Jones act

Does anyone know where I can find the literature spelled out in the Jones Act concerning injuries/illnesses aboard vessels. I keep finding pages online of people explaining what is said, however I want the black and white rules without lawyers giving examples or explanations

I am only guessing here, but the “Jones Act” is in the law “somewhere”.

Congressional Research Service
Shipping Under the Jones Act:
Legislative and Regulatory Background
The Jones Act, which refers to Section 27 of the Merchant Marine Act of 1920 (P.L. 66-

Maybe you can read Section 27 of the Merchant Marine Act of 1920 for clues.

It’s my suspicion that you won’t find a detailed answer to your specific question. My simplified take on any matter of law is that the real application comes from case law over time. Each time the “law” is interpreted and applied builds history, and this history influences future applications.

Good luck!

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It’s not in a single place, and has probably been modified since it was first passed. It’s scattered throughout 46 US Code. Those “pages online of people explaining what is said” will have cites to the relevant statutes.

Also, if you want to understand the effect and implementation, you need to look at the “examples or explanations.” The statute tells you what it says. The “examples” (adjudicated cases) tell you what it means. They are equally important to understanding the law. A good example is what/who is a “Jones Act seaman.” That has been almost continuosuly evolving. You will not get a useful answer unless you look at recent case law.

If you really want to know what it means, see “Norris” aka The Law of Seamen.


sure, I understand your need for the exact text of the Jones Act regarding injuries/illnesses on vessels. You can find the complete and official text of the Jones Act on the official website of the U.S. Government Printing Office or the Congressional Research Service. These sources provide the black and white rules without any additional explanations or interpretations

That will give you the Act as it was when it was passed 100 years ago. It’s been modified. You need to look at the current statutes. I’m not sure there is much value in the text of an act from 100 years ago that has been codified, re-codified, and revised since then. But, if you still go this route, look for the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, rather than “Jones Act.”

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Schoenbaum’s Admiralty and Maritime Law, 6th Ed.

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Not bad, but Norris is probably better for seaman protection and relief. But, both Norris and Schoenbaum are just “lawyers giving examples or explanations” and not the text of the original 100-year old Act,which is as useful to understanding the current law as the Laws of Oleron.