There are some people who really enjoy being in the water, so much so that the industry they decided to work in is also involved with marine activities, while others settle to just enjoy recreational boating. The maritime business is considered a big and successful industry, and these businesses are lucky enough to find employees who are willing to cross oceans to earn and enjoy the waters.
But like regular employees on land, mariners, seamen or sailors are also prone to accidents at sea. The danger is probably greater, even. Crabbers, factory trawlers, oil riggers, merchants, fishermen, ferry/ cruise ship/ longshore workers, and even ordinary recreational boaters are all at risk of maritime injuries. These injuries may be due to:
- A collision between vessels â€“ About 1,300 collisions occur each year, which results to an average number of 66 deaths and 953 injuries.
- A vessel colliding with a fixed object - About 558 vessels collide to a non-moving object. This type cause about 35 deaths and 389 injuries annually.
- Waterskiing accident â€“ Accidents like this reportedly occurs almost 500 times each year resulting to 11 deaths and 502 injuries.
- Falling overboard from a boat â€“ This is the second deadliest accident on the sea which kills 208 out of the average 485 people who fall overboard each year.
- Capsizing vessel â€“ This is the most lethal maritime accident, killing 204 people and injuring 284 every year.
Some of the injuries incurred on a maritime accident may result to wrongful deaths. Since maritime workers have a high risk of on-the-job injury, and medical assistance is not easily accessible compared to working on land, they have special legal support that ensures appropriate compensation and care for their injury.
The Jones Act states that seamen have the right to seek compensation if they were injured due to the negligence of the other employees or co-workers while working on the vessel. The employer may also be liable if it will be proven that they contributed to the injury of a seaman, since it is considered a breach of duty. The owner of a vessel is liable if it will be proven that the vessel is not "seaworthy" â€“ meaning, it is not equipped or prepared for imminent danger, and is not a safe place to work.
Maritime injuries and wrongful death cases may be avoided if everyone on the marine vessel upholds a high standard of care and understands that while being on the sea is exciting, danger still lurks underneath it.