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Major Cruise Lines Fail to Hire Lifeguards despite Drowning Incidents Involving Children

If cruising is your travel option of choice, you know that you will see lots of kids swimming and enjoying water slides on any cruise.  Despite the vast range in ages and number of children that can be found in the pool on a cruise line at any point in time, the cruise industry generally has declined to adopt the commonsense safety practice of staffing the pool area with lifeguards.  Approximately 1.5 million kids spend time on cruise ships each year, but most of the major cruise companies do not employ a single lifeguard.  While the risk of child drowning incidents on cruise ships would seem to make this basic safety precaution a “no-brainer,” major cruise lines continue to disregard the danger of traumatic brain injuries from near drowning and drowning fatalities.

Pattern of Drowning Incidents on Major Cruise Ships

The failure of the cruise industry to acknowledge this risk has had tragic consequence as of late.  Media reports indicate that a 10-year-old girl recently drowned aboard a Norwegian ship while the vessel was traveling off the coast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  A spokesperson for the cruise line reportedly told media sources that the ship’s medical personnel administered CPR and other lifesaving procedures, but they were unsuccessful in reviving the young girl.  This recent incident is especially troubling because the cruise company apparently elected not to hire lifeguards after another fatal drowning on the Norwegian Breakaway ship just last year.

While these stories might make it appear that the lack of basic pool safety is a problem limited to a single cruise line, Carnival, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Royal Caribbean International all depart for their destinations without a lifeguard on board.  These incidents have been reported over the years on many of the leading cruise lines.  Several months ago, a 4-year-old boy was involved in a near drowning incident while traveling on Roya Caribbean’s Oasis of the Sea.  Fortunately, there were passengers with CPR training nearby who intervened and were able to successfully administer this life saving technique.

A similar incident aboard Disney’s Fantasy also resulted in disaster being narrowly averted because passengers came to a young boy’s aid when there were no lifeguards to rescue him and administer CPR.  Tragically, the rescue was not in time to prevent the boy from suffering severe brain damage.  Approximately six children have drowned on cruise ships during the last two years, according to a Today Show report.

Tragic Deaths and Catastrophic Injuries Have Not Led to Changes

These tragic stories are appalling given that cruise ships often are staffed with over a thousand people who prepare food, serve drinks, organize social activities and perform other functions unrelated to passenger safety.  Nonetheless, most cruise lines continue to rely on nothing more than posting a “No Lifeguard on Duty” sign to mitigate this danger.  Unfortunately, the economics of cruises make it more profitable to fill a space on a ship with another guest rather than a lifeguard who is trained to recognize a swimmer in distress and to administer necessary emergency assistance.

 Greenberg Stone and Urbano:  Seeking Maximum Recovery for Damages Sustained Due to Negligence 

 If your child is injured or you have lost a loved one in a swimming pool accident on a cruise ship, our Miami Cruise Injury Lawyers at Greenberg Stone and Urbano will tenaciously pursue the full compensation you deserve.  For over 130 collective years, our firm has assisted accident victims in personal injury and wrongful death actions across South Florida.  We seek to obtain compensation for your tangible and intangible damages, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.  Our skill and dedication has earned us an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and recognition as one of South Florida’s top firms by the Miami Herald.   Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.


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