Cruise ships may not be doing enough to protect passengers from slip and fall accidents. Although the cruise line industry claims that falls are usually the result of reckless passenger behavior, advocates assert that implementing warning systems, enhancing training for crew members, and taking advance safety precautions could significantly reduce the number of injuries and deaths. Due to deep waters, extreme heights, unprotected ship areas, and failed rescue efforts, fall victims often die from their injuries.
Are Cruise Ships Safe?
With cruise ship packages that include luxurious accommodations, meals, activities, entertainment, and housekeeping services, the popularity of cruises continues to rise. According to the Cruise Lines International Association, 28 million passengers boarded cruise ships in 2018. Currently, there are 450 cruise ships operating around the world.
Over the last decade, numerous passengers and crew members have died from falls on cruise ships. Many cruise ships are 16 stories high with numerous levels of open decks and outdoor activities. If a passenger or crew member falls from an upper deck, the victim will likely suffer severe injuries or death. People who fall overboard are often killed by the impact of the water. If the victim survives the fall, he/she may not be found for hours. Many victims who fall overboard are never recovered. Since 2010, more than 21 people have fallen off cruise ships, and only five have been rescued alive.
Who’s to Blame for Passenger Deaths?
The Cruise Lines International Association states that cruise ships provide a safe mode of travel. They argue that cruise ships do everything possible to protect passengers from falls and that most accidents are caused by reckless passenger behaviors. However, cruise line safety advocates argue that cruise ships are not doing enough to protect passengers from dangerous slip and fall injuries and deaths. They advocate the installation of man-overboard detection systems, higher railings, and structural barriers in certain areas.
Falls on decks can also occur when employees use products that create slippery surfaces. When accompanied by high waters crashing against the ship, the risk of falling overboard and drowning in rough waters is increased.
Cruise lines don’t have much to gain by implementing expensive safety measures. Cruises are not included in the U.S. Death on the High Seas Act, so the legal consequences of losing a passenger on a ship is not significant to the cruise industry.