Tag Archives: admiralty law

Admiralty Law Supports Liability Waiver in New Jersey Parasail Case

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By Doyice Cotten

The Olmos and their two sons signed up for a parasailing trip. While on the boat traveling out of the inlet, Dina Olmo shifted her sitting position just as the boat hit a wave, lifting her into the air. When she landed she felt “a stabbing pain at the bottom of [her] back.”The boat immediately returned to the dock and she was taken to the hospital. The two sons remained to continue with their parasailing trip.

Interesting Ruling by a Hawaii Court as to Enforcement of Admiralty Law Waivers

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By Doyice Cotten

Admiralty law applied in a recent Hawaii case in which a man died during a scuba dive trip (Hambrook v. Smith, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 109484). Hambrook drowned, at least in part, due to negligence on the part of the boat owner and its dive instructor. Suit was filed naming the owner, dive instructor, and Padi Worldwide Corporation as defendants. The defendants relied on a liability waiver signed by the deceased.

Hawaii Case Illustrates Why Admiralty Law Can be Important to Recreation Providers

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By Doyice Cotten
Mark Strickert took his wife and two children on a snorkeling trip. He and his wife signed waivers on behalf of themselves and their children. The trip consisted of six scuba divers and six snorkelers (including the four Strickerts), two crew members and Mr. Neal (the party in charge) who stayed on the boat while the others entered the water. At some point the weather worsened causing extremely high winds and large waves. Neal signaled the snorkelers and divers to return to the boat.

Hawaii Statute Prohibiting Waivers Enforced in Scuba Case

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By Doyice Cotten

In a recent ruling, the U.S. District Court of Hawaii ruled that a liability waiver could not protect a scuba diving business from liability for negligence (Hambrook v. Smith, 2015). William Savage died while scuba diving with Hawaiian Scuba Shack; his wife, Sandra Hambrook filed suit against the company as well as PADI.

Savage had signed a liability waiver which the plaintiff claimed was unenforceable against public policy because it violated a state statute prohibiting liability waivers in recreational activities.

Admiralty Law Trumps GOL 5-326 Statute in NY Jet Boat Waiver Case

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Admiralty Law Trumps GOL 5-326 Statute in NY Jet Boat Waiver Case

By Doyice Cotten

In New York, liability waivers relieving a service provider of liability for its own negligence are generally enforceable, with a few exceptions. One major exception is New York General Obligations Law § 5-326, which provides:

Every covenant, agreement or understanding in or in connection with, or collateral to, any contract, membership application, ticket of admission or similar writing,

Admiralty Law: How does it Relate to Recreation Waivers?

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 By Doyice Cotten

Black’s Law Dictionary defines Admiralty law (also called Maritime Law) as “that system of law that particularly relates to marine commerce and navigation, to business transacted at sea or relating to navigation, to ships and shipping, to seamen, to the transportation of persons and property by sea, and to marine affairs generally.”

One might ask “What does admiralty law have to do with sport, recreation, and fitness liability waivers?” It is important to understand that admiralty law applies to activities on any navigable waterway (e.g.,

Risk Management: Cruise Ship Precautions for Jet Ski Tour

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By Doyice Cotten

In a case involving a collision between two jet skis during a jet ski tour provided by Royal Caribbean Cruises (Royal), Royal listed the risk management steps taken in an effort to prevent injuries ( In re Royal Caribbean Cruises, LTD, 2013).  The tour consisted of a number of jet skiers in a single file follow-the-leader type tour. Providers of all sport businesses would do well to study these steps and adapt them to their sport business.

Lake Tahoe Parasailing Waiver Case Governed by Federal Admiralty Law

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By Doyice Cotten

A lady was injured while parasailing on Lake Tahoe and sued alleging negligence by the provider (Cobb v. Aramark Sports and Entertainment Services, LLC, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20139).  Prior to beginning the activity, she signed the following liability waiver intended to protect the provider from liability for injuries caused by provider negligence.

In consideration of my being allowed to participate in the parasailing  [*2] activities operated and conducted by [Zephyr],