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U.S. Marshals Service

Northern District of California - Admiralty

Admiralty law or maritime law is the distinct body of law (both substantive and procedural) governing navigation and shipping. Topics associated with this field in legal reference works may include: shipping; navigation; waters; commerce; seamen; towage; wharves, piers, and docks; insurance; maritime liens; canals; and recreation. Piracy (ship hijacking) is also an aspect of admiralty. 

The courts and Congress seek to create a uniform body of admiralty law both nationally and internationally in order to facilitate commerce. The federal courts derive their exclusive jurisdiction over this field from the Judiciary Act of 1789 and from Article III, ยง 2 of the U.S. Constitution. Congress regulates admiralty partially through the Commerce Clause. American admiralty law formerly applied only to American tidal waters. It now extends to any waters navigable within the United States for interstate or foreign commerce. In such waters admiralty jurisdiction includes maritime matters not involving interstate commerce, including recreational boating. 

Regulations are found in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.  The Supplemental Admiralty Rules take precedence over the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure in the event of conflict between the two.   Source:

District Admiralty Procedures

Instructions to U.S. Marshal

Request & Agreement for USMS Keeper (Guard)

Deposits to and Payments by the U.S. Marshal

ACH Vendor/Miscellaneous Payment Enrollment Form

If you have any questions or require further information, please contact the U.S. Marshals Service Northern District of California Service of Process (Civil) Unit at (415) 436-7631 or email us at



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t Offices found on this website may vary depending on local rules, local needs, and legal and policy interpretations. These policies and procedures, and any variations among District Offices, are not intended to, do not, and may not be relied upon to create any rights, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law by any party or person in any matter civil or criminal. Nor are any limitations thereby placed on otherwise lawful U. S. Marshals Service prerogatives. is an official site of the U.S. Federal Government, U.S. Department of Justice