Best Maritime Law Tips & Guide 2023

how to be a maritime lawyer

You might not be aware that injuries and accidents occurring on navigable waters are subject to a different set of regulations than those occurring on land unless you work in the marine industry or are a part of the boating community. To receive compensation for losses sustained while engaging in marine activities, maritime lawyers can assist you in understanding and navigating the complexity of admiralty and maritime law.

Private law governing navigation and shipping is known as maritime law. A unique collection of laws governs workers’ compensation, tort (such as personal injury), and contract claims resulting from injuries suffered on or over navigable water. 

This can apply to mishaps that take place on land or at sea. Shipping, navigation, boating for pleasure, towing, and commerce are all governed by maritime law in domestic and foreign waterways, including naturally occurring lakes, rivers, and waterways, as well as artificially created navigable streams like a canal.

Under maritime rules, both passengers and crew members can make claims for damages for injuries. Loss of money, medical costs, and even mental harm are all damages. Admiralty law applies to many injuries on land but is somehow connected to labor on marine boats (or cruise activities). All marine claims are governed by federal admiralty law. The states must still follow admiralty law in these situations.

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Top 10 Tips and Secrets in Maritime Law that Seafarers Should Know

  1. Seafarer’s Injury

A seafarer who sustains an injury on board a ship is entitled to the shipowner’s full support. Additionally, the shipowner shall be accountable for the following where the illness or accident results in an inability to work. The ship owner should pay all salaries for as long as the ill or hurt seafarers are on board or until they have been returned home in conformity with this Convention. 

  1. Rights in Legal Proceedings

The following guidelines must be considered if a ship or seafarer is engaged in an accident that could result in legal action or prison time. International regulations exist to ensure you are handled fairly in case of an investigation or detention following a marine disaster involving your vessel. International law gives the nation flying your ship’s flag the authority to file a lawsuit demanding the immediate release of any seafarers detained after an accident or pollution event at sea.

  1. Young Cadets

Young cadets are not permitted to work at night: It is not uncommon to see cadets between the ages of 16 and 17 join a ship to pursue their desire for a fulfilling career. Additionally, the merchant marine requires much effort and hard labor, just like any other career. Although it is undoubtedly a skill developed over time and with practice, it is unsafe to have such young cadets work by night at sea, where it is typically completely black.

  1. Funds for Sailors

For non-government workers without the luxury of a pension, retirement might be difficult. A provident fund, which facilitates a portion of savings that belong to a seafarer upon retirement, has, nevertheless, addressed that issue. Most businesses provide a specific sum of money to a person’s provident fund, protecting a seafarer’s finances in times of need.

  1. Decide

Suppose a ship is traveling toward a war-torn area. In that case, companies working with the I.T.F. (International Trade Federation) must let seafarers decide whether they want to sign off or continue sailing. Regardless of the length of the contract that has been completed, the corporation must allow the seafarer to sign off without incurring any costs to the sailor. 

  1. Seaman’s Club

When seafarers must spend a few months studying for their exams, they typically make the seaman’s club their home. Seaman’s clubs around the globe offer a variety of amenities for sailors of all nationalities and are typically close to the regulating body conducting the tests.

  1. Benefits of Maritime Unions

Most countries have maritime unions specifically designed to protect and benefit seafarers. Not only do they help with legal issues, but some also offer provisions for medical benefits, financial aid, and guesthouses in several states so that seafarers can travel for less money. Most of them offer membership fees that are inexpensive so that anyone can make use of the benefits. You must sign up with these unions if you work at sea.

  1. Women seafarers

Discussions across virtually every industry have focused on the problem of women in the workforce. One such industry is shipping, where women make up a very small percentage of the crew. The I.M.O., I.T.F., and other similar organizations have focused on including more women in the industry precisely because of this. Therefore, it becomes crucial to address this element’s numerous issues, rights, and laws.

  1. Holiday Pay

As we know, the M.L.C. has introduced some innovative and equitable adjustments to the sector. Accordingly, the S.E.A. (Seafarers Employment Agreement) stipulates that a seafarer is entitled to paid yearly leave equal to 2.5 days of pay earned for each month of employment.

  1. Shipping Information System

The International Maritime Organization (I.M.O.) has been instrumental in advancing and protecting the maritime sector. The I.M.O. publishes a ton of information about shipping on their website, including drafting, passing, and being a regulatory body for laws.

Maritime Lawyer Questions and Answers

An attorney who focuses on boating accidents and marine injuries during commercial and leisure maritime activities is a maritime lawyer.

The PCG is also tasked with conducting MARITIME LAW ENFORCEMENT and implementing laws on fisheries, poaching, immigration, tariff and customs, forestry, weapons and explosives, dangerous narcotics and regulated chemicals, human trafficking, and the new penal code and all other related laws.

