Dead-Ship Doctrine Law and Legal Definition

Dead ship doctrine is a principle applied in Maritime law whereby admiralty law is no longer made applicable to a ship whose purpose is so changed that it is no longer considered a vessel as it has no further navigation function.

The following is an example of a caselaw on the dead ship doctrine:

Under the "dead ship doctrine," a ship loses its status as a vessel when its function is so changed that it has no further navigation function. Simply taking a vessel temporarily out of service, however, does not render it a dead ship. A vessel does not cease to be a vessel when she is not voyaging, but is at anchor, berthed, or at dockside.[Mullane v. Chambers, 333 F.3d 322 (1st Cir. Mass. 2003)]