The beginning of offshore drilling in the United States dates all the way back to 1869. On May 4 of that year, New York resident Thomas Fitch Rowland patented a new device. This device was an underwater oil drill that contained a platform that would allow people to drill for oil nearly 50 feet from the shore. People have noted its close resemblance to modern offshore rigs, but this one was never constructed. It would be two decades later in 1891 when an offshore apparatus would be built that would also be put into use in Grand Lake St. Marys in Ohio. Engineers built the platforms for these submerged oil wells on piles and where the first offshore oil drilling was able to take place. Offshore drilling found its way to the shores of California in Summerland, and Henry Williams was responsible. The first thing this innovator did was to construct two oil wells right on the beach in 1894. He had so much success with his first oil wells that he decided to build another one the next year. Because the third oil well also showed promising results, Williams and his associates determined that it might be advantages to expand into offshore drilling in 1896. Williams and his partners did something new that was not done in Ohio. They built a pier 300 feet offshore in the Pacific Ocean from which they constructed their newest oil well. This well became the first in the country to be constructed from a pier, and just one year later in 1897, the well began to produce oil. A total of 22 other companies saw the opportunity that existed in Summerland, and over the next five years, they constructed 14 piers and more than 400 oil wells. The oil field in Summerland was largely responsible for the economic growth that California experienced at the time as the field actively produced oil for 25 years. Louisiana also presented people with an opportunity to begin offshore drilling in 1911. In Louisiana, Gulf Refining Company expanded into the drilling industry, but they saw the pier as an unnecessary obstacle. Rather than construct a pier, the company employed the use of tugboats, floating pile drivers and barges to construct an oil well within Lake Caddo. This one oil well began to produce 450 barrels of oil per day when completed. When You Need a Jones Act Maritime Attorney Accidents can occur on offshore oil wells, and the Jones Act was adopted in 1920 to protect the rights of workers who may become injured in the course of performing their duties in such circumstances. The Jones Act maritime law made it possible for seamen to sue their employers in the event that their injuries could be traced to the negligence of the vessel's owners, other employees or the captain. If you have been injured on an oil rig, you will need the services of Maritime law firms that have extensive experience trying these cases in court. If you suffered a Gulf of Mexico injury at sea, you are within your rights to hire a Jones Act Maritime Attorney to help you obtain compensation for your injuries. If there was a death at sea and you lost a loved one, you can also take the responsible parties to court. Hire the services of an oil rig accident attorney today to hold the responsible parties accountable for your injuries or those of a loved one.