Sam Blatchley, Chair of the firm's Admiralty & Maritime Practice Group, represents clients in litigation matters with a focus on admiralty and maritime law. He represents vessel owners and operators, charterers, construction and dredging firms, freight forwarders, inland carriers, lenders, marina operators, marine surveyors, marine trades providers, stevedores, and terminal operators in maritime litigation, as well as in marine-related commercial and corporate transactions. Sam’s practice covers an array of maritime disputes, including maritime collisions and casualties, charter party and marine services agreements, personal injury and death claims, Admiralty Rules B, C and D actions, and insurance coverage disputes. He also handles maritime financing, purchase and charter, documentation, and registration matters in connection with both commercial vessels and private yachts.

Honors & Distinctions

Massachusetts Super Lawyers Rising Star™, Transportation and Maritime Law 2013, 2014 and 2015 

Designated as a Proctor in Admiralty by the Maritime Law Association of the United States

Professional Activities

Maritime Law Association of the United States

  • Proctor Member
  • Maritime Practice and Procedure Committee 
    • Vice Chairman
    • Point person for review of Local Admiralty Rules for all Federal Districts
  • Salvage Committee, contributor to the Recent Developments in Salvage Law
  • Marine Finance Committee
  • Young Lawyers Committee 
    • YLC Liaison to Maritime Practice and Procedure Committee 

Connecticut Maritime Association

Rhode Island Bar Association

New York State Bar Association

American Bar Association

Member of Ad-Hoc Subcommittee for District of Rhode Island Local Rules Review Committee, which drafted the Local Admiralty Rules for the District of Rhode Island, effective as of January 15, 2013

Defense Counsel of Rhode Island


Contributor to Benedict's Maritime Bulletin

Practice Areas

Representative Experience

  • Attachment of chemical products tanker on behalf of foreign companies in connection with breach of a charter party and failure to pay monies due under a towage contract.
  • Arrest of chemical products tanker on behalf of Cypriot interests in connection with the ship owner’s failure to pay monies due for the provision of bunkers and satellite communication services to the vessel.
  • Attachment of tugboat in order to obtain security for breach of towage agreement
  • Defense of numerous employers against maritime personal injury claims for Jones Act negligence, Unseaworthiness and Maintenance and Cure
  • Defense of maritime lien claimant against claims for wrongful arrest of vessel
  • Defense of numerous passenger vessels against claims for general maritime law negligence
  • Defense and representation of container lessor against arrest and attachment claims
  • Arrest of a pleasure vessel and prosecution of a claim for the equitable subordination of a first Preferred Ship Mortgage lien to maritime lien claims for necessaries
  • Arrest and foreclosure of vessels under Preferred Ship and Fleet Mortgages
  • Attendance in the event of United States Coast Guard/United States Customs inspections and/or casualties
  • Representation of yacht dealers and buyers in vessel purchase and sale agreements
  • Representation of vessel owners and charterers in bareboat, time and voyage charter negotiations
  • Representation of vessel owners with respect to vessel documentation and flagging issues
  • Representation of banks and private lenders in the negotiation of Preferred Ship and Fleet Mortgages
  • Representation of various entities in marine services agreements
  • Representation of boat yards in the disposal and/or sale of abandoned vessels pursuant to the Rhode Island Drydock Statute and the Massachusetts Act Relative to the Disposition of Abandoned Vessels

Representative Experience

  • Representation of numerous entities in arguing preemption of M.G.L. c. 93A and 176D claims by federal admiralty law
  • Representation of Petitioners in Limitation of Liability Act Proceedings and maritime death claims
  • Defense of marine underwriters in denial of coverage arbitration
  • Defense of vessel owners against products liability claims
  • Representation of employers in securing Maritime Employers Liability coverage
  • Representation of the purchaser of a preferred ship mortgage note on a vessel in the purchase of the mortgage note, the self-help remedy of private repossession and sale of the vessel pursuant to state law, and the subsequent federal documentation of the vessel
  • Representation of dredging contractors in obtaining U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permits
  • Representation of Moroccan cargo interest in suits for cargo damage
  • Representation of vessel owners in obtaining state tax abatements under state law for vessels that are already subject to corporate excise taxes