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Admiralty law or maritime law is the separate body of law (both substantive and procedural) governing navigation and shipping. American admiralty law formerly applied only to American tidal waters. It now extends to any waters navigable within the United States for interstate or foreign commerce. In such waters admiralty jurisdiction includes maritime matters not involving interstate commerce, including recreational boating.
Owning a vessel is one of the great luxuries of living in Florida. If you have ever wondered about chartering your vessel for extra income or to compensate for maintenance costs, contact a qualified, experienced maritime attorney. We will be able to explain all aspects of chartering your vessel and how to do it in a manner that protects your business. There are liabilities involved when chartering a vessel and the owners of the chartered vessel will be held responsible in a Florida courtroom. If you are not licensed to offer charters and do not possess the proper permits and insurance, the penalties, if found guilty, can be massive. In addition, you will be held civilly liable for any accidents or fatalities on your vessel. Do not tempt fate.
Crewmembers on a cruise ship are considered “special wards of the court” when operating on a vessel. This special denomination gives crewmembers rights above and beyond a normal person on a vessel. Sailors are usually unaware of their rights when working a vessel in the United States, but it is important to be fully informed of your rights as a crewmember of a cruise ship. The best way to understand your rights as a crewmember is to discuss them with an admiralty lawyer. Whether on a cruise ship, fishing vessel, or any other type of vessel, crewmembers are at constant risk of working under negligent, lazy ship owners. Know what rights you have to protect yourself against abuse at the hands of your ship owner.
The Death on the High Seas Act (“DOHSA”) was enacted into law by Congress in 1920. The Act,46 USC Sec. 761, states:
Injuries at sea, or on any body of navigable water with access to the sea, or in maritime work environments are governed by a complex set of overlapping regulations and laws. Determining which law applies if you are hurt requires a knowledgeable and experienced maritime lawyer.
Claims arising out of defective vessels or equipment generally fall into two categories:
1) Products liability claims for injury to persons or property arising out of a dangerous or defective vessel or piece of the vessel’s equipment
2) Contractual and implied-in-law warranty claims against the manufacturer and seller of a vessel or equipment which is defective.
Every year, hundreds of boaters discover first-hand the difference between contract towing and salvage. The discovery is typically made when the surprised boat owner receives a bill for a salvage reward that is a significant percentage of the value of his vessel, as opposed to a bill for towing services. The typical towing bill is based upon the hourly-rates of the towing company. While such bills can be considerable, they will usually pale by comparison to a bill for a salvage reward.