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New York Maritime Law Blog

What are the dangers associated with intoxicated boating?

Boating while intoxicated is prohibited in the state of New York. Anyone who is suspected of operating a water vessel while under the influence of drugs or alcohol may have their operator privileges suspended, be fined or imprisoned.

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation argues that an individual's mere consumption of a small amount of alcohol can adversely impact their motor skills. Substances like this most affect an individual's judgment, coordination and balance. Environmental stressors can only exacerbate these concerns.

What types of water vessels are protected by the Jones Act?

There are many facets to the Jones Act. It aims to protect the United States' political sovereignty and national security and to secure the country's economic welfare. It also protects seamen who become injured while on the job. Certain types of water vessels are protected under the Jones Act.

Water vessels must meet four primary requirements to be covered under the Jones Act, which forms part of the Merchant Marine Act of 1920.

New state law requires increased boater training

One of the biggest dangers to recreational boaters is boat operators who don't have the proper training. A state law that took effect on Jan. 1 is designed to improve that training. Known as "Brianna's Law," it requires people to pass a safety course before they can operates a motorized boat or other watercraft in the state.

The required boater safety training course is eight hours. It can be taken online or in a classroom.

You're entitled to compensation as an injured seaman

Water vessels and seamen must be insured much like a vehicle and its passengers. There is general liability coverage that covers the ship itself and any tangible property that may be on it. There's also protection and indemnity coverage that vessel operators must maintain to cover any seaman's bodily injuries, though, as well. There are some basic coverage limits that all boat owners must maintain to lawfully operate here in New York's waters.

Boat owners are generally required to take out hull insurance, which covers any physical damage to the ship, its contents and any other vessel that they may collide into. If a ship is regularly being used to push or tow another boat, then the owner will generally maintain towers liability coverage as well. This can be called upon to cover any damage to the towed boat.

Seafarers, do you suffer from depression while at sea?

If you asked any group of seafarers to describe all the adverse events that can happen to injure them or make them ill on the high seas, chances are that the answers you'd get would be quite varied.

But they probably would not include any of the mental health woes that can plague seafarers who spend weeks or even months away at sea. At an international conference on mental health that took place earlier this year in London, the Sailors' Society's Wellness at Sea, it was revealed that more than 25% of seafarers suffered symptoms of depression on the high seas.

3 Potential hazards of working on a fishing vessel

The fishing industry is an important element to the U.S. economy and a significant part of east coast culture. Commercial fishing vessels are the backbone of the industry, making trips out into the open waters to bring back hauls of fish and other sea creatures. But working on a fishing boat can sometimes be risky. Like in any job, there are certain dangers that accompany a job in the commercial fishing industry.


Fires on cargo vessels raise concerns about safety regulations

A life at sea is, as legend has it, full of untold riches for the right adventurer. But the reality for modern sailors is often untold dangers, as operating and working on large cargo vessels remains one of the most problematic careers for U.S.-based workers.

One of the problems is the unpredictability of international shipping, where a hodgepodge of different national regulations or rules decided by trade blocs lead to different expectations in how hazardous materials are labeled, handled and reported. Many substances, such as explosives, are transported internationally by sea because land and air travel are too dangerous.

47 sailors sue after being injured aboard a U.S. Navy ship

Injured crew members and the survivors of others who were killed in a U.S. Navy destroyer crash off the coast of Japan two years ago filed a lawsuit against the Japanese company Nippon Yuson (NYK) Line last month in New Orleans.

The plaintiffs' lawsuit details how they were all working as sailors aboard the United States Ship (USS) John Sidney (S.) McCain on June 17, 2017, off the coast of Japan when it was struck by a Tokyo-based container ship operated by NYK Line.

There are many dangers that offshore workers face on the job

The U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) has long been tracking outer continental shelf worker injuries. The federal agency has required all employers who operate in these waters to report any injuring incidents that caused workers to seek medical attention or miss one or more days from work since July 2006. Some factors cause more offshore worker injuries than others.

Some 28 collisions occurred on the outer continental shelf in 2008. This was the largest number of accidents that happened offshore between 2006 and 2017. While there weren't any such collisions in 2014, BSEE data shows that there were 11 that occurred during 2017.

Seafarers can meet their needs while in port

If you are new to the seafaring world, you may be unaware of the services and amenities offered by the International Seafarers' Center in Port Newark, New Jersey. As part of The Seamen's Church Institute, a service agency dedicated to meeting mariners' needs, the Center is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Both port workers and seafarers are served by the Center. Some who avail themselves of their services include stevedores, truck drivers and those working in warehouses.

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