I was saddened to learn of another tragic incident involving a drowning onboard a cruise ship. This particular drowning involved a 10 year old girl who was with her family onboard a Norwegian cruise ship, the Norwegian Gem, for what was supposed to be a fun filled vacation lasting 7 days. The cruise ship left from New York and was heading to Myrtle Beach at the time of the drowning.
Shipboard medical personnel was unable to resuscitate the 10 year old girl and she died onboard the cruise ship. What a tragic incident for the family! It’s hard to imagine going on a cruise and losing a loved one during the cruise. The exact circumstances surrounding the drowning are unknown at this time. However, there has been a lot of debate about whether lifeguards should be present at the pools on cruise ships. The major cruise ship companies do not utilize lifeguards. Disney Cruise Lines is the only cruise line company known to utilize lifeguards.
Lifeguards are trained not only to respond to a drowning incident but to anticipate a drowning situation about to develop, and take appropriate precautions to avoid a drowning, and avoid having to attempt to resuscitate someone. It is the prevention portion that is critical, and this should mandate that lifeguards be present onboard the cruise ships. There are many water attractions on cruise ships, with thousands of passengers onboard, making it is easy to lose track of a young child.
Statistically, 10 people die daily in the United States from drowning. Drowning are the 5th leading cause of deaths according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Twenty percent are also under the age of 14 years old.
My maritime personal injury law firm has consistently advocated for lifeguards to be present on cruise ships. How many tragedies, like this one, has to occur before the cruise lines step up to the plate and spend the money to hire lifeguards so that lives can be saved? The cruise ship companies already enjoy favorable loopholes in the laws, and fly foreign flags to avoid being regulated by the United States. It appears the cruise ship companies are more concerned with filling cabins with fare paying passengers than sacrificing those cabins to place paid lifeguards onboard during the cruise to monitor the swimming areas on the cruise ships. It is true it would require several lifeguards on each cruise ship, a loss of cabins that could be used to fill with passengers, and the lifeguards would have to be paid. However, how much is a life worth? When will the cruise lines learn? When will lifeguards be put on the cruise ships?
I suggest that everyone write their representative in Congress and urge Congress to pass a law requiring lifeguards onboard the cruise ships, and also I urge everyone to write the major cruise line companies a letter urging them to voluntarily place the lifeguards onboard the cruise ships before another life is lost!
Our firm continues to act as safety advocates for those injured or harmed at sea. Our firm is available for free consultation in any maritime related case, including any accidents that occur aboard a cruise ship. It’s important to keep in mind that any claims involving an incident that occurs onboard a cruise ship is subject to the terms and conditions of the passenger contract, which contains many favorable terms and conditions for the cruise ship company. An experienced maritime lawyer is necessary to navigate through these terms and conditions and advise how not to be trapped by some of the loopholes cruise ship companies enjoy.