Lifeguards Onboard Cruise Ships At All Pools Should Be Mandatory

lifeguard-station-1529349I have been writing about the necessity to place lifeguards at the swimming pools aboard the cruise ships for some time. Unfortunately, we have seen more drownings occur aboard cruise ships that do not have lifeguards present.

Currently, only Disney employs lifeguards to be present at the swimming pools onboard their cruise ships. The rest of the cruise ships have decided since there is no mandatory requirement to do so, they don’t want to spend the money. I assume they don’t want to spend the money and they don’t want to give up the cabin space a lifeguard would occupy instead of a paying passenger.

I have been handling maritime cases since 1983, and I fail to find any legitimate reason for not having lifeguards present at the swimming pools on the cruise ships. There are many children on cruise ships. The growth of the cruise ship industry has seen mega cruise ships with thousands of passengers onboard. The pools get very busy. Parents are easily distracted. Kids are easily attracted to the pools. A drowning takes very little time to occur. Often times a drowning situation is not immediately apparent to the eye of an inexperienced person, but apparent to a trained lifeguard who can act quickly to prevent the drowning, as occurred in the situation depicted in this video.

I think this video again illustrates how important it is for cruise ships to step up to the plate and place lifeguards at all the major swimming pools onboard their mega cruise ships, and prevent the next drowning from occurring. If one life can be saved, how can there be any justification for not doing so? If the cruise ship companies continue to refuse to step up to the plate, Congress should set in and make it mandatory. Unfortunately, in the past, the cruise ship companies could not be relied upon to voluntarily police themselves and do the right thing. For example, Congress had to implement legislation making it mandatory to report crimes aboard cruise ships. Prior to that it was voluntary, and Congress determined that there was under reporting of crimes because cruise lines had an incentive to avoid negative publicity.

I testified before the United States Congress addressing these issues as a maritime expert invited by the Congressional Committee to appear at the hearings. One of the comments by one of the Congressmen stated the issue loud and clear when he stated: “I’m afraid that like Las Vegas, what occurs aboard cruise ships, stays aboard cruise ships.”

Accordingly, we may not be able to rely on voluntarily providing the necessary safety precautions for the passengers, mainly children, aboard cruise ships. It may be time for Congress to step in and impose mandatory requirements for safety for children onboard cruise ships. The cruise ships are profiting by having major swimming attractions aboard their cruise ships. They should use some of those profits to pay for lifeguards.

Our firm continues to act as safety advocates for anyone injured or harmed at sea. I am been handling maritime personal injury and wrongful death claims since 1983. Should you have any questions concerning any type of incident related to a cruise ship, or any other type of maritime incident, please feel free to contact our law firm for a free consultation.