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  1. #1
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    Default Is the Captain of a Private Yacht a Jones Act Seaman

    My question involves employment and labor law for the state of: California


    As the Captain of a private yacht, Am I considered a Jones act Seaman when dealing with wage related issues?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Is the Captain of a Private Yacht a Jones Act Seaman

    from what little I have found in a couple of minutes of research, the Jones act involves worker's compensation claims, not wage related issues unless of course you are speaking of wage issues in relation to worker's comp claims. Are you?

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Is the Captain of a Private Yacht a Jones Act Seaman

    Generally speaking, I believe any hired employees on the yacht, engaged someway in the navigation of the vessel would be. The cook or steward, for example, not engaging in navigation related activities, would not be. Were you a paid captain and injured while underway? You would likely be entitled to wages of $15 - $30 a day, required to maintain comparable living conditions on shore. Is that where you are going with this?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Is the Captain of a Private Yacht a Jones Act Seaman

    The courts have held, even after narrowing the definition that the "officers" of the boat are also seamen. The next question is which part of the law you are referring to. The wage section appears to apply only to US flagged vessels of 75 tons or more operating in or out of US ports.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Is the Captain of a Private Yacht a Jones Act Seaman

    Ron, what I have found seems to state that the Jones Act is section 27 of the Merchant Marine act of 1920 and deals with injuries to seamen. Am I missing something?

    If I am correct, everything I have found states that the Jones act would apply to any employee of a ship without regard to size. This is a definition I found of a covered vessel:

    A structure designed for and being used for the transportation of passengers, cargo or equipment across navigable waters
    and this:

    In 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the term "vessel" under the Jones Act law includes "every description of watercraft or other artificial contrivance used, or capable of being used, as a means of transportation on water."

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Is the Captain of a Private Yacht a Jones Act Seaman

    Not workmans comp, but unpaid wages and out of pocket expenses totaling more than $ 30,000 that have gone unpaid for as long as 8 months in the form of returned payroll checks. This vessel is not more than 75 gross tons but is U.S. flagged and operating from U.S. ports. I have written demand letters to no avail, I believe I have the option of placing a lien on the vessel, but I am wondering if is in my best interest to pursue this as an Admiralty claim vs. a State wage claim, so far as protection of my rights as a Seaman, and wage penalty claims. Thank you very much for your time, and interest. If I have read correctly, there is a provision for penalty wages after discharge, but I cannot find any information regarding someone who is still employed, so I don't know if I fit, but I have read that in an Admiralty claim, the court has no discretion in quantifying penalty wages, they are meant to be a deterrent, and are essentially written in stone. I have no experience in this sort of matter, and very little perspective. Thank you again.

    The section I was reading was Title 46 U.S.C. sect.596.......Thanks.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Is the Captain of a Private Yacht a Jones Act Seaman

    The "merchant marine act of 1927" means squat. What matters is it's embodiment in the US CODE. I can't find anything in that act that would appear to have any bearing on wages anyway.
    A private yacht isn't merchant marine anyhow, they don't carry goods or passengers in commerce.

    With regard to wages, there are separate sections for foreign/intercostal voyages which requires 75 tons or more, coastwise vessels of 50 tons or more, and fishing vessels. The Jones act (46 USC 30104) refers to injuries and death of the seamen. Your arguments about rulings on that have no bearing on wage issues.

    Only other issues on wages for seamen seem to deal with deceased seamen and those terminated in foreign ports.

    So rather than trying to grab little snippets of unrelated legislation and supreme court case, how about following the rules of the forum and explain your problem?

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Is the Captain of a Private Yacht a Jones Act Seaman

    I apologize if I offended anyone, and I certainly did not mean to break any rules, I am just a guy trying to make a living, my boss owes me $30,000.00 in wages and out of pocket, and I am just trying to figure out how to best get it back My license is a Merchant Mariner credential, and I am trying to figure out if that offers me protection under the Jones act, and wether that protection is more absolute than the State of California. Thank you.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Is the Captain of a Private Yacht a Jones Act Seaman

    As JK and I have told you, the Jone's act has nothing to do with your wage complaint it applies to injuries. Your merchant marine credentials only authorize you to work in the merchant marine, they don't mean any job you work is covered by the Merchant Marine laws. As stated, I can't find anything in Title 46 which is the larger body of federal law covering commercial shipping that would appear to apply to your wage dispute. If you're vessel is 50 tons or more in costal service, then you may have federal protection. Otherwise, you'll have to deal with regular wage and labor law.

    Of course, with that much money at hand, it might behoove you to consult a maritime law specialist.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Is the Captain of a Private Yacht a Jones Act Seaman

    Quote Quoting jk
    View Post
    ...the Jones act involves worker's compensation claims, not wage related issues unless of course you are speaking of wage issues in relation to worker's comp claims....
    Correct.
    Quote Quoting legendtommy
    View Post
    The section I was reading was Title 46 U.S.C. sect.596.......Thanks.
    You must be looking at a very old resource. 46 USC 596 was recodified as 46 USC 10313 back in 1983.

    Per 46 USC 10301,
    Quote Quoting 46 USC 10301 - Application
    (a) Except as otherwise specifically provided, this chapter applies to a vessel of the United States -

    (1) on a voyage between a port in the United States and a port in a foreign country (except a port in Canada, Mexico, or the West Indies); or

    (2) of at least 75 gross tons as measured under section 14502 of this title, or an alternate tonnage measured under section 14302 of this title as prescribed by the Secretary under section 14104 of this title on a voyage between a port of the United States on the Atlantic Ocean and a port of the United States on the Pacific Ocean.
    (b) This chapter does not apply to a vessel on which the seamen are entitled by custom or agreement to share in the profit or result of a voyage or to riding gang members.

    (c) Unless otherwise provided, this chapter does not apply to a foreign vessel.
    Per 46 USC 10101(3), "'seaman' means an individual (except scientific personnel, a sailing school instructor, or a sailing school student) engaged or employed in any capacity on board a vessel."
    Quote Quoting flyingron
    View Post
    The "merchant marine act of 1927" means squat. What matters is it's embodiment in the US CODE.
    The language refers to a specific Act, just like references to HIPAA, the PATRIOT Act, COPPA, the ECPA,the Omnibus Criminal Justice Improvements Act of 1986, etc., although if you mean, "If you're referring to the wrong Act, it's not helpful" I will concede that point.

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