Who is a Seaman?

To enjoy coverage under the Jones Act, a maritime worker must be a seaman. To qualify as a seaman, the maritime worker must establish connection to a vessel in navigation and, further, the work must contribute to the function or mission of that vessel. Typically, the captain, crew and divemaster aboard a dive boat are seamen. As long as the worker establishes the connection to a vessel and that the work contributes to its function or mission, he or she is protected under the Jones Act.

Customarily, when one thinks of a diver covered under the Jones Act, one thinks of an oilfield commercial diver.The Jones Act provides protection to any employee who has established “connection to a vessel in navigation.” This class of employees protected includes, for instance, deckhands, dive masters, cooks and mates working aboard dive boats or any vessel for which wages are provided for services rendered. Any such employee is entitled to the liberal protection of the Jones Act.