It is not unusual to hear about drowning deaths that occurred on beaches, residential swimming pools, community swimming pools, as well as those resulting from boating accidents. Drownings associated with vacations on a cruise ship have also been reported at an alarming frequency. In the past three years, at least eight children have drowned or nearly drowned in a cruise ship pool. This does not include drownings while partaking in a cruise shore excursion or adult drownings.
If you have lost a loved one in a drowning death or you or a loved one has been injured in any sort of way as a result of a near-drowning, it is important to consult with an experienced admiralty and maritime lawyer. The laws that apply to injuries or deaths at sea are very different than ones that apply to injuries or deaths on land. Attorneys not familiar with maritime law will not know this distinction. You should do so promptly because most cruise lines try to limit their liability by including a statute of limitations in the fine print of your passenger ticket, which means that if you do not file your claim in a certain period of time, your cause of action can be waived.
Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind P.A., has handled several deaths from passengers drowning either in a swimming pool onboard a cruise ship or while partaking in a shore-side water excursion, including drownings at the cruise ships private islands. In one month alone our Florida cruise ship drowning lawyers were contacted about two separate drownings that occurred at a cruise ship’s private island. One involved a passenger who was snorkeling and another who was simply swimming at the private island.
Reasons for Cruise Ship Passenger Drownings
Cruise ships are getting bigger and bigger, holding thousands of passengers. Having larger ships means more variety as to dining options, entertainment and other shipboard activities, which includes water sports. With an increasing population and an increasing number of shipboard water activities, we have seen an increasing number of drownings in cruise ship pools. More passengers create more distractions, which is a problem when a drowning can happen in a split second.
Additionally, there is oftentimes no advance warning of the drowning that is noticeable by an unexperienced, nonprofessional person as compared to a properly trained lifeguard. Lifeguards are trained to foresee a potential drowning situation and act in a preventable manner to avoid drowning from happening. Lifeguards are also trained to quickly observe an individual who is drowning so that there can be a rapid response to a drowning situation if one is occurring.
Lack of Lifeguards on Cruises
Unfortunately, the majority of the major cruise ship companies, including Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian, which are all headquartered in Miami, have decided not to put lifeguards on board their cruise ships for the protection of their passengers, especially young children. Employing lifeguards is an extra expense, and takes up extra cabin space on board the ship that can instead be used for the cruise ship company to sell an additional passenger ticket. There seems to us to be no valid reason not to have lifeguards on board cruises.
With the increasing number of drowning deaths reported on board cruise ships, I am sure that there will be additional pressures on the cruise ship industry to place lifeguards on board the ships to prevent future drownings.
Lack of Training
There are organizations that train lifeguards to follow standard procedures that have been developed to wreck any potential drowning situations and to assure rapid response and resuscitation efforts. In the case of a drowning, it is only minutes before a drowning victim is likely lost as far as the opportunity to save a life. The lifeguards must be very vigilant, following the 10/20 Protection Rule, a standard for lifeguards to follow at commercial pools. According to the rule, they must scan the area every few seconds, and respond to a drowning situation within a certain period of time.
Unfortunately, some drowning deaths on cruises have revealed that lifeguards have been inattentive, not following the standard rules and regulations applicable to train lifeguards, resulting in drowning deaths.
Filing a Wrongful Death Claim for a Cruise Ship Drowning Accident
Our firm has been successful in pursuing compensation for family members who have lost loved ones as a result of a drowning death associated with the cruise ship as well as those who have been injured as a result of a near-drowning, holding the cruise ship company accountable for failure to properly monitor the area, failure to recognize a drowning situation, and failure to properly respond to the drowning situation in a timely manner. We have also been successful in those cases involving an inattentive lifeguard who had not been scanning the area properly at the time.
With the increasing number of water attractions and the increasing number of children on board these mega cruise ships, it is more important than ever to press the cruise line industry to put lifeguards on the cruise ships.
I have spoken in the United States Congress about cruise ship safety and the need for increased legislation to govern the cruise ship industry in order to make it safer for the millions of passengers who vacation on cruise ships yearly.
Consult an Experienced Cruise Ship Drowning Lawyer
If you need any more information in about a drowning situation on a cruise ship, please do not hesitate to contact our Miami-based boating and cruise ship accident law firm. Our drowning accident attorneys have been helping passengers worldwide who have been injured or victimized on a cruise ship for over 30 years. We focus primarily on cruise ship and boating accidents so that we may utilize our expertise to obtain the best possible result for you.