Lamothe Riverboat Attorney

New Orleans River Boat Injury Attorneys

We represent the injured seaman in many capacities.

Lamothe Law Firm handles claims where individuals are injured many times while making or breaking tow or working with heavy equipment or defective equipment or due to navigation errors.


Deckhands on tug boats assist in the loading and transfer of equipment onto and from the vessel. They are responsible for tying off vessels when they are docked. Their primary duties are to make and break tow. A typical tow arrangement is three across and five long for a total of fifteen barges. They also perform a variety of tasks which include but are not limited to standard housekeeping duties, painting, chipping, transferring rigging, vessel maintenance, fuel transfers and cooking. These duties are performed in all types of weather, day and night, while the vessel is underway. Deckhands must be capable of lifting or moving objects that are heavy and awkward. Deckhands work under the supervision of the vessel Captain or Mate and live, eat and work aboard the vessel. They are the most frequently injured river boat worker. This many times occurs during making or breaking tow. Deckhands are usually considered Jones Act seamen.


Captains or pilots are responsible for the safe and efficient operation and performance of the crew and vessel. The captain/pilot must also strive to see that company policy rules and regulations are followed. He should be conducting monthly drills and safety meeting in accordance with policies and procedures. He is responsible for the safe transfer of cargo and personnel on and off the boat. He should insure that work is completed in accordance with company safety policies and practices on how to do jobs properly and monitor performance. He should enforce all company policies and vessel specific guidelines on board all vessels. Many times, crew members are injured because the captain allows an unsafe work practice to go uncorrected or does not adequately train crew members. Occasionally a captain or pilot will be injured but this is rare since deckhands perform most of the physical duties on a tug boat and its tow. Captains and pilots are usually Jones Act seamen.


A Mate is senior to a deckhand. He supervises, coordinates and participates in the daily activities of the crew and conducts routine inspections of the towing gear and lifesaving equipment on the vessel. He orders parts and assists the crew to repair or replace defective equipment. He directs activities of and assists crew in rigging towlines, and supervises and assists crew in cleaning and painting of boat. A Mate will stand watch during specified periods. He operates, supervises or assists in operation of all vessel equipment. A mate may assume command of the tugboat in the event the Tugboat Master becomes incapacitated or is off duty. He is required to hold a license issued by the U.S. Coast Guard designated according to waters navigated and size of tugboat. He must perform other duties such as deckhand, cook, engineer and oiler. A Mate is usually engaged in physical activity and can be frequently injured. A Mate is a Jones Act seaman and entitled to its protection.


Tankermen are responsible for the safe transfer of liquid cargos to or from the tow. Tankermen must be capable of lifting and moving equipment that may weigh in excess of 100 pounds. It will frequently be necessary to move equipment that is heavy, large and awkward, sometimes from one level to another. Mechanical lifting devices are provided and must be used as necessary. All tankermen must ascend and descend stairs or ladders, sometimes while transporting tools or objects. They must correctly use portable ladders or stools and use handrails when appropriate. A tankerman’s color vision must allow him to recognize color coded objects such as electrical components, navigation lights, hazardous cargo placards, dock warning signs or lights, pipes, and valves. A tankerman’s hearing must be adequate for assuring his own personal safety while working in a machinery space which has high levels of background noise, for detecting changes in the operating sounds of machinery, and for hearing alarms, signals from the boat and signals from passing vessels.A tankerman must be capable of reading English well enough to read and understand machinery operating or repair manuals, emergency response Tankerman-1 (Change-5) procedures, Coast Guard regulations, terminal operating guidelines and other pertinent information.

A tankerman must be capable of performing their assigned emergency duties without undue danger to themselves or the boat. The tankerman must know how and when to use the emergency equipment located on the boat and be able to properly wear any safety equipment required by their duties. The physical dexterity required of a tankerman demands that he be able to manipulate small items in restricted spaces or large objects when using mechanical lifting devices. A broad range of strength and physical dexterity is required. Repairs may require that a tankerman reach into difficult to access areas of machinery, work on equipment that has pressurized or hot components, shut off or separate equipment to prevent a safety hazard, trouble shoot equipment that is difficult to access, work in areas that have high noise levels, work below decks in areas that may not be well lighted and work in restricted spaces.

Pollution of the navigable waters must be avoided. Barge logs shall be maintained accurately and an inventory of all oils and supplies shall be monitored and kept at a level that is adequate to support uninterrupted barge operations. When a cook is not assigned, the tankerman will share food preparation duties with other crewmembers. When no deckhands are carried on the tow, the tankerman will help with duties normally assigned to deckhands. Tankermen are Jones Act seamen if assigned to a vessel. If they are shore based they will not be Jones Act seamen and different laws will apply if they are injured. An experienced maritime lawyer will be able to know which laws apply.

We Know the River

Frank Lamothe has handled river accident cases for over 40 years. Many lawyers send him cases because of his national reputation. Richard Martin has worked as a deck hand on towboats and served on vessels as a naval officer. He knows all the workings of towboats and other vessels.

We intimately know the equipment involved and how accidents occur on the river. We work with extremely qualified experts who are experienced captains who know the river industry backwards and forwards. We leave no stone unturned.

If you have an accident on the river, call Lamothe Law Firm
for aggressive and expert representation at 504-704-1414.

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