Maritime Laws in Houston

Water Laws

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January 2017

Houston Law Blog Looking Into United Airlines Issue

The recent violent eviction of a paying passenger of United Airlines continues to electrify news coverage around the world and Houston law is not an exception. Their was clearly no accidental injuries involved in this particular case. For example, a popular blog by Mary Flood underscores the need to look into United’s terms of service for passengers in order to determine if the airline company had any right to evict a passenger by force.

In underscoring the need to examine the fine print of the commercial carrier’s culpability regarding possibly violating the rights of paying passengers–Houston law has set the tone for other American cities’ law associations to think in unison. While the United passenger did not sustain any life-threatening injuries, the April 12 Houston law blog also mentioned that a Manhattan law clerk leaped to his or her death from the tenth floor of an office building.

These developments merely underscore the unpredictability of circumstances. For example, although one of US president Donald Trump’s campaign promises was to crack down on illegal immigration, no one really saw the executive order regarding a massive travel ban coming. It’s a lesson for all legal bodies across America and the entire world.

Despite the serious disruption of US travel caused by widespread constraints for people traveling to America, an important silver lining has emerged. Concerted action among American legal entities and civil rights groups proved that the nation could pass the test of democracy with flying colors. In particular, the American principle of checks and balances worked like a charm for all the world’s countries to witness.

In the final analysis, current events tend to be the acid test of democracy in action and the rule of law. Lawmakers need not be very afraid of recent developments and must instead learn to embrace breaking news with open arms. Just as Benjamin Franklin once said, there is nothing certain in life except death and taxes.

Even the United Nations is not exempt from the concerned if not the concerted action of lawmakers. The time has come to ponder the legality of laying charges against Syria in relation to the recent isolated usage of biological warfare against innocent children. Evidence, the staple of law in action, will be required to resolve if indeed the Assad regime was responsible for gassing its own people or was it a frame-up as the Russians had alleged.



Tips for Choosing a Good Admiralty Divorce Attorney

Divorce AttorneyFor a lot of people, divorce is something they try not to think of. When you get married, you expect the best. However, when two people begin to grow apart, they no longer belong to each other, and a divorce is imminent. Going through a divorce could be one of the toughest moments you ever experience in your life. If you feel powerless and emotionally distressed due to the dissolution of your marriage, it is time to seek professional help from a tampa divorce attorney.

First of all, when filing for a divorce, you will have to deal with a lot of legal issues that may be just too overwhelming for you to handle. Without the help of a professional lawyer, you may not have the energy to put it together and get back on your own feet. The more prolonged a divorce case becomes, the more exhausted the involved people will feel. Therefore, once you realize there is nothing left in the relationship and it is time to move on with your life, you should try to make your divorce go through as fast and peacefully as possible.

With the help of Admiralty attorneys, you could reach satisfactory settlements in a short period of time and move on with your life. Your attorney will help you negotiate different terms with your partner, and maybe end the bitter fight that you two are going through. In many divorce cases, the division of monetary assets and child support arrangement could make things go from bad to worse. When you have presentation, you can stay civil and let your lawyer handle the rest.

Choosing the right Admiralty attorneys is also very important. Since the attorney will represent you in court, he will determine whether you will win the case or not. Before you decide to hire anyone, make sure you spend enough time researching that person. You can ask your friends and relatives for references, but make sure you do your own research to double-check everything.



The Basics of Maritime law

Society is about rules and every area has its own set. Maritime law is the set of rules set up to encourage basic etiquette on the water as well as establish penalties for disobeying the rules of the sea. However, a major difference between regular law and the maritime version is that the latter is a codified version of a long-standing set of etiquette that mariners have found works more often than not. While there are a number of modifications added in order to allow for modern technology, it is very likely that an ancient mariner would recognize the rules in play.

Houston Boating Laws

The laws have to allow first and foremost for the difference between freshwater, seawater, and the open seas. Laws involving water need to allow for the differences between environments as each has its own issues; after all, a boat driver has more control over the vehicle on a lake than in the sea and that loss of control has implications that need to be allowed. Recognition of lack of control is also represented in the right of way between different kinds of vessels, such as sailboats versus powered vessels; sailors respect the sea and how hard it is to control for the variables one may encounter while sailing.

