Jurisdiction Over Structures Attached to Land, Wharves, Docks, Piers, and Bridges

In admiralty jurisdiction, a structure attached to land is not considered a vessel, even if it floats or extends into or spans over water.  Therefore, it is clear that admiralty jurisdiction does not reach injuries to a structure attached to land.[i] Similarly, wharves, docks, piers, and bridges are considered extensions of the land and not as vessels.

Admiralty jurisdiction has not been construed to extend to accidents on piers, jetties, bridges, or even ramps or railways running into the sea.  The Admiralty Extension Act was passed to solve the problems of the aggrieved parties as a result of injuries caused by ships to bridges, docks.[ii]

However, the jurisdiction of admiralty courts over a maritime tort does not depend on the wrong committed on board a vessel.  It depends upon the fact of whether the wrong was committed on the high seas or other navigable waters.[iii]

[i] Kohlasch v. New York State Thruway Authority, 460 F. Supp. 956 (S.D.N.Y. 1978)

[ii] Adams v. Harris County, 452 F.2d 994 (5th Cir. Tex. 1971)

[iii] London Guarantee & Acci. Co. v. Industrial Acci. Com., 279 U.S. 109 (U.S. 1929)


Inside Jurisdiction Over Structures Attached to Land, Wharves, Docks, Piers, and Bridges