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Oakland California Maritime Law Blog

Why is commercial fishing so dangerous?

Fishing for fun is typically relaxing, safe and uneventful. Many people enjoy it as a way to pass the time on a lazy Saturday afternoon. They take their children with them, kick back, relax and see if anything bites.

So, why is it that commercial fishing is often referred to as one of the single most dangerous jobs in the world? Why did one study find that professional fishermen are 42 times more likely to pass away at work than workers in other fields? How could something so low-key and enjoyable turn so very deadly?

Who is responsible if you get injured on a cruise ship?

When you book a cruise, you are looking forward to the vacation of a lifetime. You are probably not anticipating an injury or illness, but people regularly get injured during cruises, either on the ship or at a port of call. Many passenger ships dock along the California coastline, but their voyages frequently take them into international waters, which may leave you wondering where the liability resides if you seek medical attention after a cruise injury.

There is a wide range of possible injuries or illnesses you could encounter while cruising. You could slip on a wet deck and sprain your back. The captain may be forced to turn the ship sharply to avoid an obstacle in the water, knocking a heavy suitcase from an overhead cabinet on top of you. An outbreak of norovirus can spread quickly among the passengers and crew. You could suffer burns or smoke inhalation if a fire breaks out in a passenger area. It is even possible for some crew members to behave aggressively or unprofessionally and injure you in a confrontation.

Diving injuries: A few things you need to know

Does your job require you dive into the ocean, day in and day out? Is this something you enjoy? Are you concerned about the safety risks of your profession?

Deep-sea diving and scuba diving, either for business or pleasure, can be enjoyable. However, this doesn't mean that you can take your safety for granted. You are at risk of many injuries, so it's important to receive the appropriate training and to follow safety protocols at all times.

Basics of the Jones Act

People in California who live along or near any of the state's ports know that guarding these ports is important. Equally important is the logistical tracking of vessels into and out of the ports. There are many elements to this as well as laws. One such law is commonly referred to as the Jones Act. As the Los Angeles Times indicates, the official name of the Jones Act is the Merchant Marine Act of 1920.

As with many laws, this piece of legislation was initially developed in response to a situation that was very timely at its inception. Today, however, many people believe that the relevance of this law is no longer there they way it may have been almost a century ago. This is despite the fact that it has been supported by both republican and democratic presidents even from this century.

4 mistakes people make after they're injured

Working in the maritime industry, you know that you must respect the risks that come along with it. Accidents happen. Serious injuries occur on the job. You've even known people who got involved in fatal injuries, or you've at least heard the stories.

That doesn't scare you off. It's rewarding work and you love your career. But it means you respect the job, the machinery and the sea itself. You try to work safely whenever possible. You don't take chances. You don't take risks.

What are some dangers of container ships?

When you work on a container ship in California, you are exposed to many hazards in your work environment. It is important to be aware of these hazards so you can be safe on the job.

While you may think that most dangers come from the cargo on board a ship, this is not always the case. According to Marine Insight, dust can be a hazard to your health. This is because some of these particles are so small that you may inhale them, and they can also irritate your eyes and make you sneeze. To protect yourself from dust, you should typically wear a face mask, especially if you regularly sweep the cargo.

Are you in danger from an electrical shock in the water?

When working on a fishing boat, there are many hazards you face every day. From adverse weather and rogue waves throwing you overboard, to working with dangerous tools on the ship or being harmed by marine animals, you know that your job is dangerous. You and other Californians in the fishing industry can also face hazards from electrical current leaking from the boat or the dock.

According to the Electric Shock Drowning Prevention Association, most people are unaware of the risk of electric shock at docks and in open water. Authorities state the example that around water, a boat or a marina can act like a giant hair dryer. If there is a problem with the wiring, electrical current leaks into the surrounding water. If you swim where there is electricity, touch a metal surface that is in contact with the electrified water or are working underwater on your ship when current leaks, you can imagine what might happen.

How does the Jones Act protect people who work at sea?

Working at sea is always a dangerous occupation, even for those who work in relatively safe areas. Unfortunately, because marine workers are usually in international waters when an injury occurs, he or she generally does not qualify for workers' compensation. The Jones Act provides reasonable protections for marine workers that attempt to make up for this legal complication that leaves such workers vulnerable when they need help the most.

If you recently suffered an injury at sea as a part of your job, you may qualify for coverage under the Jones Act. Be sure to carefully review the circumstances of your injury to ensure that you understand the legal grounds for your claim and have the tools you need to build a compelling claim and protect your rights and interests.

Everyday risks tugboat workers face

While every job can have its challenges, work in the maritime industry can be especially demanding. Whether it is engineering, operating machinery or working close to choppy waters, the varying tasks -- as well as uncertain weather conditions -- make this line of work inevitably unpredictable. Californians with positions in tugboat work specifically may want to learn more about the direction the industry is headed in terms of safety.

WorkBoat Magazine reported in February that the tugboat industry saw an increase in accidents in 2016. Overall, however, this field has seen a gradual decline in the number of fatalities; safer working conditions largely played a part in this decrease in accidents. As for less serious incidents, WorkBoat reports a slight increase, with 1,231 vessel incidents in 2016. The marine magazine also notes that, despite safer environments across the board, falls overboard still occur in this industry on a consistent basis.

8 critical tips for cruise ship safety

A cruise is supposed to provide relaxation and an escape from the pressures of the everyday world. It is a break from the routine. Perhaps it is a reward to yourself after years of hard world. Maybe it is an annual vacation that you splurge on with your tax returns.

No matter what, you expect that perfect vacation atmosphere. You expect to be safe, happy and healthy for your week at sea. You just want to enjoy the trip and make some memories that you will carry for the rest of your life.

Begin Your Recovery Today

  • Whether you are a maritime professional or were injured on a cruise ship, our attorneys can help. We have represented clients from every West Coast port city, including Oakland (where we’re based), San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, Long Beach, San Pedro and San Diego. We also serve clients from the Gulf Coast.

  • To speak with one of our maritime lawyers, call the Law Offices of Lyle C. Cavin, Jr. & Associates in Oakland at 510-291-4743, 888-340-7991 or contact us online.

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