In yet another incident involving a passenger emergency in a swimming pool on board a cruise ship, it has been reported that a 72-year-old lady had to be rescued by bystanders (not a trained lifeguard or other cruise line staff) when she appeared in distress while in a swimming pool on board Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas. The Anthem of the Seas may sound familiar when discussing the need for lifeguards, as this is the second major swimming pool emergency this year involving this ship alone! Just last month, an eight year old boy died after nearly drowning in a pool also on board the Anthem of the Seas.
My firm has repeatedly urged that there be requirements for lifeguards onboard cruise ships, where there are many swimming attractions present. With the thousands of passengers running around all the time, including children, there are many opportunities for a brief moment of distraction, and for a disaster to occur. A trained lifeguard is an expert at detecting a problem before it occurs, and of course an expert in responding to an incident if it is not prevented, as a timely response to any type of incident involving an individual in distress in a swimming pool needs immediate professional attention.
Cruise ship companies, including Royal Caribbean, have resisted placing lifeguards on their cruise ships, probably because of the expense. Of course having lifeguards are more expensive and require cabin space, meaning less cabins to sell to passengers. Again, profits seem to rule the day in the cruise ship industry. For many years it has been urged to place stricter regulations on the cruise ship industry, and there has been some progress, but not enough.