This article is a case study of wrecking, based on a database of hundreds of shipwrecks that occurred between 1780 and 1870, in what is today Estonia. Through a qualitative analysis of narrative sources, it examines the wrecking activities of manorial lords as well as of their peasants. Contrary to the international scholarly tradition, which views wrecking as an activity of the common people, this article sheds light on the deceptive and opportunistic activities of manorial lords, who were responsible for enforcing the law at the local level by performing police and court functions, but who, at the same time, benefited on a large scale from wrecking. The article contrasts this with the opportunities coastal peasants had to wreck for their own profit. In wrecking and salvage, the three characteristic elements of peasant-landlord relationships – exploitation, partnership, and patronage – emerge. In contrast with studies focusing on the friction between peasants and their lords in regions dominated by manorialism, this article argues that, in wrecking, their collaboration apparently proceeded without much conflict in this period.