Admiralty law entails maritime laws, including the law of the sea. As a branch of public international jurisprudence, the law of the sea covers jurisdiction over coastal waters and navigational rights. It is derived from the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), a treaty signed by 119 countries on Dec. 10, 1982. Although its powers are vast, it is rarely used in disputes regarding charter parties or ocean bills of lading.
It also creates a legal framework for international trade. This course explores many aspects of the shipping business, including maritime liens, arrest of a ship, action in rem, limitation of liability, salvage rights, and general assistants at sea. It will also touch upon ship ownership, liability in shipping incidents, and safety at sea. While you won’t need to practice this area of law immediately, you’ll want to become familiar with it before you head out on your next voyage.
The U.S. Congress has given the federal courts exclusive jurisdiction over admiralty through the Judiciary Act of 1789. The Commerce Clause regulates maritime disputes. Until recently, admiralty law in the United States only applied to tidal waters, it now applies to all navigable waters within the U.S., even recreational boats. If you’re planning a voyage, it’s best to know about the applicable laws for maritime travel and navigation.