Maritime Injury Topics

» Glossary of Legal Terms A - G
» Glossary of Legal Terms H - M
» Glossary of Legal Terms N - S
» Glossary of Legal Terms T -Z

Maritime Law Overview


() -
Disability Compensation
Wage Loss
Medical Care

Glossary of Legal Terms H - M

Hague Rules

International rules that establish the rights and liabilities of carriers. Enacted in the 1920s, the Hague Rules were meant to regulate and bring uniformity to bills of lading around the world. The Rules are still applicable to maritime law today.

Harbor Worker

a person whose employment takes place in or around the harbor and who is engaged in direct maritime activities. The term includes ship repairmen, shipbuilders and ship breakers, for example, but does not include clerical workers or workers in harbor side retail or restaurant establishments.

High Seas

all parts of the global oceans and seas that are not part of a country's territorial waters. Some maritime laws, such as the Death on the High Seas Act, define "High Seas" as more than one marine league or three miles from the United States coastline.

In Extremis

this Latin phrase means in grave or extreme circumstances. The term as applied to maritime law means that if a vessel has been placed in danger because of the actions of another vessel, the vessel that has been placed in danger may be excused if its captain or crew make a mistake in the navigation or operation of the vessel.

Inland Rules of Navigation

the "traffic" rules or rules of navigation that apply to bodies of water that are entirely surrounded by land and do not comingle with the ocean or sea. Examples might include rivers, lakes and ponds. The rules address things such as navigation, speed and collisions.

Inland Waters

waters that are entirely within the boundaries of land. Inland waters may be rivers, lakes, ponds or any other body of water that does not reach the sea. Any body of water that connects to ocean water is not considered an inland water.

International Maritime Organization

also known as IMO. IMO is a specialized agency of the United Nations that brings together member nations to create international rules relating to "safe, secure and efficient shipping on clean waters." IMO was established in 1948 and is headquartered in the United Kingdom.

International Rules of Navigation

these rules used to be part of the United States Code but have since been repealed. Rules of navigation on international waters are now governed by international treaties and laws, many of which are developed by the United Nations.

Jones Act

this law provides specific protections to seamen who are hurt because of the negligence of the ship owner, operator or other crew members. A seaman may collect damages for maintenance (lodging and food) and cure (medical care). The Jones Act also protects commerce in US waters.

Law of the Flag

the doctrine that applies the laws of the country of the ship's flag if there is a conflict of laws. Vessels often operate in international waters and it may sometimes be difficult to tell which country's laws apply to an accident or dispute. This doctrine, present in many treaties, is meant to address that problem.

Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act

this act provides workers compensation type benefits to longshoremen and harbor workers. The benefits are administered by the US Department of Labor. Compensation may be made for injuries or fatalities and may include medical care, lost wages and compensation for disability.


a maritime employee whose job is to load and unload cargo from vessels which are in port. Longshoremen are covered by the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act if they are hurt or killed in the course of their employment.

Maintenance and Cure

expenses that an injured or ill seaman incurs for lodging, meals and medical care during his or her recuperation period and until the seaman is ready to return to work. If the injury or illness was due to negligence or deliberate actions of another then the vessel owner or operator then the seaman has the right to recover these expenses.

Marine salvage

the reward for the person who helps rescue marine property, such as a vessel, that is in danger of being damaged. Some laws allow the reward to be provided whether the assistance was successful or not in preventing damage to the marine property.


things related to the ocean or to the sea. It includes things related to vessels, shipping and navigation. It also includes admiralty law, history and culture. It further encompasses things adjacent to the oceans and seas such as piers and docks.

Maritime Cause of Action

a lawsuit or arbitration that arises out of an issue on the water or near the water that is related to maritime activities. Some common maritime causes of action include those against employers for negligence which resulted in the injury, illness or death of a seaman. Maritime causes of action also exist for passengers who are hurt on recreational vessels or cruise ships.

Maritime lien

a security interest against a vessel to secure the claim of a creditor who provided services to the vessel and was injured. It is meant to protect the claim of that creditor and to ensure that the creditor will recover damages if the creditor is found to be entitled to damages.


more commonly known as the ship's captain. The person responsible for the navigation of the vessel, the vessel's crew, the vessel's cargo and making sure that the vessel completes its voyage safely and while complying with all applicable laws and regulations.

Maximum Medical Cure

a term that includes refers to the medical treatment, hospitalization, rehabilitation and therapy that is needed until the patient has recovered from his illness or injuries to the fullest extent that is medically possible. Many maritime laws, such as the Jones Act, allow compensation for illness or injury until the patient has reached the maximum medical cure.


another term for the cargo or goods that a vessel transports. Any type of goods on any type of vessel may be considered merchandise. Maritime merchandise may also refer to nautical items that are for sale to the general public.

Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit

self contained floating units that are capable of drilling for oil. Different types of Mobile Offshore Drilling United exist including jackups, semisubmersibles and submersibles. These units are often identified by the acronym MODU. They are important parts of the oil drilling industry.

Longshore & Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA)

Free PDF overview from 888-GO-LONGY regarding Longshore & Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA)

Download Free
PDF Overview

Defense Base Act
The Frequently Asked Questions

Our Maritime Injury Lawyer answers the 29 most common Defense Base Act Questions. Continue ...

Injured seaman must file a claim within three years of the injury. More on Employees Rights...