In admiralty cases, litigants are entitled to a trial by the court except in some circumstances. In an action tried by a jury, reference to a master may be made, when the issues are complicated. Burden of proof always rests on the party who has an affirmative issue. The party has to prove the issue by a preponderance of the evidence.
Although a defendant is entitled to a jury trial of its counterclaims, s/he cannot obtain a jury trial by asserting a non admiralty defense. In a nonadmiralty action, a plaintiff is entitled to jury trial; the court can decide the admiralty defense while the remainder of the case is tried to a jury.
Rules promulgated by the Supreme Court prescribe the allowance and taxation of costs in admiralty and maritime cases. In the absence of an express provision to the contrary in either a statute of the United States or the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the costs other than attorney’s fees must be allowed to the prevailing party unless the court otherwise directs.