Marine Salvage and Recovery Diving Services

At RS Divers, we have the skills and experience you need to complete marine salvage and recovery on your behalf. We offer a fast call out and respond to emergencies at speed, giving you the best chance to get your vessel out of the water with minimal impact.

Underwater Marine Salvage & Recovery Services

RS Divers works very closely with most marine insurance companies. If a boat owner requires the use of our marine salvage and recovery services to salvage their boat or yacht, we can salvage through their marine insurance.

What Does Marine Salvage and Recovery Cover?

If you think that you may need to utilise our salvage and recovery service then you can count on us to be able to provide:

  • Search and recovery services
  • Cranes and underwater rigging 
  • Underwater cutting equipment
  • Underwater inspection and maintenance
  • Boat salvage diving services
  • Debris and seabed clearing

Each of these services allows us to provide you with the best solution for your needs. We are on call 24/7 and ready to respond to any emergencies as well as providing planned recoveries or support for large projects.

Our Diving Experience

Here at RS Divers, we have over 30 years of experience and are a team that love what we do. We are based in Portsmouth but offer our inshore commercial diving, salvage, and marine civil engineering services across the UK so that you can get the high-quality help needed wherever you are located.

As an inshore company, we work in the sea whilst close to the shore and in any inland waterways where you may require support, including rivers, reservoirs, lakes and more.

Why RS Divers is the Best Choice

Not only are we an experienced and professional team, but we also have excellent working relationships with many UK marinas, harbour authorities, surveyors, and insurance companies. This means that there will be less time wasted, resulting in an efficient and effective recovery and a fairly priced service.

We know that an unexpected salvage or recovery job can leave you feeling concerned about cost. That’s why we offer a fair and consistent pricing structure so that you know how much your salvage and recovery needs will cost before we even start work. We operate 24/7 and are committed to the highest levels of customer service. Call us today to discuss your needs – we are here to help!

Frequently Asked Questions About Marine Salvage Operations

Through our years of operation in marine salvage operations and wreck removal, we’ve composed a compilation of frequently asked questions you may have on marine salvage.

For search and recovery, our expert divers use side scanners and grappling hooks to locate missing vessels. We then identify the site with buoys for recovery. Some salvage projects require the use of cranes and underwater rigging. For these projects we use lift bags and other buoyancy control devices to bring wrecks to the surface, as well as crane-based salvages. If the vessel is too large to recover by crane or lift bags, RS Divers can using underwater cutting equipment to turn wrecks, vessels or items requiring salvage into smaller pieces which can be taken to the surface.
When you contact us for support with marine salvage and recovery, we will begin by assessing the site to ensure that it is safe for recovery and identify what equipment is needed. Once this stage has been completed, our commercial dive team will work swiftly to recover any cargo on the vessel and bring it to the surface, reuniting you with your valued possessions. After all the cargo has been recovered, we will then get to work on recovering the vessel itself. If we are recovering a small vessel, we will typically utilise equipment such as salvage barges and cranes as this is the most effective marine salvage equipment for the job. However, if we need to complete a ship salvage or larger vessel recovery, we will work to attach lift bags that we will fill with air to be raised to the surface and then towed through the water.

In addition to recovering vessels that have sunk, we also provide our services when vessels run aground or other clearance salvage projects. Many clients require support to remove and reduce shallow wreckage so that navigational problems can be avoided and we can do this too. Because we run a 24/7 service, you can be certain that we can help whenever you need us.
This will be dependent on your policy. If your boat needs to be salvaged RS Divers is experienced to work closely with most marine insurance companies.
If you have found an abandoned wreckage that you would like to salvage, we can support you with this process and complete your recovery. However, you will need to follow the appropriate laws and guidance on reporting the wreckage, finding the owner, and reporting what was found as part of the recovery. This process can be time-consuming, and you must be aware of the process before you commission us to complete the work for you. If you need further information or want to discuss a specific project, we are ready to take your call today.
Damage from weather, sea conditions or collisions may cause a vessel to sink. The cost of recovering a sunken boat will depend on two key factors; the salvage operations required to raise the vessel and the length of the boat being salvaged. Both these factors will determine the length of time it will take to successfully complete the salvage operation. Hiring an experienced marine salvage business will ensure the operation to recover the sunken wreck will be completed efficiently and promptly.
Salvaging a sunken boat involves recovering another person's boat or cargo. The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) states salvaging a boat is a statutory duty for all seafarers.

Salvaging a sunken boat may require the skills and expertise of specialist marine salvage business. Marine salvage operations may involve the use of towing, floating or raising a sunken boat or saving a wreck.

When salvaging a sunken boat you must be aware of the Salvage Laws applicable. In the UK, if you salvage and recover wreck material from within UK waters you must report the wreck to the UK Government appointed 'Receiver of Wreck'. The Receiver is responsible for sourcing the owner and liaising between the owner and finder. The Receiver remit applies to tidal water in the UK, and therefore excludes inland, non-tidal lakes or rivers in the UK. Under UK Salvage Law, a person who recovers another person’s boat or cargo from danger at sea is entitled to a reward based on the value of the property saved.
Under Section 255 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995, a wreck is defined as, "jetsam, flotsam, lagan and derelict found in or on the shores of the sea or any tidal water".

  • Jetsam refers to goods cast overboard to lighten a vessel in danger of sinking. The vessel may still perish.
  • Flotsam refers to goods lost from a ship which has sunk or otherwise perished. Goods are recoverable because they remain afloat.
  • Lagan refers to goods cast overboard from a ship which afterwards perishes. The goods are buoyed so they can be recovered.
  • Derelict refers to property, whether vessel or cargo, which has been abandoned and deserted at sea by those who were in charge of it without any hope of recovering it.
If a boat comes off its moorings, it isn’t typically classified as a wreck for the purposes of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995, as it hasn’t been abandoned without hope of recovery. Similarly, buoys, such as data buoys, are not classed as a wreck, but buoys forming part of fishing equipment may be classed as a wreck when adrift.
If you find an abandoned boat, a derelict ship, a sunken wreck or wreck material, it is recommended you report your find to the Local Harbour Master. Your Local Harbour Master will be able to advise you on next steps, which may include reporting it to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. The Report of Wreck and Salvage Form MSF 6200 can be found on the Government website. You are required to submit the form to the Marine and Coastguard Agency within 28 days of finding the wreck. Upon receipt, the Marine and Coastguard Agency will appoint the Receiver of Wreck, who will be responsible for sourcing the owner of the ship and liaising between yourself and the owner.

Marine salvage is the process of recovering a ship, vessel or yacht which is deemed in danger at sea. The persons involved in the marine salvage recovery is entitled to a reward based on the value of the vessel saved.


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