Commercial vessel crews injured in the service of their vessel are considered Jones Act
seamen and their injuries are covered by maritime law. This could include commercial
divers, depending on the nature of the relationship with the vessel.

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Commercial Vessels - Injured at Sea - Injury on a Vessel
Jones Act Seamen - Commercial Fishermen - Paid Yacht Crews - Tugs - Pushboats - Workboats - Commercial
Depending on how a seaman's injury arises, legal
rights for compensation are available under the
Jones Act, unseaworthiness, products liability, or
general maritime law. The following summary
explains the various laws available to commercial
seamen, commercial fishermen, yacht crews, and
commercial divers injured at sea. Useful information
could also be found on the page
What to do in a
Jones Act Injury - What to do if You Are Injured at
Sea. One should be aware of the fact that no matter
how strong a case they have, or whatever legal
theory they plan to bring an action under, one of the
most fundamental issues is making sure you act
within the
Maritime Law Statute of Limitations.

Negligence and the Jones Act
Seamen injured in the course of service of their
vessels are covered by the Jones Act. The Jones
Act covers merchant seamen...ocean going deep
sea ships or tour boats and other inland vessels
such as towboats, pushboats, tugboats, riverboats,
and other brown water workboats.

The Jones Act states, “Any seaman who shall suffer
personal injury in the course of his employment may,
at his election, maintain an action for damages at
law, with the right of trial by jury”. Although the
Jones Act uses those words, seaman's rights
applies to women and men who work aboard
vessels. By clicking here, you will be taken to
Summary of the Jones Act. A Seaman can be a
tugboat deckhand, commercial fisherman, tanker
captain, passenger ship steward, commercial diver,
Unseaworthiness - A vessel owner
is held to owe a seaman a
seaworthy vessel. This means the
vessel is reasonably fit for its
intended use. While a Jones Act
claim is brought against the
employer, an unseaworthiness
claim is brought against the vessel
owner. For a small vessel where
the employer and owner are the
same, it might not make any
Product Liability
If injury results from a defective product, the
action is considered a product liability case and is
maintained against the manufacturer of the
product. The injured would need to show that the
product was defective in that it did not perform its
function safely as would ordinarily be expected, or
that it could have been made safer in an
economical manner. See the January 2006 article
from Work Boat magazine, where product liability
is outlined (click the link above to read the article).

If you were involved in an injury related to marine
activity, call for a free and confidential
consultation. If I am able to handle your case, there
is no fee unless I am successful.
there’s obviously more to it than that, as a good part
of Jones Act cases involve disputes over seaman
works on a barge a seaman? To read about this,
Who is a Seaman - What is a Vessel ? A
seaman need not be aboard the vessel at sea to
qualify as a seaman.  He or she could be injured on
shore. Under the Jones Act, an injured seaman is
entitled to compensation in the form of lost wages
and medical expenses, known as maintenance and
cure. Additionally, if the seamen is able to
demonstrate negligence of the employer, he or she
may be entitled to damages for pain and suffering,
and mental anguish. A Jones Act claim must be
brought within three years from the date of injury.
The fact that the seaman’s actions may have
contributed to the injury would not disqualify a claim
although it would reduce an otherwise larger award.
To read about medical issues that may enter the
picture, click
Medical Issues in Marine Injuries -
Boating Accident Injuries .

However, as these laws apply to large ocean going
vessels as well as small inland vessels, vessel
owner and employer can be different entities. An
entire vessel need not be unseaworthy, only the part
that caused the seaman’s injury.  As with the Jones
Act, a seaman’s own negligence would not disqualify
his or her claim but it would reduce an otherwise
larger award for damages.
Commercial Divers, Longshoremen and Shipyard Workers  Despite their apparent close
relationship to commercial seamen, marine employees such as harbor and docking pilots, shipyard
workers, marine welders, mechanics, longshoremen, stevedores and sometimes commercial divers are
not technically "seamen". Overseas, the Defense Base Act and War Hazards Compensation Act can
From the October 2007 issue of
Workboat Magazine...
The Law of
Maritime Collision
, by Tim Akpinar;
reprinted with the permission of
Workboat Magazine.

