Bottomry, also known as a bottomry bond, is a contract where a shipowner provides his or her ship as security for a loan to finance a voyage or for a certain period of time. The shipowner usually uses the loan for maritime (i.e. sea-related) risks (e.g. repairs, equipment, emergencies) during the voyage. However, the lender cannot enforce the contract if the ship does not return or is lost; the lender can only enforce the contract if the ship survives the voyage. If the ship returns safely, the shipowner will be liable for repayment of the loan.
[Last updated in June of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]