’s vessel. A typical small salvage and
towing vessel can cost well over $100,000 and larger ones several times that. Salvors also
have to invest in high-priced commercial towboat insurance, pumps, oil spill kits, lines, and
other emergency equipment, which can push their investment to well over $1 million.
9. Prevailing prices and awards for comparable salvage and services. Awards are not likely
to be much different from awards for similar operations. Low-order salvage, such as a
hard ungrounding may command awards around 5-10 percent of the post-casualty value.
Salvaging boats sunk in open water will be considerably higher.
owners, and is designed to avoid costly and
drawn-out litigation in court. BoatU.S. plays
absolutely no role in the decision-making
process; our function is administrative, facilitating communications and keeping the parties on a timely track toward a resolution.
Modeled after other arbitration plans, it’s an
expedited and inexpensive way to resolve
salvage claim disputes.
Each party selects an arbitrator from a
list of admiralty attorneys and marine professionals (salvors, marine surveyors, etc.)
who are experienced in salvage matters. The
two arbitrators then select a third, who is
always an experienced admiralty attorney,
and the three-person panel reviews all facts
as presented by the two parties. There are no
direct communications between the parties
and the arbitration panel; all communication is in writing and there is no in-person
testimony. Each side is given the opportunity
to rebut information given by the other. The
Plan saves both parties money, often a lot
of money. Rather than pay hourly attorney
rates and court costs, which can quickly add
up to tens of thousands of dollars, per-party
fees for the arbitration service are capped
at $2,750, of which $350 goes to BoatU.S.