salvage (sal-vij), n.1. The rescue of imperiled property. 2. The property saved or remaining after a fire or other loss, sometimes retained by an insurance company that has compensated the owner for the loss. [Cases: Insurance 2194, 2717. C.J.S. Insurance § 1119.] 3. Compensation allowed to a person who, having no duty to do so, helps save a ship or its cargo. — Also termed (in sense 3) salvage award; reward. [Cases: Salvage 1. C.J.S. Salvage §§ 2, 4, 24.] — salvage,vb.
“Salvage is a reward payable either by the shipowner or by the owners of goods carried in the ship to persons who save the ship or cargo from shipwreck, capture or other loss. The right to salvage is an ancient rule of maritime law and is not based on contractual rights. The actual amount payable is, as a rule, assessed by the Court. Sometimes an express agreement, fixing an amount, is made before the assistance is rendered, but this is not a question of salvage in the strict sense, which always implies service by persons who are under no obligation to render it.” 2 E.W. Chance, Principles of Mercantile Law 98 (P.W. French ed., 10th ed. 1951).
“With reference to aid rendered to distressed property on navigable waters the word ‘salvage’ is often used indifferently to describe the salvage operation and the salvage operation and the salvage award — the latter being the compensation granted for the services rendered.” Martin J. Norris, The Law of Salvage§ 2, at 2 (1958).
“A salvage award, or reward, is the compensation allowed to the volunteer whose services on navigable waters have aided distressed property in whole or in part. The award is not regarded merely as pay on the principle of quantum meruit or as remuneration pro opera et labore, but as a reward to persons participating and the owners of salving property, voluntarily rendering their services and to encourage others to similarly undertake the saving of life and property. That part of the award constituting more than quantum meruit has, on occasions, been referred to as a ‘bounty,’ ‘gratuity,’ and ‘bonus.’ ” Martin J. Norris, The Law of Salvage§ 3, at 3–4 (1958). Black’s Law Dictionary (8th ed. 2004)