Following recent events in French Polynesia, and according to an all-too-widespread idea, a boat stranded on the coast does not belong to the person or those who find it. In France, according to Decree 61-1547 of 26 December 1961 setting the regime for sea wrecks, anyone who discovers a wreck is obliged, to the extent possible, to bring it to safety, including to place it out of the sea. Within 48 hours of the discovery or arrival at the first port if the wreck age has been found at sea, it must report it to the Maritime Affairs Administrator or his representative. The owner then has 3 months from the notification of the discovery or rescue of the wreckto claim his property. The time after which the wreck can be sold, for the benefit of the state.
This implies, therefore, that anyone who engages in the plundering of an object washed up on the coast is liable to be subject to criminal prosecution, because it is theft no more and no less.
The "right to break" has not been short since 1682, but the conventional wisdom is hard-skinned.
Based on an article by Delphine Fleury published in Sailing and Sailing No. 02893