46 U.S.C.
United States Code, 2019 Edition
Title 46 - SHIPPING
Subtitle II - Vessels and Seamen
Part G - Merchant Seamen Protection and Relief
Sec. 10505 - Advances
From the U.S. Government Publishing Office, www.gpo.gov

§10505. Advances

(a)(1) A person may not—

(A) pay a seaman wages in advance of the time when the seaman has earned the wages;

(B) pay advance wages of the seaman to another person; or

(C) make to another person an order, note, or other evidence of indebtedness of the wages, or pay another person, for the engagement of seamen when payment is deducted or to be deducted from the seaman's wage.

(2) A person violating this subsection is liable to the United States Government for a civil penalty of not more than $5,000. A payment made in violation of this subsection does not relieve the vessel or the master from the duty to pay all wages after they have been earned.

(b) A person demanding or receiving from a seaman or an individual seeking employment as a seaman, remuneration for providing the seaman or individual with employment, is liable to the Government for a civil penalty of not more than $5,000.

(c) The owner, charterer, managing operator, agent, or master of a vessel seeking clearance from a port of the United States shall present the agreement required by section 10502 of this title at the office of clearance. Clearance may be granted to a vessel only if this section has been complied with.

(d) This section does not apply to a fishing or whaling vessel or a yacht.

(Pub. L. 98–89, Aug. 26, 1983, 97 Stat. 571; Pub. L. 99–640, §10(b)(4), Nov. 10, 1986, 100 Stat. 3550; Pub. L. 103–206, title IV, §414, Dec. 20, 1993, 107 Stat. 2437.)

Historical and Revision Notes
Revised sectionSource section (U.S. Code)
10505 46:598


Section 10505 prohibits any person from paying a seaman on a coastwise voyage advance wages, or to pay to another person any form of a seaman's wages prior to the commencement of the seaman's employment. It also prohibits a person from seeking or receiving remuneration for providing a seaman with employment. This section also requires that a vessel comply with this section before clearing port. It provides penalties for offenses of its provisions. The section does not apply to fishing vessels, whaling vessels, or yachts, but does apply to vessels taking oysters.


1993—Subsec. (a)(2). Pub. L. 103–206, §414(1), substituted "$5,000" for "$100".

Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 103–206, §414(2), substituted "$5,000" for "$500".

1986—Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 99–640 struck out last sentence which read as follows: "However, this section applies to a vessel taking oysters."