When ships are out on the sea there are rules that apply to them as if they were on land. Some of these rules are internationally recognized and adhered to. Others are tailored specifically to a country. The Jones Act is a U.S. enacted law that aims at protecting the lives and safety of people traveling the high seas. While the following information is not meant to be legal advice, if you have been injured in an accident at sea it is important to have a basic understanding of admiralty and maritime law before beginning the claim process.
The Jones Act is a federal regulation that was enacted to protect U.S. crew, cargo and passengers aboard U.S. ships. Essentially, it forbids the transport of cargo either to or from a U.S. port, in any vessel that was not constructed or operated by U.S. citizens. This regulation ensures that all vessels are in accordance with regulations enacted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
If you are a U.S. citizen and were injured in or near a vessel that is not in accordance with the Jones Act, you may have a claim against such vessel, crew or owner. Other countries do not adhere to the same safety regulations as the U.S. This makes it more difficult to regulate vessels and keep everyone safe. The Jones Act is one of the older maritime regulations that aim at keeping people and cargo safe out at sea.
Maritime safety is crucial to ensuring accidents do not happen out on the water. However, sometimes accidents do occur and it is crucial to determine if a person or entity is responsible for such an accident. Any accident that occurs due to a direct disregard for U.S. federal law is punishable in court. Safety should be all vessels top priority.
Source: help.cbp.gov, "The Jones Act," Accessed Oct. 6, 2014