Can you just leave someone? Mariner stranded

If I’m working on a boat is it legal for them to leave me in a nother place that’s not home port or my home state? Like leaving someone stranded?
I’m not in the situation, just asking cuz I’m heard stories.

IIRC, there’s a legal requirement for the employer to repatriate you if you’re foreign but if you’re in the US they can leave you anywhere. It comes down to your contractual agreements with the employer.


You’re required to return them to the point of hire in the US if you terminate them.

If they quit, you can drop them off anywhere with transportation service to the point of hire.

On domestic USA tug/ATB trips, time is money. You go ashore and come back late or not at all knowing the sailing time, and not injured/or medical condition… not good ,We all hate delays, but I will look for you the first time, shit happens…I will sail without you if I have to look for you twice. The only free trip after that is to our HR office, wherever that may be… The crew sailing shorthanded will be almost happy to share your pay., I would make sure of that… …

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I’m not even allowed off the boat at the company I work for

Where is that stated? legally?

With respect to US domestic vessels operating within the US:

There are laws (which a seaman usually cannot afford to pay a lawyer to enforce, if he wins, years later) that require that the seaman be transported back to the place of hire. Then there is what companies actually do.

These laws sometimes have loopholes that let the employer off the hook for transport if the seaman quits or is fired for good cause.

Most companies with level headed owners or managers will provide a fired, quit, missed sailing, seaman with transportation either back to the point of hire or home. They do not leave seamen stranded at remote ports. That is a really stupid thing for a company to do.

Some companies may deduct the cost of transportation home from the seaman’s last paycheck. That might, or might not, be in strict compliance with the law depending upon the circumstances.

Sometimes there are hot headed captains or managers at otherwise good companies that get emotional and want to treat the seaman as poorly as they possibly can.

There are bad companies that are just cheap and do not want to spend a penny on a fired, quit, missed the boat seamen. They may refuse to provide transport.

Alaska, has a law that requires the company to provide employees brought into the state with transportation back out of the state (there are exceptions for employees fired for serious misconduct). And there are local officials that don’t care about the exceptions and demand that the employer provide transport, or else.

A company that strands seamen in remote ports invites litigation about wrongful termination, injuries, discrimination, harassment, etc. A smart owner or manager (or an owner that at least listens to his attorneys) wants employees to leave the company on the best terms possible under the circumstances.

A company that strands employees in remote ports damages crew moral (so that’s how they’ll treat me), and the company reputation in the industry and community. The stranded crewman will be on gcaptain, Facebook, and elsewhere trashing the company.

Put another way, providing transportation home and saying “I’m sorry things didn’t work out” with a smile and a handshake is cheap insurance against bigger problems. Captains should also keep this in mind too.

My advice to domestic US seamen is simple: don’t leave home without money and credit cards for meals, lodging and airfare to either get home, or cover your expenses until you find your next job.


Yes, I’m specifically talking about quitting/being fired not desertion or failure to join. The vessel is under no obligation to delay sailing for you, be back on time.


“it would have been a rare thing anyhow for an official to come upon an idea that is not provided for in the regulations.” - B. Traven, The Death Ship

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WIG craft, MASS vessels, companies providing service letters,… should I go on?


If you are on articles, there will be stipulations about place of discharge. HOWEVER, and this is big, if you are fired for cause you are essentially SOL on a Great Lakes or inland/river trip.

I sense you are sea-lawyering a bit here. Don’t get fired, don’t miss the boat, don’t try and argue with your supervisor. Simple…then complete your hitch, get transported back to where you started and call it good. You started posting not even a month ago and ask a question that seems rather pointed for a new guy. Sure, knowledge is good but you can also Google the CFRs and find the answer.

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Do you know where that is stated legally? In the cfr?

I am new but I also don’t want to get taken advantage of, which is what is seems a lot of these salty people will do. With no regard for your safety or security. The more information I have the better.

Otherwise I’m up shits creek without a paddle.

Sailing short handed? What does the COI say with regards to manning? I can’t sail short handed on my vessel, it would be in violation of the COI.

Of course you can sail short handed. You just notify the USCG that you’re sailing short and you’ll replace them before you leave the next port.


Hmm. I didn’t know that.

Then again I’m not on an unlimited vessel.

We’re sailing shorthanded now. We’re a man short. They don’t care. Supposed to be 5. We have 4.

And actually, per the regulations, you notify them within 12 hours of reaching the next port. (After the fact). Still a good idea to do it before though as a courtesy.

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On one occasion the mate went ashore, and did not return on time. He was a reknown bar hopper but a decent fellow to work with. He was well overdue for sailing time. We checked with police, hospitals, etc. Asked tankermen to slow the discharge a bit to give him time.Still, no mate, had to sail as I had a green AB/Mate to cover. Ran slow departing Mobile as I got a phone call from a cab he was in ,surprised we had left. Told him jump on the pilot boat and we will get you at pilot exchange. Called office that we were expecting him, but hadn’t heard from him or the pilot boat. Office said he is scheduled on a plane to headquarters, never heard from him again. I tried to cover his ass, didn’t work out…