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legal rights of tugboat crews
Legal Rights - Jones Act - Maritime Workers - Employment - Legal Rights of Commercial Seamen -
Accidents - Injury - Toxic Substances Exposure - Asbestos - Occupational Hazards
Continued From Above...
Tugboat jobs are not a cushy lifestyle….the work is physically and mentally demanding.
Tugboats work in the summer, when the heat is intense…and in the winter…where bitter
cold winds can sting human flesh… and decks and gratings can become slippery and
dangerous from ice.  Although some tugboat jobs may be day jobs that you board in
morning and leave in the evening, there are ocean-going tugs that involve long
employment stints. There are large 8,000 horsepower ocean going tugs that go up and
down the nation’s coastline for weeks at a time.

These can be the articulated tug barge units, where the tug and barge come close to
acting as a single vessel because the tug’s bow rests in a notch in the stern of the barge.
Some of these ATB’s exceed the size of many conventional coastal tankers and bulk
carriers. Tugboat jobs can entail marine salvage work…or environmental response. It all
depends on where your job hunt takes you.

The legal rights of tugboat crews in the United States are governed by a law called the
Jones Act. The Jones Act dates back to 1920, during the administration of President
Woodrow Wilson. The Jones Act lays down the law for the commercial seaman. It
requires that vessels operating between U.S. ports on inland and intracoastal waterways
be built in the U.S., U.S. owned and registered and be U.S. manned.

The part of the Jones Act that commercial mariners are most familiar with apply to
seamen’s rights in the event of an injury. An injured seaman under the Jones Act has
rights that are generally different from non-maritime employees. The Jones Act says that
an injured seaman can bring a claim for negligence against an employer. A commercial
mariner injured by negligence aboard a vessel is entitled to lost wages, medical
expenses, pain, suffering and mental anguish. Maritime law uses the words
maintenance and cure for reimbursement of living expenses and medical expenses.

The Jones Act is special because it applies to seamen. Who is a seaman? A
seaman…and that means man or woman (the term is gender neutral)… is a member of
the crew of a vessel, or someone assigned to the vessel. The person’s duties must
contribute to the function of the vessel, and he or she must have a connection with the
vessel in navigation to be considered a seaman. Additionally, the duration of the
employee’s connection and nature of their activities with the vessel must demonstrate
that they are a member of the crew.

Trivia: What is a classification society ?
Legal I.Q.
Can a failure to disclose
prior injuries have advese
consequences if a
seaman is later injured
on the job?
Answer
Judging how quickly a big ship can
shift from being far away to being
right on top of you can be deceptive.
Click
here for a video to show what
we mean.
Trivia: What is a Stability Letter ?
Although some tugboats may work in sheltered and protected harbors and rivers,
tugboat work involves towing or pushing barges or strings of barges and presents
serious physical hazards for the uninitiated.
There are dangers in the way of falling overboard, falling in the gap between two
barges, injury from steel cables that are under high tensile loads, working in hot and
noisy machinery spaces, working odd hours in seagoing watch standing routines.  
Continued Below
Under the Jones Act, commercial