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The Jones Act applies to much of America's work at sea

The Jones Act may be familiar to the half of the United States' population that lives near a coastline. It is a part of the Merchant Marine Act that governs much of the trade that passed through and between American ports.

One of the requirements of the Jones Act involves the ownership and registration of the ships that carry trade between ports in the United States. Many other countries have laws like this, which save most maritime commerce activities for citizens.

Most workers near the coastline are more concerned with the workers' compensation and other benefits that the Jones Act guarantees for them. This works by defining the types of jobs that require coverage, often because state laws regarding these protections may not apply to them.

Most jobs that are based on vessels engaged in domestic trade qualify for these protections. Crew members of commercial cargo vessels, fishing boats, diving boats and passenger ships like ferries and cruise ships are often identified by the Jones Act.

Related jobs on land can also apply. Dock workers, tenders, shipbreakers and maintainers of coastal and seafaring vessels may also have jobs that are covered by the Jones Act.

Another application of this law involves the national control of water transportation in times of emergency. This is a rare occasion and can involve compensation for the owners and operators of craft that are affected.

An attorney can help explain how the Jones Act applies to workers' coverage and other requirements. Legal representation can make it easier to deal with legal actions involving this law.

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