The differences between Vessel Salvage and Vessel Recovery are subtle and require some background knowledge.

The term Salvage applies all over the world in the marine or nautical industry, but for the purposes of this information we will focus on the United States of America. Salvage and the ability to claim Salvage is typically only recognized upon the Federal navigable waters of the U.S and on inland lakes and rivers that border more than one state. Inland waters of this nature allow for interstate transport and therefore are subject to federal rules. On waters where Salvage is not recognized Sea Tow will be performing Vessel Recovery services.

Vessel Recovery services will typically be billed on a time and material (T&M) basis or under a Flat Fee structure. Many of the same methods and equipment will be employed during the vessel recovery as would be in a salvage situation.

With this in mind, boats need to be recovered or salvaged when partially beached, completely beached or sunk.  A boat is considered sunk when the dipstick is wet or the engine is wet.  Hard aground is just that, up on the beach no water in the boat, no holes in the hull, and minimum sand in the boat.

If your boat is submereged in water and needs a professional marine salvage, to recover, raise and dewater the interior of the boat.  Riverside Scuba is the authorized contractor for the State of Calfornia Lake Perris.



The boat insurer or the owner will be responsible for the cost of services provided. Costs for services may be invoiced in several different ways depending on the situation. These include: Time and Materials (T&M), Flat Fee or in cases of Pure Salvage, the salvor may submit for a salvage award.

Salvage awards are based upon several factors including, but not limited to, the value of what the salvor has saved. It should be noted that the greater the peril, the higher the cost of service is likely to be. In cases involving high risk, the cost of the service often cannot be determined until the service is performed. In cases where the vessel or object has no value and is a total loss, the services provided would be considered Wreck Removal.


Riverside Scuba Vessel Recovery endorses the U.S. Open Form Salvage Agreement, known as the MARSALV contract (view PDF). As with any event, reaching an agreement concerning the terms of the service can avoid unpleasant surprises later. However, if, as determined by Riverside Scuba Vessel Recovery Unit Team Leader, your vessel is in imminent danger of being damaged or damaging the environment or other boats, you may be legally required to take all steps necessary to protect the vessel immediately.

It is extremely important that you have sufficient and proper insurance coverage for your vessel. As long as your vessel is properly insured, the cost of services will be covered by your vessel hull insurance policy. If the vessel is not properly insured, the owner is wholly responsible for all charges associated with the performance of services.

The foregoing is offered for general information purposes only, and may not be construed as a legal opinion.


We will arrive on scene promptly after the owner of the vessel has called with the details, provides authorization via email to recovery the vessel, and either pay the agreed price in CASH, or will file a claim with the insurance comany.  If filling an insurance claim, we will need the insurance company information, policy number, claim number and adjuster's name, phone number and email address prior to the removelof the vessel. Once we receive authorization for the cost of our services to remove the vessel, Riverside Scuba will deplopy it's Dive Team for an initial assessment.

When an accident sends your boat down - we will bring it back up.

What We Do:

  • Diver's enter water to assess the boat and it's surrounding area.
  • Diver's accend back to the surface to provide the Dive Team Leader with their assessment.
  • Divers descend back to the bottom to collect debris and secures outdrives etc...
  • Dive Team Leader prepares the divers with lifting straps/rigging, floation pillows (airbags) and miscellaneous tools.
  • Divers secure the boat and start it's lifting process with floation pillows.
  • Once the boat is on the surface's the process of dewatering begins.
  • Diver's secures miscellaneous items on the boat.
  • Boat is than towed to the nearest boat launch ramp.


Freshwater lake with a maximum depth of 80 feet.

  • $2,500 for a daytime recovery if partially beached, fully beached or sunk to a maximum depth of 25 feet.
  • $4,500 for a daytime recovery if sunk to a maximum depth of 80 feet.
  • $3,000 for EPA hazardous spill cleanup for fuel, oil and hydraulic fluid.
  • $300 an hour road time for either emergency or non emergency tows from Boat location to salvage storage yard.

Call Riverside Scuba Salvage and Recovery Dive Team Department at 213-500-3474, 24 hours, 7 days a week for immediate response.