components. The first of these examines the plaintiff's employment at the time of the injury and requires that the "employee's duties . . . contribute to the function of the vessel or to the accomplishment of its mission." Chandris, 115 S. Ct. at 2190 (internal quotations omitted); see also Wilander, 498 U.S. at 353-55 (requiring that a seaman "do the ship's work"). This requirement is easily met here. Mr. Foulk and the dive crew were engaged to aid the Farrell 256 in its mission of installing the artificial reef. Indeed, their help was necessary to position pieces of the artificial reef properly. See Wilander, 498 U.S. at 355 (no longer requiring that a seaman aid in a vessel's navigation per se); cf. Wallace v. Oceaneering Int'l, 727 F.2d 427, 431 (5th Cir. 1984) (involving divers assisting in a vessel's oil-well drilling mission by placing drilling templates on the ocean floor).
The second component of seaman status evaluates the worker's "connection to a vessel in navigation (or an identifiable group of vessels)" and requires that it be "substantial in terms of both its duration and its nature." Chandris, 115 S. Ct. at 2190. The purpose of this requirement is to "separate the sea-based maritime employees who are entitled to Jones Act protection from those land-based workers who have only a transitory or sporadic connection to a vessel in navigation," thus reserving special seaman status for those whose employment regularly exposes them to the perils of a ship at sea. Id. Accordingly, "'the total circumstances of an individual's employment must be weighed to determine whether he had a sufficient relation to the navigation of vessels and the perils attendant thereon.'" Id. (quoting Wallace, 727 F.2d at 432).
Two judicial doctrines somewhat ease the demands of this connection requirement. The first is the fleet seaman doctrine, adopted by the Third Circuit in Reeves v. Mobile Dredging & Pumping Co., 26 F.3d 1247, 1256 (3d Cir. 1994). Under the fleet seaman doctrine, a maritime worker's connection to a vessel in navigation may be to a particular vessel, or to several specific vessels under common control or ownership. See id. at 1253-56. The second remedial doctrine is the "no snapshot" doctrine, articulated in Chandris and other cases. See, e.g., Chandris, 115 S. Ct. at 2187, 2191-92; Wallace, 727 F.2d at 432-33. Under this doctrine, courts evaluate not a worker's connection to a vessel or fleet as of the moment of injury, but rather his intended relationship as if he had completed his mission, tour, or voyage uninjured. See, e.g., Chandris, 115 S. Ct. at 2187, 2191-92 (rejecting a "'snapshot' test for seaman status"); Wallace, 727 F.2d at 432-33. Thus, under the "no snapshot" doctrine, a worker who would otherwise qualify as a Jones Act seaman would not lose his status if injured in the first few moments of his employment.
The fleet seaman doctrine fails to help Mr. Foulk's case for seaman status. As a freelance diver, Mr. Foulk made his career diving for many different employers, one of which was Breakwaters. See Foulk Aff. P 3.
However, the many vessels from which Mr. Foulk worked were not under common control or ownership; rather they comprise a random assortment of tug boats, pilot boats, and barges with little in common other than their brief connections with Mr. Foulk. See id. P 5.
Accordingly, the Court will only look to Mr. Foulk's brief employment relationship with Donjon--namely, the Avalon reef project--in determining the whether his connection to a vessel in navigation was sufficiently substantial.
The "no snapshot" doctrine helps Mr. Foulk's case for seaman's status to some extent. At the time of his injury, Mr. Foulk had worked aboard and alongside the Farrell 256 for only half a day. However, but for his injury, Mr. Foulk would have spent about ten days working on the Avalon reef project. See Foulk Aff. P 6. Accordingly, following the "no snapshot" doctrine, the Court will consider the duration of his connection to the Farrell 256 not four hours but rather the ten days the Avalon reef project was expected to last.
Turning to the substantive elements of Chandris's connection component, the Court must consider the nature of Mr. Foulk's connection to the Farrell 256 sufficiently substantial. Not only was Mr. Foulk diving from the Farrell 256, he was physically connected to it via a diver's "umbilical cord" containing vital air and communications lines. See Foulk Aff. P 7, 8. As stated above, Mr. Foulk and the dive crew were necessary for the successful completion of the Farrell 256's mission--the construction of the artificial reef. Moreover, courts have long considered commercial divers who work from vessels eligible for seaman status:
A diver's work necessarily involves exposure to numerous marine perils, and is inherently maritime because it cannot be done on land. . . . When a diver descends from the surface, bracing the darkness, temperature, lack of oxygen, and high pressures, he embarks on a marine voyage in which his body is now the vessel. Before he can complete his assigned task, he must successfully navigate the seas. . . . It is the inherently maritime nature of the tasks performed and perils faced by his profession . . . that makes [a commercial diver] a seaman.