Admiralty and Maritime Law

For those in the Pacific Northwest, including Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and California, the ocean carries particular importance. Many people work at sea. Ports and harbors in Seattle, Portland, Anchorage, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and other cities along the seafront are major employment centers. Many Pacific Northwesterners work in the commercial fishing industry. The ocean also serves as a major conduit for both transportation and leisure, with ferries and cruise ships.

With such a strong economic presence, the maritime industry has many employees who might get injured on the job or passengers who might be injured on their trip. When this occurs, they have rights to recovery, and an attorney can help them exercise those rights.

Maritime and Admiralty Lawyers in Washington, Oregon, California, and Alaska

After an injury on a ship or while working in a harbor, the maritime lawyers at BoatLaw, LLP can fight for your recovery. With offices in Seattle, Bellingham, Portland, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, we represent clients throughout the west coast.

We are experienced in the practice of admiralty law and the law of the sea. If you’ve been injured, you have a right to justice. Call us today at 1 (800) 262-8529 or send an online message for a free consultation to discuss the details of your case.

We help injured seaman bring claims in state or federal court for personal injury damages under the Jones Act and for maintenance and cure under general maritime law.

Laws Protecting Maritime Workers

Many laws affecting maritime employees are federal laws, brought in federal or state court. In fact, many maritime employment contracts require any action to be brought specifically in the U.S. District Court or King County Superior Court in Seattle. Some important areas of law include:

  • Jones Act: The Merchant Marine Act of 1920, commonly called the Jones Act, protects seamen who have been injured on the job. Under the Jones Act, seamen can bring a lawsuit to recover for any negligence committed by or attributable to their
  • Unseaworthiness: Under general maritime law, vessel owners owe a duty of This requires the vessel owner to provide a vessel and equipment that are reasonably fit for their intended purpose. A breach of the warranty constitutes unseaworthiness.
  • Maintenance and Cure: Claims for maintenance and cure work similarly to workers’ compensation. If a maritime employee is injured on the job, they have a right to have medical bills covered and to receive payments while recovering, regardless of fault.
  • Vessel Sinkings: Ships must be well-built or the sea may take them and everyone on board. In the event of an accident, heavy storm, or any other occurrence that can sink a ship, the vessel must be fitted with appropriate safety equipment. If not, the results can be tragic, and the victims deserve recovery.
  • Wrongful Death: Sadly, many maritime workers are lost at sea, sometimes due to the negligence of their employers or unseaworthiness of their vessel. The Death on the High Seas Act allows recovery for loved ones lost beyond U.S. territorial waters. General maritime law governs territorial waters, as well as the high seas.
  • Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act: Not all maritime workers work on boats. For maritime employees who work on ports, docks, and harbors who are injured on the job, the LHWCA provides a way to seek automatic benefits while recovering.

Passenger Injuries in the Pacific Northwest

If you are a passenger on a ferry or cruise ship, you have a right to expect a certain level of safety. The owners and operators of the ship you are on must implement measures to protect their passengers.

Not every injury or accident can be helped, but you have paid for services, which demands a high degree of care. If injured, you may be able to recover. Local maritime passenger injury lawyers can help you fight for what you’re owed.

Attorneys for Federal Admiralty and Maritime Laws

The sea is a dangerous place, but if you’re been a maritime employee or passenger who has been injured in the North Pacific, Bering Sea, or Gulf of Alaska, you might be able to recover with the help of a Seattle maritime lawyer.

Our maritime lawyers have offices in Bellingham and Seattle, Washington, San Francisco and Los Angeles, California, and in Portland, Oregon. Let us put our experience to work for you.

BoatLaw, LLP will fight for you. Call us today at 1 (800) 262-8529 for a free consultation with a top maritime lawyer for the State of Washington and Oregon.


  • The Maritime Law Association of The United States
    The Maritime Law Association of the United States (MLA) was founded in 1899. Its formation was prompted by the organization, some three years earlier, of the International Maritime Committee.
  • Washington State Bar Association
    The Washington State Bar Association operates under the delegated authority of the Washington Supreme Court to license the state's nearly 40,000 lawyers and other legal professionals.
  • Oregon State Bar
    The Oregon State Bar is a government agency in the U.S. state of Oregon. Founded in 1890 as the private Oregon Bar Association, it became a public entity in 1935 that regulates the legal profession.
  • Alaska Bar Association
    The Alaska Bar Association is a mandatory bar association responsible to the Alaska Supreme Court for the admission and discipline process of attorneys for the State of Alaska.