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Arnold & Itkin Maritime Lawyer Cory Itkin says Ruling May Cloud Question of What Makes a ‘Boat’
August 30, 2012 8:18 am

Whether a floating structure can be considered a "vessel" is an important legal question that is usually easy to answer, says maritime lawyer Cory Itkin of Houston's Arnold & Itkin LLP. "Congress and the courts have broadly defined a vessel as any watercraft capable of practical transportation on water, a fairly easy test," says Itkin. However, the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to hear Lozman v. Riviera Beach may undo the existing threshold, he warns. In Lozman, a Florida man whose houseboat was seized by the City of Riviera Beach, Fla., claims his boat shouldn't be considered a vessel because he didn't intend to use it for transportation. He is arguing that the court should ignore Congress' definition and instead look to whether the owner intended the structure for transportation. "The other side argues that this test is too subjective and could lead to improper manipulation, and that it makes more sense to rely on the current objective test that cannot be as easily manipulated," says Itkin. For more information, contact Alan Bentrup at 800-559-4534 or

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