Unseaworthiness

September 04, 2009 @ 02:20 PM -- by

A vessel and its operator owe members of the vessel’s crew the duty to furnish a seaworthy vessel (one that is reasonably fit for its intended use). This duty is owed by the operator of the vessel. Usually the shipowner is both the operator of the vessel and the seaman’s employer.

To be considered seaworthy, the vessel, its crew and appurtenances and operation must be reasonably fit for the vessel’s intended purpose. The standard is not absolute perfection. "Reasonably fit" is to be determined by a "reasonable man" standard.

Some conditions may be unseaworthy under some conditions but not in others. Ice on a vessel in a frigid climate while the vessel is underway may not be unseaworthy, but the same conditions may make the vessel unseaworthy if the vessel is in a warmer climate or is in port.