How common are overboard falls on cruise ships?

On Behalf of | Aug 19, 2020 | Admiralty & Maritime Law

Taking a cruise can be a wonderful vacation that allows you to explore various locations in one trip. Cruise ships, though, often get a bad reputation when it comes to safety.

One of the biggest fears is falling overboard. While this is a risk you take on any ship, National Geographic explains that it is a very rare occurrence for a passenger to fall overboard on a cruise ship.

The statistics

In the past 20 years, only about 300 people have fallen overboard. When you see that the average number of people who take cruises each year is about 20 million, then you can understand why falling overboard is not a huge concern. The low statistics tell you that, while a scary thought, you will not likely suffer this fate.

Causes of falls

The idea of falling overboard is quite scary because of the high potential for death, but most passengers are not at risk at all. Most falls occur due to bad decisions on the part of the passenger, such as becoming too intoxicated or not adhering to safety guidelines.

Safety measures

Cruise ship crews take many precautions to prevent overboard falls. The ship has a design that features tall barriers that prevent you from simply leaning over and falling. You would have to climb the barrier to be at risk, which is a violation of safety rules.

In addition, the ship’s crew has orders to prevent you from becoming too intoxicated. Bartenders have the right to stop serving you if they feel you have drunk too much.

While there is no fall detection system that would send an automatic alert to the crew, cruise ships do take passenger safety seriously, and there is work to develop this type of system, which would likely reduce the overboard numbers even more.

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