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What is Maritime Law And Why is it Important? 


We’re very much accustomed to normal everyday laws, like laws that govern who and when one can drive, or even laws regarding public safety and freedom of speech. However, things that occur at sea are not subject to these normal, everyday laws. Therefore, a special set of separate laws, called maritime laws, are required to govern occurrences at seas (and these laws are extremely important for governments, corporations, and individuals who hope to function properly). Therefore, the following is a brief run down of what maritime laws entail and why they are so important.


What do Maritime Laws Cover?


In short, maritime laws involve any matters in reference to shipping supplies from one area to another, workers who predominately operate at sea, commerce, navigation, and even just transportation of people.  The following gives a few specific clauses for each subgroup.


Taking Care of Workers


Under this subsection of maritime law, companies or employees who operate at sea are required to provide free medical care to any worker who has been injured while working aboard one of the company’s ships. This treatment must endure until the individual is fully taken care of. However, treatments don’t just refer to medicine, but also any type of equipment that can better help the individual function on their day to day work. This includes prosthetics or wheelchairs, as well as any medication that can help alleviate pain or psychological counseling.


Taking Care of Passengers


Passengers who have been injured aboard a ship must prove that the ship owners caused that injury through sheer negligence. Ship operators and owners are also to ensure that to the best of their knowledge that the vessel is fully operable and safe to board before allowing passengers on.


Finding and Awarding Property


Any type of property that has been lost at sea can be claimed and salvaged by a finder for an award. In a contract salvage agreement, both the salvager and the individual who has a lost their property can agree in a set amount to be paid to the salvager if the item in question is located.


In other salvage agreements, the amount to be paid is simply determined on the value of the property that was saved.


Needless to say, these rules do not apply to people or other life that is saved when in danger (such as, for example, saving someone’s life when they’re on a sinking ship).


Anything Else?


Maritime laws are essential in ensuring that people and organizations behave accordingly when at sea. This not only refers to how a shipment of items and people are to be carried out, but also encompass how workers get paid, how their protection is ensured, and even how companies are to employee workers.


maritime law

Important Maritime Law for Workers 

As the name suggests, maritime law dictates rules over how organizations should operate at sea. This involves giving strict guidelines regarding what is considered illegal or legal when at sea, as well as dictating the relationships between different entities and vessels while in the ocean. However, there is a specific series of laws, called the Jones Act Maritime, that protects American seamen in case of any injuries or if they run into problems regarding being compensated for their work. The law is extremely important for any business and therefore the following gives a brief run down of what is included within this law.


Brief History of the Jones Law


The law came into being in the year 1920 and was designed to protect workers at sea. Before this period, these maritime workers were often at risk of not getting adequately paid due to the lack of any concrete law that would require these workers to be paid. The Jones Act Maritime was thus passed.


Who Can Practice the Law?


Needless to say, these series of laws are extremely complex and very different from the ‘normal’ laws that are practiced on land. As such, not every lawyer is allowed to practice these laws; instead, only lawyers who have specifically studied these laws and have proven their knowledge regarding the laws are allowed to practice them.


 What does the Jones Act Maritime Do?



In brief, the laws help ensure that U.S. workers on the seas are properly compensated for the work they do; also, workers who get injured are also fully insured and compensated.


Along with this, American workers are also protected in terms of getting priority when being considered for hire. The law, therefore, ensures that every corporation that works on the seas had a specific percentage of their workforce by made up of Americans.


The law also ensures that any individual who has spent most of their career of seas be protected by the Jones Act Maritime. This is great as the law ensures a much higher rate of compensation for professionals at sea as opposed to those who are not protected under the law.


Lastly, the law ensures that workers who get injured due to the negligence of the company they are working for are properly compensated. This, in turn, makes it more likely that companies will continually strive for the proper working condition, fixing damaged vessels, and provide workers with proper equipment and protective gear to do their jobs.


Anything Else?


The Jones Act Maritime is simply one of many maritime laws but is definitely a greatly important one for American workers. Before the passage of this law, maritime workers were seldom guaranteed proper protection and were often even neglected during the hiring process. Since the passage of the law, however, more Americans are being employed by American corporations that operate at the seas and fewer injuries have taken place.