U.S. Admiralty & Maritime Law: Federal Laws & Administrative Materials

Updated March 13, 2015.
Prepared by Ann Hemmens for Admiralty & Maritime Law A585, Professor Nancy Harriss; updated by Lori Fossum for Admiralty & Maritime Law A585, Winter 2010, Professor Craig Allen; updated by Paul Riermaier, law librarianship intern (2015).

This guide focuses on federal legislation affecting admiralty and maritime law, federal rules and regulations, agency and administrative decisions, civil procedure, and jury instructions.

See the U.S. Admiralty & Maritime Law: Research Basics guide for introductory resources. See these companion guides for more in-depth information on researching related admiralty & maritime law topics:

See also the Gallagher guides on Law of the Sea and Research Guide on U.S. Ocean & Coastal Law.

Select Federal Statutes

The following links go to Cornell's Legal Information Institute version of the U.S. Code.

Jones Act (Merchant Marine), 46 U.S.C. § 50101 et seq.

Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act, 33 U.S.C. § 901 et seq.

Death on the High Seas Act, 46 USC § 30301 et seq.

Admiralty Jurisdiction Act (Extension), 46 USC § 30101

Carriage of Goods by Sea Act, 46 USC § 30701 et seq.

Admiralty and maritime statutes and court rules

  • Westlaw: FMRT-USCA
  • LexisNexis: USCS - Admiralty and Maritime-Titles 9, 19, 33 & 46

Use “Popular Names Table” volumes in U.S. Code Annotated, KF62 1927 .W45 at Reference Area, or U.S. Code Service, KF62 1972 .L38 at Reference Area, to locate other laws by name. The Popular Names Table is also available online from Cornell’s Legal Information Institute.


Rules & Regulations

Code of Federal Regulations.
KF70 at Reference Area & Westlaw: FMRT-CFR & Lexis: CFR-Admiralty Titles 33 & 46
Select titles and chapters:

  • Title 29: Labor
  • Title 33: Navigation and Navigable Waters
  • Title 46: Shipping

The Code of Federal Regulations is available electronically as the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations.


Agencies & Administrative Decisions

Federal Maritime Commission

An independent regulatory agency established in 1961 charged with administration of the regulatory provisions of shipping laws, specifically regulating “ocean-borne transportation in the foreign commerce of the U.S.”

Decisions of the Federal Maritime Commission, 1919-.
KF2609 .A55 at Compact Stacks (1919-87); online [UW Restricted]; LexisNexis Academic [via UW catalog]: Federal Maritime Commission Decisions, 1980-
Includes decisions of the Federal Maritime Commission and its predecessor bodies, the Federal Maritime Board and the Maritime Administration.

Annual Report of The Federal Maritime Commission, 1962-. HE745 .A1872 at Classified Stacks & Reference Area Microfiche, 1991-2001 & Federal Maritime Commission Annual Reports, 1962-

Hawkins Index-Digest-Analysis to Federal Maritime Commission Reports, 1970-2005.
KF2609 .A59 H38 at Classified Stacks
Covers reports of the Federal Maritime Commission and its predecessors, the U.S. Supreme Court, and other federal courts relating to the Shipping and Merchant Marine Acts.

Administrative Material from Other Agencies

U.S. Department of Transportation, Maritime Administration
Develops and maintains an American merchant marine for national security and domestic and foreign commerce. Website contains laws, reports, statistics, forms, and other documents.

Decisions of the Maritime Subsidy Board, 1961-81. KF2639 .A55 at Reference Area; online [UW Restricted]; Westlaw: FMRT-MASB, 1986-
The Maritime Subsidy Board deals with subsidy contracts.

National Transportation Safety Board Decisions (1967-91).
KF2172.A2 T7 at Reference Area & Reference Area Microfiche and online (1967-81) [UW Restricted].
Enforcement decisions in aviation and marine cases.NTSB Sketch of Edmund Fitzgeral

  • National Transportation Safety Board: Legal Matters. The final case decisions of the National Transportation Safety Board with regard to an airman, mechanic or mariner's appeal of action on his or her certificate are found in National Transportation Safety Board Decisions. A searchable index is available on-line; complete text for decisions issued since mid-1992 is also available in the Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF).
  • LexisNexis: National Transportation Safety Board Marine Safety Orders & Decisions, 1966-

For more information on accessing agency and administrative decisions see University of Virginia Library's How Do I Find Government Information on Administrative Decisions.


Rules of Civil Procedure

Federal Rules of Civil Procedure,“Supplemental Rules for Certain Admiralty and Maritime Claims”

  • KF8816 .A193 at Reference Area,
  • Westlaw: FMRT-RULES
  • LexisNexis: USCS-Supplemental Rules for Admiralty and Maritime Claims


Jury Instructions

Manual of Model Civil Jury Instructions for the Ninth Circuit (2007).
KF8984 .A65 M37 at Reference Area. Earlier editions at Classified Stacks.

Includes model jury instructions for Jones Act and other admiralty claims.


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