Offshore InjuryBlog

Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Clarification Act

Congress approved the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Clarification Act on July 29, 2014 in an effort to elaborate on insurance coverage for employees who work in the recreational vessel repair industry. The legislation clarifies what is considered a "recreational vessel," helping business owners and employers to determine whether they should provide general state workers compensation or if the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act covers their workers.

Previously, confusion over the coverage of workers had led to some employees being covered by duplicate policies or not being covered at all. Clarification of the LHWCA should help many workers receive proper coverage and help employers to avoid unnecessary expenses.

According to the new Clarification Act, a recreational vessel is defined as a vessel "being manufactured or operated primarily for pleasure", or a vessel "leased, rented, or chartered to another for the latter's pleasure." It further elaborates that if a vessel is being manufactured or dismantled, it is considered a recreational vessel if the above definition applies to its general intended use. In addition, a public vessel owned by the United States which is being manufactured or dismantled is considered a recreational vessel if it "shares elements of design and construction with a traditional recreational vessel and is not normally engaged in military, commercial, or traditional commercial undertaking."

Examples of recreational vessels

  • Canoe
  • Cruise ship
  • Jet ski
  • Recreational fishing boat
  • Tour boat
  • Yacht

According to this maritime law clarification, many workers are now legally covered under the LHWCA, which typically provides more thorough coverage against disease or injury for maritime workers than general workers compensation.

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