Working in the maritime industry can be one of the most rewarding careers. It is also one of the most dangerous jobs you can hold. Maritime accidents happen all too often, just like accidents on construction sites. If you are a maritime worker, it's important to do everything possible to keep yourself safe, especially when working on a barge.
Maritime law may seem like such an irrelevant topic to you if you do not work on a vessel and spend little time boating or traveling by cruise ship. Yet as a resident of Manhattan, you may very well encounter situations where maritime law comes into play without you even knowing it. There is a good chance that you have taken a ferry ride out of one of the city’s many ports (indeed, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, roughly 70 million people travelled by ferry in 2015 in just the states of New York and Washington combined). Who is liable, then, if you are injured on a ferry?
A lot of factors can contribute to maritime accidents, which in many cases can be avoided by taking the proper steps. Understanding these factors is crucial to prevent future accidents, while also ensuring that workers aboard sea-faring vessels have the right information to keep themselves safe. In this case, The Maritime Executive offers the following methods for preventing accidents and preserving lives.
When it comes to maritime safety, the preferred method of operations will always be working to avoiding an accident as opposed to responding to one. Accidents on the water can produce devastating consequences, even those that occur on barges who typically do not venture out into open water. Indeed, the United States Department of Labor has established safety measures through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration that address the proper treatment of you and your fellow barge workers.
If you are working in and around boats in New York, you are exposed to many unique risks that have to be carefully navigated to prevent unnecessary injuries from happening. At Tabak, Mellusi & Shisha LLP, we are committed to being advocates for people who have been involved in boating accidents.
There are a number of ways in which people make a living at sea, whether they work on a cruise ship or are employed in the fishing industry. Unfortunately, there are many things that can go wrong in these environments and job-related injuries occur far too often. Not only can these accidents result in a significant amount of physical pain and financial hardship, but they can also cause other difficulties which may be more difficult to detect, such as mental trauma. Those recovering from a maritime accident may suffer from depression or anxiety, and these mental challenges can be very debilitating.
There is no “on season” for those who work on cargo or fishing ships. You can be seriously injured any time of year doing your job. One of the risks you and other New York maritime workers can face is electric shock while working in or near water.
New York is surrounded by water and the sight of commercial boats is a common one for residents in the area. There is a daily reminder of the variety of vessels that are involved in important activities including barges, ferries, tugboats and more. Regardless of the size of a vessel or the job it has to do, companies that own and operate commercial boats have a responsibility to ensure their safety in order to keep workers and others onboard safe.
Several laws have been enacted to help protect the rights of those who work in the maritime industry, yet what about those whose time out on the open water is only temporary? When you embark as a passenger on a ship from Manhattan, you may face many of the same sea-related dangers as those who work on the vessel. Yet are you protected by the same statutes that maritime workers rely on when they are injured at sea, or are you protected by general liability laws?
People in New York who work in the maritime industry know that commercial boating can be dangerous at times. The need for strong and clear safety procedures is essential in order to protect the lives of all crew and others who may be onboard a vessel. Workboat reported on some lessons gleaned from accident reports published in a Safer Seas Digest of 2017 by the National Transportation Safety Board. These lessons show the ongoing need to keep safety a priority.