Maritime law is jurisprudence made law which is derived from the cases which have been decided by courts over a long period of time. Whereas many laws can be found as a federal or state statute which is actually passed into law by congress, maritime law has developed based upon century old fundamental principles governing the laws of the city. There is no “statute” which fully explains all of the details of maritime law. Instead, an individual must simply study these cases and holdings in order to obtain an understanding of maritime law.
Maritime law applies to any injury which occurs on navigable waterways. This includes all of the traditional large bodies of water such as the Gulf of Mexico as well as the rivers of the United States. It also includes lakes as well as even smaller recreational lakes as long as vessels are capable of navigating on such bodies of water.