is the practice of taking valuables from a ship which has foundered near or close to shore. In some cases this was deliberate; for example by faking the signals from lighthouses, so that the ship was wrecked and the cargo could be plundered. Wrecking is no longer economically significant, however as recently as the 19th century
in some parts of the world it was the mainstay of many otherwise economically marginal coastal communities.
This was particularly true for Cornwall where the rocky coastline and (sometimes) the display of false lights led many ships to disaster. The sailors were often murdered and stripped of their possessions, the ships themselves were looted for their cargoes.
Wrecking is the subject of Daphne du Maurier's novel Jamaica Inn.
See also: smuggling, Robert Stephen Hawker.