Title 46 of the United States Code

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Title 46 of the United States Code, titled "Shipping, outlines the federal laws contained within the United States Code that pertain to the shipping industry. It was gradually codified into the Positive Law of the United States, with partial codifications being enacted in the years 1988, 2002, and 2003. [1] [2] The title was fully codified into the Positive Law on October 6, 2006, when then-President George W. Bush signed Public Law 109-304 into law. [3]


Portions of the U.S.C. labeled "transferred" have been moved to another title of the United States code either via an Act of Congress or by the Office of the Law Revision Counsel. The size of chapters of law vary - some contain several sections (such as 46 U.S.C. Ch. 51, which contains 16 sections), [4] and some contain just a few (such as 46 U.S.C. Ch. 141, which contains just 4 sections). [5]

Outline of title 46

Title 46

Subtitle I — General

Subtitle I

Subtitle II — Vessels and Seamen

Subtitle II

Subtitle III — Maritime Liability

Subtitle III

Subtitle IV — Regulation of Ocean Shipping

Subtitle IV

Subtitle V — Merchant Marine

Subtitle V

Subtitle VI — Clearance, Tonnage Taxes, and Duties

Subtitle VI

Subtitle VII — Security and Drug Enforcement

Subtitle VII

Subtitle VIII — Miscellaneous

Subtitle VIII

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Maritime transport</span> Transport of people or goods via waterways

Maritime transport or more generally waterborne transport, is the transport of people (passengers) or goods (cargo) via waterways. Freight transport by sea has been widely used throughout recorded history. The advent of aviation has diminished the importance of sea travel for passengers, though it is still popular for short trips and pleasure cruises. Transport by water is cheaper than transport by air or ground, but significantly slower for longer distances. Maritime transport accounts for roughly 80% of international trade, according to UNCTAD in 2020.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">United States Merchant Marine</span> U.S. civilian mariners

The United States Merchant Marine is composed of United States civilian mariners and U.S. civilian and federally owned merchant vessels. Both the civilian mariners and the merchant vessels are managed by a combination of the government and private sectors, and engage in commerce or transportation of goods and services in and out of the navigable waters of the United States. The Merchant Marine primarily transports domestic and international cargo and passengers during peacetime, and operate and maintain deep-sea merchant ships, tugboats, towboats, ferries, dredges, excursion vessels, charter boats and other waterborne craft on the oceans, the Great Lakes, rivers, canals, harbors, and other waterways. In times of war, the Merchant Marine can be an auxiliary to the United States Navy, and can be called upon to deliver military personnel and materiel for the military.

The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) is an international maritime treaty that sets minimum safety standards in the construction, equipment and operation of merchant ships. The International Maritime Organization convention requires signatory flag states to ensure that ships flagged by them comply with at least these standards.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Merchant Marine Act of 1920</span> US federal law

The Merchant Marine Act of 1920 is a United States federal statute that provides for the promotion and maintenance of the American merchant marine. Among other purposes, the law regulates maritime commerce in U.S. waters and between U.S. ports. Section 27 of the Merchant Marine Act is known as the Jones Act and deals with cabotage. It requires that all goods transported by water between U.S. ports be carried on ships that have been constructed in the United States and that fly the U.S. flag, are owned by U.S. citizens, and are crewed by U.S. citizens and U.S. permanent residents. The act was introduced by Senator Wesley Jones. The law also defines certain seaman's rights.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Short-sea shipping</span> Movement of cargo and passengers by sea along a coast, without crossing an ocean

The modern terms short-sea shipping, marine highway, and motorways of the sea, and the more historical terms coastal trade, coastal shipping, coasting trade, and coastwise trade, all encompass the movement of cargo and passengers mainly by sea along a coast, without crossing an ocean.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Federal Maritime Commission</span> Independent U.S. government agency

The United States Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) is an independent federal agency based in Washington, D.C., that is responsible for the regulation of oceanborne international transportation of the U.S. It is chaired by Daniel B. Maffei.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">United States Coast Guard Legal Division</span>

The Coast Guard Judge Advocate General oversees the delivery of legal services to the United States Coast Guard, through the Office of the Judge Advocate General in Washington, the Legal Service Command, offices in the Atlantic and Pacific Areas, nine Coast Guard Districts, the Coast Guard Academy, three training centers, and a number of other activities and commands. Legal services are delivered by Coast Guard judge advocates and civilian counsel in ten legal practice areas: criminal law/military justice, operations, international activities, civil advocacy, environmental law, procurement law, internal organizational law, regulations and administrative law, legislative support and legal assistance.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">United States Maritime Service</span>

The United States Maritime Service (USMS) was established in 1938 under the provisions of the Merchant Marine Act of 1936 as voluntary training organization to train individuals to become officers and crewmembers on merchant ships that form the United States Merchant Marine per 46 U.S.C. § 51701. Heavily utilized during World War II, the USMS was largely dissolved in 1954, and its resources were absorbed into other federal departments. However, while the service is no longer structurally organized, remnants of the service still exist today and the service still actively commissions officers to function as administrators and instructors at the United States Merchant Marine Academy and the state maritime academies.

