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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© February 2005 by Tim Akpinar
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Depending on how a seaman's
injury arises, legal rights for
compensation are available
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

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

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, etc.
Commercial Divers, Longshoremen and Shipyard Workers  Despite similarities
with 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 apply.
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 70130-3310
Phone: (504) 589-6277
Ninth District
Office: Cleveland, OH
Michigan, and parts of New York,
Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois,
Wisconsin, Minnesota

Contact Information
1240 East Ninth Street
Cleveland, OH 44199-2060
Phone: (216) 902-6073
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
Fisheries News
Maritime Law and
Commercial Fishing.
Tim discusses legal
rights of commercial
fishermen and laws
that apply to them
and ocean-going
merchant mariners,
inland tug, barge,
towboat, riverboat
seamen and other
offshore and inland
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
718 224 9824

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

P.O. Box 620766
Little Neck, New York 11362
Multi-Boat / Multi-Ship Accident on Navigable Waters  - Who is liable?
See discussion on dominant mind doctrine, an admiralty and maritime
law concept about respective faults between vessel operators.
See Our Video...  
Commercial Vessels - Injured at Sea - Injury on a Vessel
Jones Act Seamen - Commercial Fishermen - Paid Yacht Crews - Tugs - Pushboats
Workboats - Commercial Divers
From WorkBoat
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 container
ship Kariba and car
carrier Tricolor, were both
on nearly parallel
westbound headings...."
To read more, click
The Law of Maritime
When Dangerous
Products Result in Injury,
from 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.
A good part of
Jones Act cases
involve disputes
over seaman
status. See
Who is
a Seaman - What is
a Vessel ? A
seaman need not
be aboard the
vessel at sea to
qualify as a seaman.
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 we are
able to handle your case,
there is no fee unless we
are successful.
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,
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.
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.
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
Unseaworthiness - A
vessel owner is held to
owe a seaman a
seaworthy vessel. This
means the vessel is
reasonably fit for its
intended use.
negligence of the
employer, he or she
may be entitled to
damages for pain and
suffering, and mental