If you have a boat, but need assistance in any legal matters, then marine lawyers who specialise in maritime legal needs are what you need. You should find lawyers who understand the legal, practical, technical and international problems experienced by mariners, ones that have plenty of expertise in this specific area, as there are many subtleties that non specialist lawyers are likely to be unaware of. Marine lawyers will act for P&I Clubs, shipowners, insurers, yacht owners, charterers and all sectors connected with the industry. They should also have considerable expertise in relation to marine personal injury investigation, litigation and mediation.
In particular, you will need a firm which can assist with various issues, including litigation in the Admiralty Court, arbitration and mediation, as well as personal injury investigations on yachts, fishing boats and commercial vessels. You may also need assistance with yacht and motorboat buying and selling, yacht registration, or import and exporting. Drafting commercial contracts and all issues regarding financing your vessel including marine insurance and tax are also issues which marine lawyers can provide advice with and ease the burden of ever day administrative matters. Just because you are not on land, accidents and collisions can still happen, which will also require salvage and towing, meaning you will need someone to represent you, especially if this involves claims involving port and harbour authorities. Health and safety and personal injury claims will also be covered by lawyers. When approaching the drafting and negotiating process, lawyers will use their extensive knowledge to protect their clients’ interests, which will give them an advantage over those whose experience lies primarily in drafting their clients’ agreements, not in litigation. Many agreements contain ‘Arbitration Clauses’ which are terms of an agreement that require that disputes proceed through an arbitration process instead of in Court. Depending on the circumstances, an arbitration clause may or may not be in your best interest. It is the marine lawyers who will be able to assist you making these types of decisions when negotiating and drafting your agreement.
When you are searching for a lawyer to assist you with any legal matter relating to your legal needs, then you will need to shop around and make sure they tick all your boxes. If your “normal” lawyer doesn’t specialize in marine law, then its worth asking them for some advice on a specialist that they can recommend in the area.