With a few words in Article III, Section 2 of the United States Constitution, the Founding Fathers granted jurisdiction of admiralty and maritime law to Congress. Understanding the finer points of admiralty and maritime law, however, requires a substantially broader examination of the rules and restrictions currently affecting use of and traffic in the nation’s waterways.
Admiralty and maritime law, though seemingly a narrow branch of the law, regulates an astounding number of private and commercial enterprises and transactions. The same legal framework that defines and illegitimates piracy also provides guidance on settling claims arising as a result of treasure-laden ships being salvaged at sea. Land-based activities which heavily involve the use or alteration of waterways, such as commercial fisheries, are similarly regulated by admiralty and maritime law.
Law students or individuals interested in conducting business at sea would be well served by continuing their research in one of the many excellent new and used books exclusively addressing this topic.