Most states need lawyers, especially marine lawyers, to get a Juris Doctorate (J.D.) from an accredited law school, pass state bar exams, and keep their licenses to practice law there.

A complex of laws, agreements, and treaties referred to as maritime law, sometimes known as admiralty law, regulates open water offenses, shipping, and other maritime activities. 

Marine lawyers in the US make an average compensation of $86,514, with salaries ranging from $18,053 to $481,665. Marine attorneys make an average salary of $86,515 to $218,218 while the top 86% earn $481,665.

Maritime Lawyer

An attorney specializing in marine mishaps involving boats during business and leisurely maritime activities is a lawyer. Lawyers for the maritime industry defend persons hurt in recreational boating accidents in addition to seamen who get workplace injuries.

Maritime Industry

The maritime industry is characterized by computers and cyber-dependent technologies for navigation, communications, monitoring and control of ship systems, cargo transfers, access control, passenger and cargo screening, fire detection, and other functions.

what does a maritime lawyer do

Maritime Security Companies

Maritime Security Companies are private security firms specializing in maritime security. These are private land-based security companies that also provide maritime services. The P.M.S.C.s supply their services most frequently to the commercial shipping industry, as modern piracy threatens the shipping industry and all marine transportation. They are contracted primarily to offer anti-piracy services in many world regions.

Maritime Injury Lawyer

A maritime injury lawyer acquires documentation of the collision, such as pictures and videos. They offer proof of the unseaworthy vessel or other careless circumstances. A marine accident lawyer’s responsibilities include handling all legal documentation thoroughly and on time, drafting documents to be submitted to the court or the other party, negotiating full and fair settlement agreements, and defending your rights in court.

Maritime Safety Consultants

Marine Safety Consultant is an expert in managing P&I claims, particularly those involving human injury and oil spills, and evaluating ships, equipment, and cargo. They recognized the need to offer safety consulting to the neighborhood fishing fleet as a dependable area presence to address insurance claims brought on by incidents including oil pollution, hull and machinery damage, and crew injuries.

Maritime Salvage Law

According to the maritime law principle known as the law of salvage, anyone who assists in rescuing another person’s ship or cargo in danger at sea is entitled to compensation proportional to the value of the property saved. Although salvage laws differ from one country to another, maritime law is intrinsically international. In most cases, certain requirements must be satisfied for a claim of salvage to be valid.

Maritime Court

The court with authority over maritime law is known as a maritime court. Its authority extends to civil cases involving ships and the ocean, such as shipping, insurance, crew members, cargo, and maritime collisions.

Maritime Law Jobs

Laws governing all maritime and ocean-related activities are maritime attorneys’ main areas of concentration. Similar to how doctors can specialize in orthopedics or surgery, they are specialists in the law. Consequently, a marine lawyer would typically work with clients whose companies have a close connection to the oceans and other bodies of water.

Maritime Lawyer Salary

Marine lawyers in the U.S. make an average compensation of $86,514, with salaries ranging from $18,053 to $481,665. Marine lawyers make on average between $86,515 and $218,218 per year, with the top 86 percent earning $481,665. In the U.S., a marine lawyer has an average salary of $93,348. Marine lawyers earn the highest in San Francisco, averaging $141,031, or 51 per cent more than the national average.

Maritime Law Finders Keepers

Under international maritime law, finders keepers are the ones who discover the lost cargo, while the original owner of the cargo may have forfeited all rights to it for shipwrecks. Anyone who discovers the wreck has the right to mount a salvage operation after filing a claim for its salvage and placing a lien on the vessel. The law of finds is the name given to it. Sometimes when a shipwreck is found, a distinct set of regulations take effect. The law of finds may be applicable if the shipwreck has been underwater for several years and the lawful owners of the vessel have not actively tried to recover its contents.

Maritime Law vs Common Law

A maritime law oversees any unfortunate accident or injury to a seaman on a ship, taking into account the time, location, safety precautions, and nature of the work at the time of the accident to determine the appropriate compensation for the injured. In contrast, common law is an unwritten body of laws primarily based on judicial precedents. In situations where written legislation and regulations cannot determine the outcome or existing law, common laws are applied.

Maritime Jurisdiction

A case under maritime jurisdiction falls into one of two categories: first, cases involving acts on the high seas or other navigable waterways, and second, cases involving contracts and business dealings with ships operating on the high seas or other navigable waters. In the first group, which consists of prize cases, torts, injuries, and crimes on the high seas, jurisdiction is established by the location of the conduct. Still, the subject matter is the key determining factor in the second category.