Originally Posted by Cormorant
But where does the line get drawn? Is there any clear time limit as to when a grounding becomes a wreck . . . becomes wreckage scattered on the sea bottom?
In my mind, it would become a 'wreck' when the hull
can no longer practically be made watertight and it is beyond hope of salvage
whole. In that case, 'breaking' the wreck would be appropriate - after reasonable attempts to contact the owner. The property would still remain theirs, and it would be up to you to negotiate a sale
or salvage price
if they do contact you.
In this case, not only can the vessel still be salvaged, but it is still watertight and dry, and in all appearances perfectly seaworthy
. It is no different from any of our boats aground, except that the owners have been forced off the boat and deported against their will. Whether you're trying to follow the law or just being a nice person, at least leaving the boat intact - or having it towed off the reef by a passing powerboat if you have the time and money
- is clearly the proper thing to do. The boat was someone's home and they were forced off it so quickly that they even left their wallet and phone
. Maybe they weren't that great a couple, but they had had a hell of a time by all accounts with his pension from France
being cut off and being forced on peoples charity. People got annoyed that their boat was an eyesore in their pretty harbour and bullied them out to sea. Finally, they run aground only to be deported by local authorities back to France
. When someone finds their boat in a seaworthy
state, they decide to strip it rather than tow it to a safe port where it could be sold or reboarded by the couple. How can we be arguing about whether this is right or wrong?!
However, this difference of opinion is almost worthy of a 'salvage' poll
... that could be interesting!