Naval Warfare Law and Legal Definition

Naval warfare refers to warfare that is conducted in and on seas, oceans, or any other major water bodies such as lakes or rivers. Naval warfare includes military operations conducted on the sea and is waged against other seagoing vessels or targets on land or in the air. Earlier, fishing boats and merchant ships were used for the purpose of naval warfare. Now, submarines play a major role in naval warfare. Naval warfare also involves nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, supersonic aircraft, cruise, and many other guided missiles. In United States v. Farragut, 89 U.S. 406 (U.S. 1875), it was held that any property captured during naval warfare is considered a lawful prize, and is subject to condemnation.

Naval warfare has been adequately recognized under international law. Many treaties and conventions are ratified to safeguard the interest of people engaged during naval warfare. One of the important conventions relating naval warfare is the Geneva Convention that was ratified in 1949 by 61 countries, including the U.S. One of its articles covered for the amelioration of conditions of the wounded and sick in the armed forces, including those in the field and those shipwrecked at sea.