What’s The Difference Between Flotsam And Jetsam?

Flotsam and jetsam sound like a name of two twin brothers. Right? But in actuality,  in oceanic language, flotsam is a cargo or wreck which remains afloat after the ship sinks whereas jetsam is equipment that is thrown from the ship in distress that sinks and remains underwater. Scroll down to reveal more differences between the two.

What’s The Difference Between Flotsam And Jetsam?

Well in simple words, flotsam and jetsam are described as debris that are either discarded or useless objects. Here is the list of factors that will help you to distinguish between the two:

Flotsam is a word that comes from the French word “Flower” which means to float.Jetsam is a word that has arisen by shortening the word “jettison”.
After the shipwreck, the object which floats or settles down on the floor of the ocean is called flotsamIt is a term that is used to describe an object which is discarded from the sip into the open water
This debris is the result of accidental conditions.This debris has been thrown in the open water intentionally to save the ship from being overburdened.
The objects are belonging to the original owner but if he doesn’t claim the object in the meantime, then it belongs to the finder. These objects are a gift to the one who finds them,
According to maritime law, the finder is not allowed to hold the objects.As per maritime law, the finder is fully allowed to sell the object for profit.
Flotsam helps study the ocean current and is used for construction arenas or research purposes.Jetsam serves in increasing the biodiversity of the aquatic habitat probably by creating artificial reefs.
Examples include ship parts, containers, or vessels.  Titanic is the biggest example of it and today it holds great value.Examples include fishing nets, plastic bags, balloons, and waste from the cruise.

Final Thoughts

Flotsam and jetsam are a type of marine debris which are found either floating on the surface of the ocean or may sink towards the floor of the oceans or seas. Flotsam is the result of shipwrecking probably by accidents whereas jetsam is the discarded objects, thrown in the water to lighten up the ship. However, this debris affects aquatic life as well as wildlife greatly.

About the author


I am a Scholar and a dedicated content writer. I am on a mission to stamp out the importance of one of the ocean's most fascinating and remarkable creatures, the sharks, and to let people know about their role in keeping the ecosystem in equilibrium.