Other Insurance

This information developed in partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor.

Coverage for Longshore and Harbor Workers

Non-maritime employers in Washington state will most likely need to get workers' compensation through L&I to cover workers injured on the job or who suffer a work-related illness.

However, workers in Washington state who work in maritime occupations on or over navigable waterways may be covered by the Federal Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA) instead of L&I. This coverage is issued through the Washington United States Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act Assigned Risk Plan (WARP). L&I doesn't administer this plan.

Who is covered by LHWCA

Maritime employees
Employers must have LHWCA coverage for employees in traditional maritime occupations such as longshore workers, ship repairers, shipbuilders, ship-breakers and harbor construction workers, but only if they are employed to work:

  • On the navigable waters of the United States, or
  • In adjoining areas, including piers, docks, terminals, wharves, and areas used for loading or unloading.

Non-maritime employees working on navigable waterways
Non-maritime employees may also be covered by LHWCA instead of L&I if their injuries occurred on the navigable waterways where they work. This often requires certain marine construction sites to carry LHWCA coverage.

Other workers
Even if a worker is not in a traditional maritime occupation or performing construction work on or over navigable waterways, they may be covered by LHWCA instead of L&I through the:

  • Defense Base Act, Section 1(a)(1)-(6), which extends LHWCA coverage to employees at overseas military bases of the United States and U.S. government contractors working outside the United States in public works projects or national defense and military operations.
  • Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, Section 1333(c), which extends LHWCA coverage to employees working on the Outer Continental Shelf of the United States in the exploration or development of natural resources (for example, off-shore drilling rigs).
  • Nonappropriated Fund Instrumentalities Act, Sections 1 and 2, which extends LHWCA coverage to civilian employees of non-appropriated fund instrumentalities of the Armed Forces, such as military base exchanges and morale, welfare and recreational facilities.

For more information about what kinds of employees are covered under LHWCA, please refer to the following sections of the law:


Employers are not required to have LHWCA insurance for employees if they are:

  • Seamen (masters or members of a crew of any vessel)
  • Employees of the United States government or any state or foreign government

Workers are also excluded from LHWCA coverage if they are covered by a state workers' compensation law, including individuals who are employed:

  • To exclusively to perform office clerical, secretarial, security or data processing work.
  • By a club, camp or recreational operation.
  • By a restaurant, museum or retail outlet.
  • By a marina who are not engaged in construction, replacement or expansion of the marina (except for routine maintenance).
  • To meet all of the following conditions:
    • Employed by suppliers, transporters or vendors, and
    • Temporarily doing business on the premises of a maritime employer, and
    • Not engaged in work normally performed by employees covered under under LHWCA by that employer.
  • As aquaculture workers.
  • To build any recreational vessel under 65 feet in length.
  • To repair any recreational vessel.
  • To dismantle any part of a recreational vessel in connection with the repair of the vessel.
  • As small vessel workers, if exempt by certification of the U.S. Secretary of Labor under certain conditions.
  • Contact your Longshore District Office

    Longshore District Office 14, Seattle
    U.S. Department of Labor
    300 5th Avenue, Suite 1050L
    Seattle, WA 98104

    • Phone: 206-504-5287
    • Fax: 206-467-1073

    For employers:
    The requirement to have proper workers' compensation insurance depends on the nature of your business operations, your location and other factors. You should discuss your situation with an experienced insurance broker. We also encourage you to talk directly with the Longshore District Office so you can explain the specifics of your worksite and employment situation.

    For workers:
    If you think you are covered under LHWCA or have received a notice of non-coverage from L&I, you should notify the Longshore District Office.

    More information:

    To learn more about:

    • The Federal Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA), visit the Frequently Asked Questions at the U.S. Department of Labor website.
    • Coverage requirements in Washington, call 360-902-6963.

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