Jeff Nemerofsky


In the context of United States admiralty law, the definition of the word "vessel" has different meanings depending upon which statute has jurisdiction, the nature of the circumstances, and the characteristics of the person involved. There is no settled definition of the word. The Jones Act is a statute designed to cover seamen injured by the negligent acts of their employer, and is indicative of other admiralty statutes which, by their lack of a specific definition of the word "vessel," have created controversy in the judicial system. This comment proposes a three prong test that suggests several criteria to be used by the trier of fact for determining whether something meets the definition of a "vessel." The objective is to provide a tool that can be used in a variety of situations involving different admiralty statutes in an effort to produce a more consistent understanding. The use of my three prong test should eliminate some of the ambiguities that appear to exist, and provide a more consistent result.

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