What is the Jones Act and how does it apply to mariners?

In 1920 the creation of the Merchant Marine Act set the standard for mariners injured while at sea. Also known as the Jones Act, it protects mariners since they are not able to file for wokers’ compensation under maritime law.

The Jones Act applies to mariners working on commercial ships delivering goods to and from other countries.

How does the Jones Act protect mariners?

According to FindLaw, the Jones Act requires employers to give their employees a reasonably safe working environment. If your employer fails to do so, you may file a claim to hold them responsible for your injuries. This encourages employers to sufficiently train their staff and maintain equipment properly.

Employers must provide you with proper work equipment and utilize tools to minimize accidents. This includes training staff to clean oil spills or other substances on the deck that may cause an accident, as well as utilizing caution signs when necessary.

Who does the Jones Act apply to?

The Jones Act applies to people who are Merchant Marines. This includes mariners working on commercial ships that export and import goods from other locations.

For the Jones Act to apply to you, you must spend at least 30% of your time working on a ship that is in navigation. The term “in navigation” applies to ships that are functional and on traversable waters. This applies to officers, crew members and captains.

Under the Jones Act, all you must do is prove that your employer’s negligence somehow caused the accident, even if you are partly at fault. This differs from typical injury claims.