The Seamen's Act, formally known as Act to Promote the Welfare of American Seamen in the Merchant Marine of the United States or Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act, was designed to improve the safety and security of United States seamen and eliminate shanghaiing.

Title 10 of the United States Code outlines the role of armed forces in the United States Code. It provides the legal basis for the roles, missions and organization of each of the services as well as the United States Department of Defense. Each of the five subtitles deals with a separate aspect or component of the armed services.

Title 14 of the United States Code is a positive law title of the United States Code concerning the United States Coast Guard.

Title 49 of the United States Code is a positive law title of the United States Code with the heading "Transportation."

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Able seaman</span> Unlicensed member of the deck department of ship

An able seaman (AB) is a seaman and member of the deck department of a merchant ship with more than two years' experience at sea and considered "well acquainted with his duty". An AB may work as a watchstander, a day worker, or a combination of these roles. Once a sufficient amount of sea time is acquired, then the AB can apply to take a series of courses/examinations to become certified as an officer.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Licensed mariner</span> Sailor who holds a license from a maritime authority to hold senior officer-level positions

A licensed mariner is a sailor who holds a license from a maritime authority to hold senior officer-level positions aboard ships, boats, and similar vessels. Qualification standards for licensed mariners are universally set by the STCW Convention adopted and promulgated by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), while the licenses of individual sailors are issued by the delegated maritime authorities of the member states of the IMO; these may vary in the details of the implementation, including the government agency responsible for licensing and the local names of the grades and qualifications in each particular country.

The maritime history of the United States is a broad theme within the history of the United States. As an academic subject, it crosses the boundaries of standard disciplines, focusing on understanding the United States' relationship with the oceans, seas, and major waterways of the globe. The focus is on merchant shipping, and the financing and manning of the ships. A merchant marine owned at home is not essential to an extensive foreign commerce. In fact, it may be cheaper to hire other nations to handle the carrying trade than to participate in it directly. On the other hand, there are certain advantages, particularly during time of war, which may warrant an aggressive government encouragement to the maintenance of a merchant marine.

Sector Commander is the position title of the commanding officer of a United States Coast Guard Sector, usually of the rank of Captain (O-6). The Sector Commander's second-in-command is the Deputy Sector Commander. Also reporting directly to the Sector Commander are the Command Master Chief (CMC), the Senior Reserve Officer, and the Sector's Auxiliary Coordinator.

The United States merchant marine forces matured during the maritime history of the United States (1900–1999).

The Cargo Preference Act or Cargo Preference refers generally to legal requirements for the carriage of government-impelled cargoes on the vessels flagged within the registry of that government for the purpose of promoting a national merchant marine. Cargo Preference is commonplace among the world's seafaring nations, including Australia, Brazil, France, Japan, Taiwan.

A master mariner is a licensed mariner who holds the highest grade of seafarer qualification; namely, an unlimited master's license. Such a license is labelled unlimited because it has no limits on the tonnage, power, or geographic location of the vessel that the holder of the license is allowed to serve upon. A master mariner would therefore be allowed to serve as the master of a merchant ship of any size, of any type, operating anywhere in the world, and it reflects the highest level of professional qualification amongst mariners and deck officers.

Title 54 of the United States Code, entitled National Park Service and Related Programs, is the compilation of the general laws regarding the National Park Service. It is the newest title in the United States Code, added on December 19, 2014, when U.S. President Barack Obama signed H.R. 1068 into law. It has three subtitles:


  1. Committee, House Judiciary. "H. Rept. 108-690 - CODIFICATION OF TITLE 46, UNITED STATES CODE, ``SHIPPING, AS POSITIVE LAW". Congress.gov. Retrieved June 12, 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. "TITLE 46—SHIPPING: Amendments". govinfo.gov. U.S. Government Publishing Office. Retrieved June 12, 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. James, Sensenbrenner F. "H.R.1442 - To complete the codification of title 46, United States Code, "Shipping", as positive law". Congress.gov. Retrieved June 12, 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. "46 U.S. Code Chapter 51 - LOAD LINES". LII / Legal Information Institute. Retrieved 2023-06-12.
  5. "46 U.S. Code Chapter 141 - GENERAL". LII / Legal Information Institute. Retrieved 2023-06-12.