Alaska Employment Legal Tips and Support

*This content is provided by Maritime Experts law firm.

Alaska Jobs are special. It is not just the thrill and good pay, it is also because special law applies to working on or over water. Laws that were written to benefit you. However, because these laws are so complex – employers and employees both often have a tough time – AlaskaJobFinder is making a special effort to provide you with the information you need. We hope you will read this and learn even more about what you should expect from your job.


AlaskaJobFinder is committed to making your dream of good earnings, proving yourself in a tough work environment, and sharing the pain and huge rewards with newfound friends, all come true. We want your job to be an exciting adventure and career just as you imagined it would be. We also know what many workers do not know that is many of the jobs listed on AlaskaJobFinder likely will qualify you as a U.S. seaman with very special benefits. Maritime law is so complex it is difficult for employers, too. A mistake may be entirely innocent and resolved immediately just through discussions with your employer. That is why we are providing for free Maritime Experts legal services to members and non-members alike. Only by knowing your special maritime rights will you be able to reach the full and superb additional rewards you are entitled to as a seaman. And the good news is, you don’t need to do a thing to get this benefits – they are due to you as a matter of maritime law, and in most instances, you could not give these rights up even if you tried to. We know experienced maritime legal advice can help you get what you are entitled to. We now make available – for free – live 24/7 maritime legal expert support to discuss your Alaska employment legal questions. Our experts may be reached anytime by clicking here for detailed contact information. This is not an answering service. All phone, email, social media contacts are answered live.


Since working any of the jobs listed on AlaskaJobFinder means working on water (salt or fresh) you most likely qualify as a seaman under U.S. law. There are a few exceptions – land-based work (canneries, onshore processing plants, lodges, etc.) But being a seaman has major consequences for you and your employer. In order to qualify as a seaman, you must: (1) Work on a vessel (ship – of any size) (2) the vessel must be in navigation (traveling over water or moored at a pier) (3) your work must contribute to the mission and function of the vessel. Examples of work that qualifies you as a seaman, if performed on a vessel over water include – deckhand, chef and helpers, all deck, engineering, skipper, wiper positions, maid and cleaning, tendering, longlining, cargo vessel, tug and barge and on and on. What is super important is that your work is performed on a moving or moored vessel. No, you do not have to actually spend all of your time on the vessel. If you have shore duties tied to your work on a vessel, this does not necessarily disqualify you as a seaman. One exception to the above: if you work on a foreign-flagged vessel, have a work-contract based on foreign law (Philippines is common) and the vessel itself has substantial operations outside U.S. territorial waters.


So, what’s the big deal about qualifying as a U.S. seaman? A lot!

You get, by law, very valuable benefits which can’t be taken from you. Waivers are illegal and your rights still stand. So let’s start by assuming you are a seaman. What extra benefits are you guaranteed? Let’s answer that question by example. Lets say: (1) you get sick while on board the vessel (even a toothache!) and you are unable to work for a while or for the rest of your contract – you are required to be paid all of your earnings for the full contract and your dental bill is also has to paid when you get back to land; (2) if you suffer a more serious medical problem (heart attack) there is a duty to get you medical help immediately even if it means diverting the ship and you get paid for the full amount of your contract; (3) while you are sick on land and treating you are paid a daily living maintenance, usually around $90/day; (4) your medical expenses are fully paid no matter how much it costs, how long it takes for you to recover; (5) you get to chose your own Dr. and medical facilities.


As a seaman, you are not a workers comp. claimant. You have more rights as a seaman. If you are injured while working, and your injury was caused by negligence or unseaworthiness, you have a right to bring a claim, in addition to all of your medical, living expense, unearned wages, you also have a right to general damages and personal injury. This includes all pain and suffering associated with your injury, all wages you might otherwise have been able to earn working on land, and all future wages, to age 67, for the loss of your future work capacity, if your injury will keep from working you for the rest of your life. Also, if you were previously doing heavy-duty work, but now can only do lite duty,(for example, due to back injury) you are entitled to the loss of the difference between what you previously could have earned, and the lesser amount you earn can post-injury.

Personal Injury Claims

It is important for you to read and review the separate Section on our site titled Alaska Maritime Injury Legal Info. There are some very strict rules that must be followed when filing an injury claim. Summarizing, you should talk to an experienced maritime attorney immediately – do not delay – Maritime Experts are experienced maritime lawyers who have handled hundreds of maritime claims. You can reach them immediately by clicking here. You must immediately document the accident – take pictures, identify, and get information from witnesses. You may be asked to fill out a blizzard of paperwork – make a statement and fill in an accident report – you should do this but only after talking to Maritime Experts first for assistance on how to do this. Your employer may ask you to sign a release so that they may obtain medical and related records. This is something you should do when asked. You need not worry about case expenses if you do file a claim as those will be covered by Maritime Experts. Also, if your case is worth pursuing Maritime Experts only charges on a contingency fee basis – no charge unless you win and then only a negotiated percentage of your recovery. Finally, it doesn’t matter where you are in the world when injured and it doesn’t matter where you live. Maritime Experts handles claims all over the U.S. and originating within a foreign country.


You need to read this disclaimer carefully as it directly relates to all or your actual or potential rights above. There are many circumstances where a worker is doing over the water job work and does not qualify as a seaman even if your work is connected to a vessel. You must not rely on the above information for determining your legal rights. Also, there are many circumstances where a seaman is also covered by workers compensation and may benefit from both programs. This information is only intended to discuss in very general terms rights and entitlements of Jones Act/General maritime law seaman. There are many other programs, rights, duties, and obligations that may apply to you, such as workers compensation, employer benefit and other programs, other Federal and State laws and programs. Other programs may have strict requirements not covered here that require you to file claims or paperwork within as little as ten days, and at specific locations or agencies. While Maritime Experts will discuss, in general terms, Jones Act/General maritime law this does not make you a client and does not create an attorney-client relationship. You must consult with your own attorney not only as to legal issues discussed by or through this site, but as to what all of your rights and entitlements may be. In general, if you do qualify as a Jones Act/General maritime law seaman you have three years from date of injury to file a claim –but there are exceptions to this which may require you file a claim within 15 months or less. Failure to timely file a claim will result in the loss of your right to do so. Please also see the General Disclaimer on this site provided by Maritime Experts.