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XI. Professional Salvors

Exactly what constitutes a professional salvor has not been precisely defined. However, The LAMINGTON set out some factors as to what constitutes a professional salvor, including machinery, skills and appliances being ready for instant service even if only called for occasionally. Another case, Bindon v. Jones, indicates that a part-time professional salvor can exist. Furthermore, the Second Circuit has indicated that "exclusive devotion of a company's resources to salvage is not a condition precedent to recognition of a professional salvor's favored status". Most recently it was noted that part-time professional salvors, although called upon to perform salvage operations, deserve an increment due to their availability to persons in distress. In most cases, the salvors involved have devoted a significant amount of capital, time and energy in furtherance of the services they provide. Although they may not engage in salvage operations seven days a week, they are available to do so should the need arise. For this reason and the reasons cited above, the Court should find that the salvors involved are appropriately considered as professional salvors and are entitled to an equitable uplift in the salvage award because of their professional status.

Public policy also provides that, in order to encourage professional salvors to relieve the taxpayers from the necessity of buying, equipping and maintaining salvage vessels as well as training and maintaining their crews, professional salvors are entitled not only to compensation for services rendered, but to a so-called equitable uplift or incentive bonus to induce both small and large salvors to remain in business, prepared to respond to the next mayday. A professional salvor is entitled to claim a special bonus award for a successful salvage. The concept that professional salvors are entitled to premium pay for successful completion of their services has been long standing and is widespread. There is strong public policy that a professional salvor is entitled to a more liberal award than an amateur in order to encourage professional salvors to maintain salvage equipment and expertise.

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