Generally, admiralty and maritime law refers to the body of civil, public, and private laws that governs sea-going vessels and their owners, seamen, passengers, and cargo. In the United States, admiralty and maritime law
includes the following:
Specific laws to protect seamen and similar professions, such as the Jones Act and the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA); common law rules that govern a ship owner or operator's responsibility toward his or her passengers; and old traditions protecting ship owners and operators from bad faith or malfeasance by those who hire them to transport cargo.
Because Congress recognized the international shipping and seafood industries as particularly dangerous forms of employment that remain vital to a strong national economy, it passed the Jones Act in 1920 and the LHWCA in 1927 to improve on existing state-based workers' compensation schemes. Theses Acts entitle people injured while employed on sea-going vessels or as harbor workers to more generous benefits than ordinary workers' compensation. If injured under such circumstances, you need a practiced admiralty lawyer to ensure you receive maximum compensation.
General maritime law, not specific statutes, protects cruise passengers and other passengers on ocean-going vessels. Unless specified differently by the cruise or charter operator, federal law creates a fairly generous three-year statute of limitations in which injured passengers must bring suit, and defines the scope of the vessel owner or operator's responsibility. If injured as a passenger, you need the assistance of a skilled admiralty attorney to make sure you file your claim on time and in the right court.