Accidents happen all over the world every day. I’ve personally witnessed various accidents while vacationing both on cruise ships and on land. A memorable one was a motorcycle accident we saw while on a land excursion in Vietnam while on a cruise. Fortunately the folks involved in the crash were able to stand up and brush off the dust and walk away. In all cases though, victims are not so lucky.
Earlier this week a story came up on CruiseCritic about a 6 year old boy drowning aboard a Carnival ship. This was a tragic ending to the vacation for this family. Other accidental deaths have occurred aboard cruise ships as well. Unfortunately when these deaths occur there are many forums where people wish to pass blame onto the family or cruise ship for what happened. In many cases it is a tragic accident that would only be called such if it happened at a hotel.
Among the challenges posted by some commenters about the drowning and other accidental deaths is that cruise lines must do more to prevent these accidents from happening. In the case of the drowning the more often comment is that a lifeguard should always be present at the pools on the ship. Although that may be nice to do, it is seldom done at most resort pools or beaches. Many travel destinations, as do the ships notify guests that swimming is “at your own risk” with no lifeguards present. On a ship this would require several additional staff to be available to cover the various pools although not impossible it does come with a cost which in thin operating margins faced by some cruise lines now is not welcomed. Also, given that most passengers swim on their own with no incident it may be hard to convince the lines to add the cost.
On shore in the USA the cost of adding lifeguards to pools at resorts could prove too costly in some cases instead leading to the reduction in amenities at some resorts. There are many family oriented swimming oriented resorts around the country where a full staff of lifesaving personnel are always on watch to help with lifesaving needs. Great Wolf Lodge and Disney are a couple which come to mind.
Accidents as stated before happen all over the place all the time. Slip and fall accidents especially happen for various reasons such as spilled liquids on the floor, or even food debris sitting there. People trip and fall for no real reason at all. On ships in bad weather the pitch and roll of the ship can throw off a person’s balance leading to a fall situation. When someone falls they can injure themselves or in some cases incur injuries that lead to death. For the most part folks do what they can to eliminate at sea and on land trip hazards as well as slip hazards and even then both kinds of induced falls occur.
People get injured for many different reasons. Thus there are many different safeguards required of everyone to prevent injuries. Most are built into the structure of the ship or are in place thru operating procedures. Generally all of the safety features and procedures do lead to generally safe spaces. Further most injuries are minor and those which are more severe seldom are fatal. The fatal ones tend to make the news because of the outcome. Don’t let those scare off choosing a cruise though, they are safe.
Ultimately, the cruise lines and most land resorts do work hard to ensure a safe and enjoyable guest experience. Remember what the flight attendants tell you on your next flight, that their primary responsibility is to ensure your (the passenger’s) safety. To that end, cruise lines when talking about being at sea do a lot to ensure that the cruise is safe. Because they can’t just call for emergency services, they maintain what amounts to their own ambulance corps and fire brigade. They provide these services to help ensure the safety of everyone aboard the ship passenger and crew alike.
The emergency services crew, respond to emergencies very quickly when called upon. The medical crew can take the injured or sick passenger back to the ship’s hospital and administer care. Where needed they will facilitate transfer of the passenger to more in depth care ashore at an acute care hospital. The transfer timing depends on where the ship is sailing and available rescue helicopters or boats to come meet the ship and remove the passenger.
Just like on land the facility owner and all users can only do so much to make their cruise safe. Everyone must take it upon themselves to be as safe as possible. This means parents must look for their children in addition to themselves. It is a stretch to shift all the responsibility to the cruise lines for 100% of each person’s personal safety. Remember enjoy your cruise and be safe while doing so. Generally everyone returns home safely.
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