Maritime law is the area of law that applies to the law of the seas. This area of law is governed by international conventions. These conventions set out the jurisdictional boundaries of maritime law. A nation’s territorial waters extend out to twelve nautical miles, whereas the state’s waters are limited to three nautical miles. Then there is the exclusive economic zone (EEZ), which can be as long as 200 miles. This zone allows a country to benefit from its natural resources, but can also be a source of dispute.
The maritime law system provides a framework for resolving many disputes. For example, maritime law can apply to criminal activity, salvage of a ship, towage contracts, and insurance issues. A person injured on a ship, for example, can sue its owner for the injuries he or she suffered.
In maritime law, owners of vessels and cargo are entitled to compensation when they are in danger and must be rescued. This responsibility varies based on the value of the property, the risks involved, and the law. In some instances, the court will decide on an appropriate amount for each party to receive. Typically, the maritime law system requires a proportional compensation based on the value of the property and the level of risk incurred.
The law of the seas is an enormous field of study. It involves the study of international maritime law and maritime organizations. In the United States, maritime law is overseen by the U.S. Coast Guard. While admiralty law is a broad concept that applies to any ocean-going vessel, the laws of individual nations differ from state to state.