The total demand for salvage tug services is significantly down from its peaks in the years around World War II.
The increasing sensitivity of societies and legal systems to environmental damage and the increasing size of ships has to some extent offset the decline in the number of salvage operations undertaken. Accidents such as major oil tanker groundings or sinkings may require extensive salvage efforts to try and minimize the environmental damage (see Exxon Valdez oil spill, Amoco Cadiz, Torrey Canyon and in general Category:Oil spills).
In 1943, Jacques Cousteau's team made the film Épaves (Shipwrecks), in which they used two of the very first Aqua-Lung prototypes. Subsequently, he investigated, filmed, and wrote about his experiences on numerous other wreck and salvage operations.
Ghost Ship a film about an ocean liner which disappeared in mysterious circumstances and is discovered by a maritime salvage contractor. Tragedy strikes the salvage crew as they discover the true secrets of the ship.