The laws in place typically have gray areas, making them hard to understand – especially for the uninitiated. This is the case with maritime law. For starters, check out https://www.aronfeld.com/maritime/ to find out how a maritime attorney can help you navigate the claim process in case of injury and other aspects.
All the same, one query the Trial Lawyers at Aronfeld regularly address is whether maritime law impacts the activities on land. Well, YES, it does. To understand the law’s impact on land, we first need to discuss it in detail, including what it typically covers. By so doing, we can more clearly drive the point home.
What Maritime Law Entails
Maritime law is a subcategory of admiralty law, dealing with legal matters specifically related to the sea or navigable waterways. Navigability implies the waterway is deep and wide enough for commercial vessels to pass through – besides having a fixed route. These waterways may include large rivers, lakes, and oceans.
The primary function of maritime law is to protect the interests of those who use the waterways for transportation or commerce. It covers various topics, from environmental regulations to the shipping industry. And although it’s rooted in English common law, it is mostly governed by international treaties.
So, what does this have to do with you? Well, maritime law applies to ships and sailors and anyone who lives and works on the coast. That includes people who work in the fishing, oil, and gas industries and those who work in port cities. If your job has anything to do with the sea or coastline, there’s a good chance maritime law applies to you.
For instance, if you die at sea, the Death on the High Seas Act stipulates that your next of kin will be entitled to compensation. Similarly, the Jones Act ensures injured seamen have legal recourse should they get hurt on the job.
What Else Does Maritime Law Cover?
As we’ve established, maritime law covers a wide range of topics related to the sea. Some of the most common areas of maritime law include:
- Admiralty jurisdiction: This allows courts to hear cases involving ships, navigation, and commerce on the high seas.
- Shipping contracts: These agreements govern everything from the construction of ships to their financing and operation.
- Marine insurance: It protects against loss or damage that might occur during shipping operations.
- Carriage of goods by sea: Covers the rights and obligations of shippers and carriers when transporting goods by sea.
- Collisions: Relating to accidents involving ships, such as collisions at sea or pollution caused by shipwrecks.
- Piracy: Any act of violence or detention committed by robbers on the high seas.
- Salvage: Covering the legal principles governing the recovery of lost or damaged property from the sea.
Maritime law also covers issues such as pollution control and the conservation of marine resources. In recent years, we’ve seen an increasing focus on protecting marine habitats from damage caused by human activity. This has led to many new legal principles governing maritime environmental law.
Application Of Maritime Law On Land
Maritime law applies on land in certain circumstances. For example, it comes into effect if a ship collides with a building on shore or if someone is injured by a container that falls off a ship while it’s docked in a port.
Along the same lines, the law may come into effect if you’re a worker at a port or shipyard and are injured on the job. Case in point, the US Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA) can cater for your medical care or rehabilitation in case of injury. Plus, it offers compensation regardless of fault, making it easier for seafarers or port workers to get a reprieve.
Ultimately, whether or not maritime law applies in a particular situation depends on the specific facts of each case. If in doubt, it’s advisable to seek a maritime lawyer’s advice. They can help you make sense of the law and its implications – whether it could affect your case.
Maritime law generally applies whenever an incident on land is directly connected to shipping or navigation activities. In simple terms, any commercial land-based activity related to the sea is subject to maritime law.
However, land-based activities are governed by the law of the country or state where they occur. So, if you’re involved in a dispute on land, and it’s unrelated to shipping or navigation, you’ll need to refer to the other laws in place.
The law covers you if you work in an industry involving the sea or coastline. That said, it helps to have a maritime attorney in your corner to safeguard your rights and interests – especially if you’re unsure whether the said law applies to your case.