The definition of salvage is “saving property in peril at sea and reducing environmental damage.” Salvage is also “all the actions taken aboard and ashore to resolve a marine casualty and to save property in peril at sea.”
There are four items that must be present for any situation to be considered a salvage:
Voluntary (no pre-existing contractual relationship to provide the services)
Success (in part or in whole)
The object must be a recognized subject of salvage (i.e., have value)
Most all of the on the-water services performed by Sea Tow involve vessels in some degree of peril and are therefore technically salvage. The difference is that many of these services are low peril, for example, covered ungroundings, jump starts and fuel drops, which are covered by your Sea Tow membership and are provided free of charge.