Lochner Law Firm, P.C.

Todd D. Lochner
Eugene E. Samarin
Gregory R. Singer

Lochner Law Firm, P.C.
Donner Building
91 Main St., 4th Floor
Annapolis, MD 21401

P: (443) 716-4400
F: (443) 716-4405

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What is Boating Law?

Boating Law. Admiralty Law. Maritime Law. All these are names that are given to the law that encompases all boats, ships, and things that float.

Regardless of label, the body of law is the same for all disputes involving vessels in navigable waters and often in disputes in fields that are related as well, such as marine insurance contracts. This body of law, known as general maritime law, was first codified in 2000 B.C within the Hammurabi Code. Much of the modern maritime law is directly descended from the Code of Oleron, which was penned in the 12th century by King Richard I. Modern courts still cite to this code as precedent for their decisions. The United States Supreme Court cited it as recently as 1974 in Cooper Stevedoring Co. v. Kopke, Inc., 417 U.S. 106 (1974)

In recent decades, great pressure has been placed on traditional maritime doctrines by the dramatic increase in purely recreational boating. Needless to say, King Richard I did not envision the advent and dramatic proliferation of the Personal Water Craft, nor, of course the many other changes that have occurred in our society. As a result, there are many uncertainties in the law where doctrines developed to regulate the conduct of commercial ships are molded to the fit the facts of small private pleasure yachts. This fascinating story is now being written in courts around the country, sometimes in highly unpredictable ways. Hopefully this site will provide you with an introduction to these issues. As stated in our disclaimer, however, there is no substitute for legal research and investigation by professional counsel on the known facts of a specific dispute.

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