maritime law

Maritime Law: A Closer Look

The concept of maritime law holds a special place in Florida culture. It’s a point of interest in any coastal state where coastal ships are more integrated into local industries.

You may have heard terms like “maritime” or “admiralty” law bandied about on TV or the radio. And, obviously, if you’re not from the industry, it’s not likely you’ll “just know” anything about it, offhand. Why would you, unless you were unfortunate enough to suffer an injury or property damage out at sea?

A working knowledge of this brand of law can help you make it out of your maritime law incident unscathed. Join us today, as we put maritime law under the microscope, reviewing information on the process from beginning to end.

maritime law
Learn more about the sometimes-complicated issue of maritime law, with Ward T Berg.

Maritime Law or Admiralty Law?

Let’s start with a common misunderstanding of the law governing legal matters at sea. This is the concern over the difference between admiralty and maritime law.

“Admiralty” refers to historic judicial courts in English and American colonies which dealt with high seas torts and contracts. “Maritime law” concerns expanded admiralty court jurisdiction to include any waters deemed navigable. This expansion was in order to incorporate the hazardous conditions in commercial offshore travel into admiralty law.

In spite of the differences between these two terms, in modern law, they are largely considered part of the same industry. Their differences are, for the most part, disregarded, with the terms often used interchangeably.

Which Incidents Do They Cover?

Federal District Courts usually govern maritime issues, with a combination of local U.S. and international laws. This style of judicial work helps courts develop a more complete picture of the issue at hand, and pass judgments fairly.

Maritime law incidents are often unique, but may include:

  • Commercial shipping accidents and employee injurt or resulting death.
  • Commercial vessel owners in error, as well as contract fraud and violation.
  • Piracy, in its various forms.
  • Pollution from spilled or leaked hazardous materials.

Obviously, as with any set of laws, new and unexpected cases come up all the time. Vessel operators, merchants, holidaymakers, and other maritime subjects have to adhere to specific codes and standards to remain within the law. of care for the people and products on their ships.

Statutes Of Limitations?


When it comes to any law, what many people often forget is that all legal actions must be filed within a certain time frame in order to be valid. Once this time is exceeded, the legitimacy of the case can no longer hold, and there is usually nothing to be done.

Maritime law is no different. A death on the high seas claim carries a three-year shelf life if you want to file for wrongful death. These claims may sometimes be subject to even shorter statutes than that.

Longshore workers interested in making a case for worker’s compensation, typically, are given a year from the incident to be considered for compensation. Legal actions and claims under the Jones Act must be filed within three years of the accident, while cruise line passenger cases usually favor a one-year statute.

For expert maritime law services in the Volusia County area, get in touch with the offices of Ward T Berg today. Our team of professionals is ready to help you through the process!