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Marine Salvage In Cape Coral, Ft Myers Beach, Sanibel, Captiva, St James City, Bonita Springs, LaBelle, & Moore Haven, FL

Towing or Salvage? A salvage is more complex & expensive than a simple tow — learn the difference by clicking here!
Hard-grounded boat being towed by a TowBoatUS towboat

Salvage, historically and legally, is any voluntary and successful rescue of a boat, its cargo and/or it’s passengers from peril at sea. TowBoatUS, On-The-Water Towing plans do not cover the member for salvage or pollution clean up costs. Many boat insurance policies do, however, cover these costs.

Check with your insurance agent to determine if these costs are covered by your policy. If your boat insurance policy is underwritten by BoatUS and you need salvage services, TowBoatUS Cape Coral will work directly with BoatUS Marine Insurance underwriters and send all invoices related to the salvage of your boat directly to them for payment. If, however, you are insured by another insurance underwriter, you may have to pay for the salvage costs upfront and seek reimbursement from your boat insurance company.

Salvage operations are billed on the basis of the length of the boat to be salvaged, the complexity of the salvage operation, the kinds of equipment needed and the number of personnel involved. Salvage fees range from a simple price per foot multiplied by the length of the vessel being salvaged to a percentage of the full insured value of the vessel. Pollution clean up is billed on the basis of the time, materials, and personnel required.

The accompanying box below illustrates the range of possible charges.

Salvage Oil Spill/Fuel Pollution Clean Up
Fees range from $25 per foot of vessel length to a percentage of the insured value of the vessel depending on the equipment needed and complexity of the salvage. Additional hourly charges for any vessel(s) involved in the salvage may also apply. Billed on the basis of personnel time, cleanup equipment, and materials used, and disposal charges for contaminated materials. Personnel charges are $75 - $150 per hour per person. Materials costs are dependent on materials required.

As you can see, salvage costs can mount quickly. Your best protection against incurring a huge salvage bill is to carry adequate insurance on your boat. To further protect your investment, it is a good idea to perform regular and routine maintenance to ensure trouble-free boating. Boaters should make sure their insurance policy provides for the full value of their boat, not a percentage of its value, and that there is no deductible for salvage costs. The BoatUS Marine Insurance program offers this level of service.

"The thin veneer we call civilization can disappear where a shipwreck is concerned." Richard Loran, Shipwrecks of Great Britain and Ireland

Understanding the difference between towing and salvage can save boaters money and aggrevation. Historically and legally, salvage is any voluntary and successful rescue of a boat., its cargo and/or its passengers from a peril at sea. BoatUS, however, narrows this definition. When contracting for towing services on behalf of its 650,000 members, it requires that marine assistance companies distinguish between simple towing and/or soft groundings and the more serious and expensive salvage efforts where distress or danger exist.

The distinction between towing and salvage is reflected in the different types of programs available to boaters. Towing assistance, like the pre-paid service available to BoatUS members from the TowBoatUS fleet, provides help for breakdowns and light groundings. The far more expensive salvage claims are covered only by yacht insurance policies.

If the salvor wants to do the job but does not know what the cost will be but will make claim afterwards, the final amount will be decided one of three ways -- negotiation with your insurance company; binding arbitration (including the BoatUS Salvage Arbitration Program, a lowcost option available to any boat owner, insurance company, and marine assistance company) or, rarely, through litigation in federal admiralty courts.

All boaters should review their marine insurance coverage with their agent. The best protection against a salvage bill is adequate insurance. Boaters should make sure the policy provides for salvage up to the full value of the boat, not a percentage of its value, and that there is no deductible for salvage costs. The BoatUS marine insurance program offers this level of service.

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