Maritime law has a long history, dating back to the ancient Egyptians. These early civilizations were involved in extensive shipping and were the first to record maritime law. However, the exact origins of these maritime laws are unknown. It is possible that they were of French or Anglo-Norman origin, but it is difficult to tell for sure. Over the centuries, maritime law spread throughout Europe, establishing itself in England, France, Scotland, and Flanders.
Maritime law applies to a wide variety of situations. For example, the law may apply to piracy, criminal activity, and wake damage. In addition, the law may also apply to recreational boating accidents. As such, if a boater is injured while on the water, they may be entitled to compensation from the ship’s owners.
A seaman may also be entitled to compensation for injuries resulting from work conditions on a ship. The law recognizes that the ship’s employer has a legal duty to maintain its vessel in a seaworthy condition. In most cases, this means providing medical assistance at no cost to a seaman. While this obligation is not as broad as receiving surgery or a wheelchair, it is important to understand that shipowners can be held liable for the injuries of their crew.
Although maritime law is federal law, it is applied in state courts. Even if the plaintiff has filed suit in state court, federal law applies to the case. The most common cases are those involving marine collisions or maritime salvage. Most other maritime actions are filed in state court.