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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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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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    Jan 2006
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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

    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.

  4. #4
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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."

  5. #5
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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?

  6. #6
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    Apr 2012
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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.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    11

    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.

  8. #8
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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?

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