Maritime Acts Information and legal guide

The United States Government has always understood the importance of maritime commerce and travel. To this end, regulating the ships and vessels on the high seas and inland waterways remains extremely important in order to cover the huge number of problems and issues that can arise from working and traveling on the water.

It was not until the 20th century that Congress truly set down in laws the rules mariners lived by for thousands of years. Due to the rise of the United States as one of the world’s leading maritime trading countries, the government believed it was wise to have these rather complicated laws written down so they could be universally applied without confusion. Although there are many laws that deal with maritime activity, the three most important laws are the Jones Act, the Death on the High Seas Act, and the Longshoreman and Harbor Workers Compensation Act.

There are two main laws that cover maritime and admiralty workers. The Jones Act is a set of statutes that outline the specific designations for a seaman or sailor, what protection they are entitled to, and how they should be cared for if injured while performing their duties. These laws provide sailors with the means to take legal action to collect compensation for injuries and medical bills should they suffer an on the job injury. The Longshoreman and Harbor Workers Compensation act is similar in many ways to the Jones Act, but instead provides legal support for people who work around ships loading or unloading cargo but who are not sailors or other crew members.

The Death on the High Seas Act is a special law that provides compensation for the families of seamen and sailors lost in international waters. Originally the families of these disasters could only collect compensation for their loss if the vessel was salvaged, but in later years the government changed the areas to provide limited recovery for families of victims of not only ships on the sea but also airplanes lost in international waters.