U.S. Coast Guard Legal Aid

Forms for U.S. Mariners Sailing in Canadian Waters

The American Maritime Officers Coast Guard Legal Aid Program covers all AMO members who are participants in the AMO Safety and Education Plan at no cost to the individual member. If you are eligible to attend classes at STAR Center as a participant working under covered employment with a company contracted with AMO, this means your employer contributes to the AMO Safety and Education Plan and you are a participant in the AMO Coast Guard Legal Aid Program.

The AMO Coast Guard Legal Aid Program provides individual members with legal counsel, legal representation and wage protection. Legal counsel can be obtained by any AMO member who is a participant in the program and who is involved in any maritime incident reportable to the U.S. Coast Guard, has a licensing issue or may have an issue that needs to be reported to the U.S. Coast Guard when applying for a Merchant Mariner Credential.

AMO members need to call AMO Coast Guard Legal Aid Attorney Mike Reny before filling out paperwork regarding an incident and prior to speaking with U.S. Coast Guard investigators. He is available on his cell phone 24/7. Again, this program is provided cost-free to AMO members who are participants in the AMO Safety and Education Plan.

The AMO Coast Guard Legal Aid Program provides assistance to AMO members involved in situations that could jeopardize their licenses (Merchant Mariner Credentials). The program provides free legal representation to any eligible AMO member who is required to appear before a court, board of inquiry or other authority in connection with a matter arising out of the member’s employment. Wage protection is provided for a period of up to 12 months in the event an eligible member’s license is suspended or revoked (unless the suspension or revocation is a result of fraud, lack of sobriety or criminal conduct – see below for specifics). The program also provides for reimbursement of up to $1,000 for a member who is personally assessed a fine for violating any navigation or pollution control laws.

A license represents security for a mariner and his or her family. The U.S. Coast Guard issues licenses in accordance with strict guidelines set out in the federal laws and regulations. The Coast Guard is equally rigid when it comes to enforcing those laws and regulations, which govern the conduct of licensed officers. A violation of laws or regulations can lead to the suspension or revocation of an officer’s license.

The program requires all eligible members to immediately notify the Safety and Education Plan administrator or the program’s legal counsel (Mike Reny) if at any time he or she is involved in any marine casualty or incident that will be reported to the U.S. Coast Guard.

Mike Reny of the firm Harris-Reny-Torzewski provides legal services for AMO members who are participants in the AMO Coast Guard Legal Aid Program. Reny has more than 35 years of experience in representing AMO members. Any eligible member with a licensing or marine casualty issue should contact him immediately.

Attorney Mike Reny
Cell Phone: 419-346-1485
Office: 419-243-1105
Toll Free: 888-853-4662
Home: 419-843-2411

Eligibility under the Coast Guard Legal Aid Program

Any licensed officer represented by American Maritime Officers who has worked a minimum of 30 days in a consecutive six-month period (182 days) for an AMO-contracted employer that makes contributions to the AMO Safety and Education Plan is eligible for legal counsel and wage protection under the program. For new AMO Plans participants, the minimum requirement is 90 days of covered employment within the six-month period.

Wage protection will not be available if an officer’s license is revoked or reduced as a consequence of fraud, intentional misstatements, concealment of material facts or presentation of a fraudulent claim; physical or mental unfitness or disability arising out of any cause; willful misconduct, lack of sobriety, all drug offenses or being found guilty of the violation of a criminal statute. The Legal Aid Program or wage protection is not available if an eligible officer files a fraudulent claim; does not immediately notify the Board of Trustees, in writing, an event has taken place that could result in the filing of a claim; or has in effect a insurance policy covering any of the circumstances covered by this Plan. If you carry other license insurance, such as MOPS, the Plan is secondary to your primary insurance.

Important Documents for Mariners Sailing in Canadian Waters