A Leading Cause of Maritime Injuries: Fatigue.

A boat at sea

You might be surprised to learn that a leading cause of maritime industry injuries is not slippery decks, bad weather, or falling overboard.

It’s fatigue.

The Maritime Industry and Its Dangers

Working at sea, on the rivers, or in the shipyards can be very dangerous. It cannot be denied that the maritime industry is an important one. It provides hundreds of necessary and well-paid jobs. But it’s also undeniable that working on riverboats or ships, and in ports, or in and around the docks, is dangerous, dirty, work.

Many workplace injuries that occur in the fishing and shipping industries are more than just bad: they are frequently fatal. Maritime employees face dangers from bad weather, rolling ships, unpredictable currents, and water levels, collisions, falls overboard navigational errors, and incidents involving shipboard equipment.

While accidents can be caused by many things, one of the leading causes of maritime injuries is fatigue.

Most maritime workers typically work a 12-16 hour day. In addition to long hours, rolling ships, and poorly maintained equipment, the work that most maritime employees are required to do—whether it is loading and unloading cargo, piloting a vessel, or processing fish—is physically demanding. As a result, job fatigue is a constant and dangerous condition of working in this industry.

But fatigue among sailors and other maritime employees is nothing new. In fact, the industry has been plagued by chronic fatigue for years.


Well, for one thing, the maritime industry (shipping in particular) generally operates on a 24/7 schedule. Another contributing factor is under-manning. Smaller boats that enter several ports in a short period of time often do not have more than 2 watchkeepers. This means long hours and little to no sleep for the crew of these ships.

Chronic sleep deprivation leads to mistakes and crewmen putting themselves and others in danger.  For example, studies report that 1 in 4 crewmen admit to having fallen asleep while on watch. In several cases, this has lead to collisions and ships running to the ground.

Studies show that the effects of chronic fatigue on a person are worse than being drunk. Lack of sleep can be very dangerous for maritime workers.

Dangerous Working Conditions Can Lead to Accidents.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a maritime accident, call us. We are maritime attorneys in Louisiana. We offer FREE consultations, and in most cases, we don’t get paid unless you win. We have offices in Baton Rouge, and we serve all of Southern Louisiana. Call (225) 465-1232 ToDay to schedule your free consultation or contact us here.

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