A Quick Guide to the Jones Act

Were you aware that the Jones Act has been in effect since the 1920’s?

The formal name is the Merchant Marine Act of 1920 but over time it became known as the Jones Act.

This is one of the most important laws about transportation here in the United States. Keep reading to learn more about the Jones Act.

A Guide to the Jones Act

If you’re not aware the Jones Act maritime is a federal law that protects anyone that’s injured while they are busy working at sea. This is the most commonly used law to recover damages in case of an accident. 


The reason the Jones Act went into effect was to stimulate the shipping industry when World War I was starting. The act at the time increased the shipping costs for the states and other United States Territories. 

Specific Requirements

In order for a vessel to qualify as a Jones Act vessel, it has to be built in the United States, crewed by a minimum of 75% American sailors, and it has to be at least 75% owned by United States citizens.

The reason for these requirements is to create a reliable shipping industry that supports commerce. The requirements also are in place for the vessels to serve as a military auxiliary during a national emergency or if a war occurs.

Economy Helper

The Jones Act believe it or not helps produce positive income for the United States every year. American jobs in the maritime industry are high paying for the American people. The graduates in the field have a high earning annual salary as well.

Temporary Waivers

Once in a while, there are temporary waivers signed for short periods of time. This is usually the case during national emergencies such as hurricanes. 

The reason the temporary waivers happen is to increase the number of ships that can legally bring goods to an area affected by a natural disaster.


The Jones Act doesn’t come without controversy. Like every other law in place, there are supporters and opponents.

It has critics because it restricts who is able to conduct trades with Puerto Rico. Those that are against the act want it gone because they feel it will decrease shipping costs and it will also put a lower strain on the budgets the government has.


Those that support the Jones Act feel that the United States needs it for national security. They also feel that it helps the economy and gives people stable jobs. Those that are in the ship-building industry find themselves with steady work thanks to the Jones Act.

Have You Been Affected by the Jones Act? 

The long history of the Jones Act might have affected you or someone you know at some point. Have you been affected by it? Comment below how it has affected you.

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Gloria Kopp

Gloria Kopp is a web content writer and an elearning consultant from Manville city. She graduated from University of Wyoming and started a career of a creative writer. She has recently launched her Studydemic educational website and is currently working as a freelance writer and editor.