As winter weather brutalizes the eastern coast of the United States, you may see an increase in the number of Coast Guard rescues performed.

Recently, the Weather Channel reported that hurricane like winds and cold temperatures resulted in the rescue of an Australian family that was stranded at sea after Winter Storm Neptune ripped their boat’s sails off. According to the network, the rescue took place about 140 miles southeast of Nantucket. The men onboard the boat reportedly suffered from severe hypothermia.

In addition to this rescue, recently in New York, the Coast Guard had to break a tugboat out of thick ice near West Point. The vessel was attempting to deliver 26,929 barrels of home heating oil.

As these cases prove, in times of severe winter weather, you may see an increase in rescues. This is especially true of vessels that transport resources to the east coast. According to a release by the Coast Guard, 75 percent of all heating oil used in the U.S. is transported through New England, New York and New Jersey. Additionally, barges through Coast Guard-protected ports deliver 90 percent of that.

These examples should serve as reminder that vessel operators need to make sure they are prepared for winter weather conditions. This includes checking forecasts before departure. Remember, ice can be especially hard to navigate and may present itself unpredictably.

Remember, maritime accidents can occur anytime, and workers and crewmembers on commercial vessels are especially vulnerable during severe weather conditions. Crewmembers are sometimes exposed to brutal weather elements for long periods while waiting for a rescue. If you are injured in an incident involving severe winter weather, it may be in your best interest to speak to an attorney who could potentially help you determine your options.

For more information, in the video above, attorney Carolyn Latti discusses how maritime law differs from other practice areas. Keep in mind, in instances were seaman are injured in poor weather incidents, the Jones Act may apply, as an employer may be responsible for failing to exercise care in poor weather conditions.

Latti & Anderson LLPNationwide Maritime Attorneys

Source: http://www.professionalmariner.com/Web-Bulletin-2015/Coast-Guard-commercial-tugboat-break-fellow-tug-out-of-Hudson-River-ice/