If my cruise ship accident happened on a lake, what law will apply to my claim, state law or federal maritime law?
That’s a very interesting question, and comes up quite a bit here in Florida. It will all depend on whether the lake is what’s known as a navigable waterway. A navigable waterway allows access to an ocean. If you are in a landlocked lake, then state law, not general maritime law will apply your cause of action. If you are on a waterway that has a connection with, or access to an open body of water, such as Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico, or the Pacific Ocean, then your accident has occurred on navigable waters, and the general maritime law will apply.