Load Lines Act Law and Legal Definition

The Load Lines Act (“Act”) is a federal legislation governing a vessel that may be operated only if the vessel has been assigned load lines. Under this Act, owner, charterer, managing operator, agent, master, and individual in charge of a vessel marks and maintain sthe load lines permanently and conspicuously in the way prescribed by the Secretary of Transportation (“Secretary”). The Secretary assigns load lines for a vessel so that they indicate the minimum safe freeboard to which the vessel may be loaded. However, if the owner requests, the Secretary may assign load lines that result in greater freeboard than the minimum safe freeboard.

Under this Act, the Secretary considers the following:

1. the service, type, and character of the vessel;

2. the geographic area in which the vessel will operate; and

3. applicable international agreements to which the U.S. government is a party.