"On December 14, 2002, three ships
found themselves in uncomfortably
close quarters in the English Channel.
Two of the vessels, the containership
Kariba and car carrier Tricolor, were
both on nearly parallel westbound
To read more, click
The Law of Maritime Collision
Click When Dangerous Products
Result in Injury, from the January
2006 issue of Workboat Magazine.
This article discusses how
commercial mariners can be injured
by defectively manufactured and
defective designed equipment aboard
a vessel. Reproduced with the
permission of Workboat magazine.
District office: Alameda, California

Contact Information
Coast Guard Island Building 50-3
Alameda, CA 94501-5100
Phone: (510) 437-2970


Thirteenth District
District office: Seattle, Washington
Covers Washington, Oregon, Idaho,
and Montana and parts of contiguous
Pacific Ocean areas.

Contact Information
915 Second Avenue
Seattle, WA 98174-1067
Phone: (206) 220-7280


Fourteenth District
District office: Honolulu, Hawaii
Covers Hawaii and certain U.S. island
possessions in the Pacific.

Contact Information:
300 Ala Moana Boulevard 9-236
Honolulu, HI 96850-4982
Phone: (808) 541-2316 Day
(808) 842-2600 Night


Seventeenth District
District office: Juneau, Alaska
Covers Alaska and parts of the
Pacific and Arctic Ocean.

Contact Information:
P.O. Box 25517
Juneau, AK 99802-5517
Phone: (907) 463-2269 Day
(907) 463-2004 Night
Commercial Fisheries
May 05 Maritime Law
and Commercial Fishing.
Rights of Commercial
Fishermen follow the same
laws as those applied to
ocean going merchant
mariners, inland tug, barge,
towboat, riverboat seamen
and other offshore & inland
crews. providing
no-nonsense news, views in
which we work and provide
you with products and
services that will make a
difference to life at sea.
U.S. Coast Guard Districts

First District
Office: Boston, MA
Maine, New Hampshire,
Vermont, Massachusetts,
Rhode Island, Connecticut,
parts of New York and New

Contact Information
408 Atlantic Avenue
Boston, Massachusetts
Phone: (800) 368-5647


Fifth District
Office: Portsmouth, VA
North Carolina, Virginia,
District of Columbia,
Maryland, Delaware, parts of
Pennsylvania and New

Contact Information
431 Crawford Street
Portsmouth, Virginia
Phone: (757) 398- 6486


Seventh District
Office: Miami, FL
South Carolina, Florida, part
of Georgia, the Panama
Canal Zone, Puerto Rico,
U.S. Naval Reservations in
the West Indies and north
coast of South America.

Contact Information
909 SE 1st Avenue
Miami, Florida 33131-3050
Phone: (305) 415-6730


Eighth District
Office: New Orleans, LA
North Dakota, South Dakota,
Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa,
Colorado, Kansas, Missouri,
Kentucky, West Virginia,
Tennessee, Arkansas,
Oklahoma, New Mexico,
Texas, Louisiana,
Mississippi, Alabama, and
parts of Pennsylvania, Ohio,
Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin,
Minnesota, Florida, Georgia
and Gulf of Mexico

Contact Information
500 Pydras Street
New Orleans, Louisiana
Phone: (504) 589-6277


Ninth District
Office: Cleveland, OH
Michigan, and parts of New
York, Pennsylvania, Ohio,
Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin,

Contact Information
1240 East Ninth Street
Cleveland, OH 44199-2060
Phone: (216) 902-6073

250-02 Northern Blvd - Suite 200
Little Neck, New York 11363

P.O. Box 620766
Little Neck, New York 11362
Multi-Boat or Multi-Ship Accident on
Navigable Waters  - Who is liable? See
the discussion of the dominant mind
doctrine, an admiralty and maritime law
concept that addresses respective faults
between vessel operators.
See Our Video...  
Accident at Sea off the coast of India.
The vessel Asian Express suffered a
loss of power in heavy seas. Read
more by clicking the link to go maritime
law news.