How to Tell if Your Vessel is Seaworthy?

As a seaman you have the right to expect that the vessel furnished by your employer is safe. In maritime legal terms, seaworthiness is an important aspect of vessel safety.

It seems simple to say that a vessel should be seaworthy, but how do you know if your vessel is seaworthy? According to established maritime law, you should consider:

  • Whether the vessel is able to make its particular voyage safely. The concept of seaworthiness is very much dependent on the specific facts of the situation. A vessel that is seaworthy in the Gulf of Mexico may not be seaworthy off of the coast of Alaska, for example. Other considerations, such as cargo and the length of the voyage, are also important in determining whether a vessel is seaworthy;
  • Whether the equipment on the vessel was safe and functioning, and
  • Whether the training, skill, and health of the crew members is appropriate for the voyage.


Your employer has an obligation to provide you with a seaworthy vessel upon which to do your job. In other words, the vessel must be fit for the normal perils of the sea and be reasonably safe. If your employer failed to provide you with a vessel that meets that standard and you've been hurt, then you may be entitled to damages. Contact a New Jersey or New York maritime attorney today for more information.

The New York and New Jersey maritime lawyers of Hofmann & Schweitzer represent seamen who have been hurt on unseaworthy vessels