The Most Common Types of Maritime Accidents and Injuries

While working in the maritime industry can be an exciting and lucrative career path, it’s also riddled with hazards that can lead to numerous accidents and injuries. For workers aboard ships, offshore platforms, and those who are involved in transport, it’s essential to be aware of the risks.

Falling Overboard

One of the most dangerous maritime accidents that can occur at sea is a person falling overboard. It can happen for various reasons, such as poor weather conditions, crew fatigue, or insufficient safety measures in place. Falling overboard can lead to severe injuries, including drowning, hypothermia, head trauma, or even death. To minimize these risks, proper training and the use of life-saving equipment like personal flotation devices and lifelines are essential.

Slip and Falls

Slip and fall accidents are prevalent in the maritime industry due to the nature of the work environment. Wet and slippery surfaces, poor lighting, and lack of handrails become potential causes for these accidents. 

Depending on the severity, slip, and fall injuries can result in anything from minor bruises to fractures and head injuries. Implementing regular maintenance and proper lighting can help reduce these accidents.

Chemical Burns

Working with hazardous materials is common for maritime workers, and mishandling these substances may lead to chemical burns. Lack of proper protective equipment, inadequate training, or unsafe storage practices can cause these accidents. Chemical burns are painful and can result in permanent scarring or disfigurement. 

Repetitive Use Injuries

The repetitive nature of many maritime jobs can cause chronic pain and injuries due to constant stress on certain body parts. This may include tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and muscle strains. Providing ergonomic equipment and proper job rotation can help minimize the risk of repetitive use injuries.

Equipment Accidents

Heavy machinery and equipment are an integral part of the daily operations in the maritime industry. However, if not properly maintained, inspected, and operated, these machines can become significant hazards. 

Equipment accidents can lead to crush injuries, fractures, amputations, and even fatalities. Ensuring proper maintenance, training, and adherence to safety protocols are crucial in preventing these accidents.

Toxic Fumes

Maritime workers are often exposed to toxic fumes either due to enclosed working environments, cargo carried on ships, or fuel combustion byproducts. Long-term exposure to these fumes can result in respiratory diseases, poisoning, and other illnesses. 

Head Injuries

Falling objects or striking against ship structures can lead to head injuries in the maritime industry. These accidents may result in concussions, brain damage, or even death. Providing adequate training on proper storage, securing cargo, and wearing protective gear like hard hats can help prevent head injuries.

Broken Bones

Broken bones are a common result of maritime accidents. They usually occur from falls or boat accidents. Timely medical intervention and rehabilitation are essential for ensuring proper healing and preventing long-term damage.


An amputation is an injury in which a person loses a limb or extremity, either partially or completely. While the thought of such a traumatic event might seem like something reserved for intense action movies, amputations are actually one of the most common types of maritime injuries. One of the primary causes of amputations at sea is heavy machinery and equipment malfunction. 

The Importance of Hiring a Lawyer After a Maritime Injury

Maritime law is a highly specialized area of law that deals with both domestic and international regulations. This complexity can make even the most experienced litigators hesitate to dive into these legal matters. One of the main challenges in filing a maritime injury claim is identifying the applicable laws and jurisdiction. 

A maritime lawyer has a deep understanding of various legal codes, such as the Jones Act, Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA), and international conventions governing seafarers’ rights, ensuring that your case is pursued in the right forum and respects your rights as an injured maritime worker.

For help after a maritime injury, contact us to schedule a free consultation.