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How common are overboard falls on cruise ships?

| May 22, 2020 | Maritime Law |

For many people, going on a cruise is a major vacation excursion. The idea of sailing on the open ocean and seeing far away places is something that they look forward to doing. Being on a huge boat is also a unique experience.

A cruise ship is like a floating community. It is very confined, and it is up to the staff to ensure the safety of everyone on board. Despite the best efforts, accidents still happen. One of the most sensationalized types of accidents is when a passenger falls overboard. If you are going on a cruise in the future, you may wonder if this type of accident happens a lot.

Not common

According to MarketWatch, falls overboard from cruise ships are not common at all. Even though these accidents make headlines, they are quite rare because there are many steps taken to ensure the safety of passengers and to prevent falls overboard. In addition, the industry reports the number of these accidents is declining with a 64% decline from 2009 to 2018.

The dispute

Cruise ship insiders claim that falls are always associated with passengers not following safety protocols or adhering to ship rules. They claim safety rails and other barriers prevent falls if passengers are responsible and not defying ship rules.

However, those who have had a loved one fall overboard dispute this claim. There are some cases with video evidence showing the person who fell overboard was not doing anything wrong at the time of the fall. They claim more needs done to protect passengers and that safety measures in place now are not adequate enough.