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Salvage (the recovery of lost or damaged vessels) is a recurring theme in Arthur Ransome's Swallows and Amazons series, with descriptions of rescues of stricken boats.

Sharks or Yarmouth sharks claim salvage on boats and Wreckers wreck boats to pillage the contents. The books have stories of sharks who help unsuspecting skippers in a tight spot (or during minor difficulties), then claim salvage rights over the rescued vessel.

Casting off occurs in Coot Club, and in The Big Six where it is a major part of the plot.


Great Yarmouth, locally known as Yarmouth, is a coastal town in Norfolk. It is at the mouth of the River Yare, 20 miles east of Norwich, see Great Yarmouth in Wikipedia. Old Bob in Come Along is from Yarmouth.

Salvage in the books[]

  • Swallowdale: A detailed description of the wreck and salvage of Swallow, followed by a trip to the boatbuilders under jury rig.
  • Coot Club: The crew of Teasel are harrassed by Yarmouth sharks as they pass the Yarmouth bridges: And then a man appeared on the bank “Take you through Yarmouth, sir” …. But Tom had heard about the wreckers of Yarmouth who are always ready to lend a hand and, a little later, to do a bit of salvage work (CC18). At the climax of the book, Margoletta sinks in the perilously tidal Breydon Water — necessitating a dramatic salvage by the Death and Glories: Them Yarmouth sharks says Joe (but it is Old Bob in Come Along), and shortly Take us into Yarmouth yelled the Hullabaloos” (CC28).
  • The Big Six: George Owdon talks loudly to his friend Ralph in their hearing about the Death and Glories: "You've heard of Yarmouth sharks? .. They wreck boats and then get the credit for salving them. No better than common thieves." (BS2).
  • We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea: Jim Brading tells a horror story about his friend Ellright's yacht being seized for salvage by some Longshore sharks, and says to "never take a tow from anyone" (WD5). Later he says "how Jim's friend had to sell his boat to pay the Ramsgate sharks" (WD18). This advice influences John's reluctance to ask for help when Goblin drifts out to sea without her skipper. But when John sees the pilot vessel, they signal the Flushing pilot at the end of Goblin's North Sea crossing: John says "Remember the pilots at Falmouth. We're all right now ... we can take a pilot .. it isn't like asking for help. Jim said so himself ... even liners do it." But he is still concerned as they are "so beastly young", and sends the others below (WD19).
  • 'Coots in the North' The Death and Glories are bored because the salvage business is in decline on the Broads. A possible ending for this incomplete story includes the salvage of Captain Flint's houseboat when its anchor chain breaks in a squall.

Native article[]

Wikipedia:Marine salvage