As I was revising, I used the word "flotsam" and decided to make sure I was using it correctly or that there was not a better word. Recently I was working on a different story and ran across a different meaning for a familiar word. I've learned to follow my gut if something feels off or like I should do a little research. I was confident in my use of "flotsam," but there was that tug to double check.
"Flotsam" does have a specific meaning in maritime terms - and although a ship doesn't play a part in the story at all, I am still confident in my use. I also was okay on the meaning of "jetsam," not applicable to the short story, but there it is.
But the new words are lagan (also called ligan) and derelict. Well, derelict with this meaning; not an unfamiliar word, but a new meaning. I did cross-reference with other dictionary sources on flotsam and jetsam and there are additional definitions.
So - the short wiki overview of these four types of maritime debris is below.
And, yes, I did immediately close my browser and return to writing.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
In maritime law, flotsam, jetsam, lagan and derelict describe specific kinds of wreck. The words have specific nautical meanings, with legal consequences in the law of admiralty and marine salvage.
Flotsam is floating wreckage of a ship or its cargo. Jetsam is part of a ship, its equipment, or its cargo that is purposefully cast overboard or jettisoned to lighten the load in time of distress and that sinks or is washed ashore. Lagan(also called ligan) is cargo that is lying on the bottom of the ocean, sometimes marked by a buoy, which can be reclaimed. Derelict is cargo that is also on the bottom of the ocean, but which no one has any hope of reclaiming.