One of the ways I stay proficient with the rules of flying is by referencing the AIM frequently. In fact it is the only reading material in the bathroom. So every time I need to use the facilities, I open up the AIM to a random page/section and read away.
I came across this gem last night:
514. The law, statutory and other, including the provisions of this Part, relating to wrecks and to the salvage of life or property and to the duty or obligation to render assistance to ships or vessels in distress, applies to aircraft on or over the sea or tidal waters and on and over the Great Lakes, as it applies to ships or vessels, and the owner of an aircraft is entitled to a reasonable reward for salvage services rendered by the aircraft to any property or persons in any case where the owner of the aircraft would be so entitled had it been a ship or vessel.
My interpretation of this excerpt essentially is: If an aircraft finds a shipwreck it is entitled to the same salvage rights as if a ship or vessel found the wreck. As well, a pilot flying an aircraft has the same duties and obligation as a vessel to render assistance to ships/vessels in distress.
I tried looking up this particular excerpt in the Canadian Shipping Act only to find it had been repealed when the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 came into force.
I guess the AIM needs to be updated. I guess that also means that there is no legal requirement for aircraft to render assistance to ships/vessels in distress?
Update: I contacted the person responsible for the AIM at Transport Canada via e-mail. He said that he would pass my comments on to the DND and NSS for their review.