Although cruise lines often market their ships as vacation destinations for families, many major cruise lines have elected to operate without lifeguards for decades. In the wake of multiple drownings aboard ships operated by most of the major cruise companies, the industry is shifting toward using lifeguards to improve passenger safety. With the announcement by Royal Caribbean and Norwegian that they will be implementing a water safety program, Carnival remains the only remaining major cruise company not to use lifeguards. In this blog, our Miami cruise injury lawyers examine this announcement and trend in the wake of recent drownings and near drownings on cruise ships.
Royal Caribbean and Norwegian cruise ships have averaged at least one drowning or near drowning incident annually since 2013. An eight-year-old boy was reportedly on life support after being found unconscious in a swimming pool of Royal Caribbean’s “Anthem of the Seas’ in July 2016. In another incident, an eight-year-old boy drowned in a swimming pool on Royal Caribbean’s “Liberty of the Seas,” which did not have a lifeguard on duty in December of 2015. A near drowning incident in January of 2015 prompted publication of an article in the Miami Herald regarding the risk pools posed to children traveling on cruises because of the absence of lifeguards. These are merely a few recent examples of drowning and near drowning incidents on these two cruise lines in recent years.
The program announced by Royal Caribbean early this year involves deploying lifeguards who have participated in the Starguard Elite training program. The changes include offering a fifteen-minute safety presentation during the open house session of the embarkation day youth program. The new safety measures also entail posting water safety instruction signs at various locations on the cruise line’s ships. These signs will be located near passenger cabins and pool areas and advise parents to have their children wear life jackets which are available to kids between the ages of 4 and 12. Implementation of the new water safety program commenced with Royal Caribbean’s “Oasis of the Seas.”
Norwegian announced in April 2017 that it would be integrating lifeguards on its four largest vessels: “Norwegian Epic,” “Norwegian Escape,” “Norwegian Breakaway,” and the “Norwegian Getaway” by this summer. The cruise line also has announced plans to have its entire fleet of ships equipped with lifeguards by the end of the first quarter of 2018. While the cruise line has used “pool monitors” since 2015, these individuals were not trained in classical water safety methods. The new crew members assigned to the cruise lines pools reportedly will be lifeguards certified by the American Red Cross.
Although our Miami cruise injury attorneys laud these changes, they provide little comfort for families that lost loved ones before these simple and rather inexpensive safety measures were implemented. These changes also will not prevent drowning and near drowning incidents on Carnival cruise line, which remains as the only major cruise company that has not announced plans to equip its pools on their ships with lifeguards despite the fact the company promotes its cruises as the most family-oriented.
Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano: Seeking Maximum Recovery for Serious Injury and Wrongful Death Victims and Families
Our Miami cruise injury lawyers at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano offer the assistance you need to pursue the results you desire. 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 have 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.