Shares of the Wreckers
November 26th, 2012 by Piper Smith
With all the salvaged cargo taken from shipwrecks, where did it all go? If it could be saved, the goods were taken to Key West to be appraised and auctioned. Crews of the vessels that assisted in the salvage operations would be awarded a share of the salvage value. Fifty percent of this award went to the owners of the wrecking vessels and the other fifty percent was divided amongst the crewmen. Regular crewmen received a half-share, cooks received one and a quarters share, while captains were given one to three shares. Because diving was the most dangerous salvaging method, divers would receive extra shares. It is currently speculated that the crews of wrecking operations made a living no greater than a regular seaman.