From Openwaterpedia

noun - Flotsam is (1) wreckage or cargo that remains afloat after a ship has sunk, (2) floating refuse or debris, or (3) discarded odds and ends.


The swimmer ran into flotsam that startled her during the race.


Anglo-Norman floteson, from Old French floter, to float, of Germanic origin; see pleu- in Indo-European roots.

Flotsam versus Jetsam

In maritime law, flotsam applies to wreckage or cargo left floating on the sea after a shipwreck. Jetsam applies to cargo or equipment thrown overboard from a ship in distress and either sunk or washed ashore. The common phrase flotsam and Jetsam is now used loosely to describe any objects found floating or washed ashore.


jetsam, wrack, marine debris

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