Those working in the shipping or boating industries in Louisiana are bound by admiralty and maritime law. According to Cornell Law School, admiralty laws are a separate area of law from common laws that rule on land. These laws only cover navigable waters and related areas, such as docks.
American admiralty laws apply only to vessels that fly the American flag regardless of what waterway the vessel is in. The flag must be flown legally, though, with a firm connection between the vessel and the country of the flag being flown. Typically, though, admiralty laws internationally are kept fairly uniform to prevent any issues.
Admiralty or maritime laws fall under the jurisdiction of federal courts, and Congress regulates the laws. States cannot interfere with maritime legal actions, but they can be involved and claim jurisdiction of non-maritime issues. These laws were based on British admiralty laws and were developed when the United States was still independent colonies. Laws may cover a range of topics related to shipping and navigation. This includes piracy, recreation, canals, wharves, seamen, commerce and towage.
According to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, it is the responsibility of the U.S. Coast Guard to enforce maritime laws. This military branch ensures safety and adherence to the laws on the open waters. Along with providing emergency services and acting as a defender of the countries water boarders, the Coast Guard can conduct investigations onboard vessels and make arrests. It also has jurisdiction over stopping the importation of illegal drugs and non-citizens of the country. This information is only intended to educate and should not be interpreted as legal advice.