There is also the issue that it is hard to tell precisely where one border ends and another starts even in the age of global positioning satellites. This is primarily a matter of jurisdiction between various branches of law enforcement as laws may change between jurisdictions over a number of different topics, and so part of the law has to address potential jurisdiction issues, especially when a vessel may constantly shift between different them. The literal fluidity between jurisdictions is a matter of treaty even between two counties and is a reality that makes enforcement of maritime law a nightmare for some officials.

Most of the laws are a matter of solidified courtesy. As the rules have been established as a matter of courtesy and most officials are willing to allow that; a group that makes its own rules also tends to enforce those rules making it easier on all parties involved. This means that the laws actually provide an element of firmness in an environment that may change at a moment’s notice; everyone knows where they stand. This creates a beautiful tradition that solidifies the community of sailors, and one that everyone has a voice in as they all have an interest in the laws, making it an interesting compromise between officials and civilians.



An Overview of Houston Boating Laws

Houston Boating LawsJust like in all other counties, the enactment of Houston boating laws is reserved to the state. To enforce the regulations of the Water Safety Act, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department certified officers may stop, board, or inspect marine vessels within Houston. This overview details the major laws to be observed when operating a vessel within Houston waters.

Houston boat laws regulate both commercial motorboats and personal water-crafts. Regardless of the length, all motorized boats must be registered and bear a title. This regulation also applies to all sailboats longer than 14 feet and those with auxiliary engines. The Houston tax office is responsible for the registration and issuing of titles for trailers. Application forms for documented vessels are also available online.

On the other hand, no person is allowed to operate a personal watercraft at night or within 50 feet of other vessels except at headway speed. Operators of vessels less than 39.4 feet long are required to carry a sound producing device such as a whistle. Any vessel longer than this should have a bell on-board in addition to the whistle. Additionally, operators of personal water-crafts are prohibited from jumping recklessly to the wake of another vessel. Additionally, no person should operate a boat to create a dangerous wash or wake.

Houston law agencies require all vessels with closed compartments or double bottoms to be equipped with fire extinguishers. Only outboard boats of less than 26 feet in total length are exempted from this regulation. Houston boating laws also require motorboats exceeding 39.4 feet in length to have white lights visible at a distance not less than two miles. Boats between 40 and 60 feet long must also be installed with red and green sidelights.

It is unlawful to operate a boat within 50 feet of another vessel that bears a flag of diver down, marking an area where a person is snorkeling or scuba diving. Operators are also prohibited from operating a vessel at speeds necessary for maintaining steerage way. Additionally, Houston law enforcement agencies prohibit operators from towing a person on water skis or surfboards. However, this law is exempted to vessels used in competitions, exhibitions, aquaplanes, or ski tournaments.

Personal water-crafts and Class A through Class 3 boats must be ventilated except boats of open construction. All motorboats must also have a muffler or an exhaust water manifold. The Texas Commission of Environmental Quality requires that any boat with a marine sanitation device to have a sanitation certification, which must always be displayed. It is prohibited to possess or offer for sell any vessel with a hull identification number. Boat identification numbers must be painted well on the side of the boat in block letters, reading from left to right.

In case a boat is involved in an accident, the operator must stop and render any possible assistance provided this does not endanger his live, crew or the passengers. The operator must also issue a written document showing his name, address and boat identification number to the injured person. Failing to observe these regulations in an accident that involves death is punishable as felony. If the procedures are not followed in an accident that does not result in death or adverse bodily harm is punishable as a misdemeanor.

To ensure adherence to these regulations, the Commission on Environmental Quality adopts rules to administer boater education programs. The commission is also in charge of boater education courses and equivalency examinations. Included in the education program is information on how to clean the boat, the boat motor, trailer, fishing equipment, and all other equipment used in boating. This prevents the spread of harmful elements to aquatic fish, shellfish and plants.




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