Surfboards count as 'vessels' under the Jones Act, and it's creating big problems for workers' comp | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED


Surfboards count as 'vessels' under the Jones Act, and it's creating big problems for workers' comp

It turns out the nearly 100-year-old federal law doesn’t just apply to shipping vessels, but other qualifying vessels such as surfboards and kayaks, which negatively affects workers' compensation insurance for small businesses in Hawaii.

The Jones Act or “Merchant Marine Act of 1920” is a federal protectionist law that governs maritime activities and provides seamen with a personal injury negligence remedy. The federal law increases costs to ship owners and consumers by requiring shipping vessels transporting goods between U.S. ports to be built in and flagged by the U.S. and also to be 75 percent owned and crewed by Americans. The federal law not only increases the cost of living for Hawaii residents, but now it also affects small recreational water-sport businesses.

A simple change in the federal law to exclude recreational water-sport vessels from the Jones Act would reduce premium costs for businesses, which would only have to purchase and comply with state coverage rules.

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