Tragically, we read of passengers falling off cruise ships. This has caused some people to ask – “just how safe are cruise ships and could it happen to them?”
In my opinion, having been on very many cruises, it is virtually impossible to fall off a cruise ship by accident, under normal conditions. Guardrails come up to most people’s chest area and even if one were to run up against or be pushed accidentally onto the rail, its height would preclude falling over.
Many people are reported to have fallen overboard from cruise ships, mainly in the US – Caribbean part of the world. After investigation, they are usually listed as “no foul play” which is another way of saying “possible suicide”. Of course people can be thrown over, but this is not an easy task. Another possible scenario are hi-jinks with individuals sitting, climbing or trying to walk on the rail, this naturally could lead to disaster.
Cruise ships have video cameras on many decks that are monitored, but it is virtually impossible to monitor up to 60 or more cameras at the same time.
Some media are quick to point the finger and blame cruise lines. When the same thing happens on dry land it barely rates a mention. So unless you are over 7 feet high, don’t worry about falling off a cruise ship.
An important thing to remember is, in the unlikely event that you witness this happening, throw a lifebuoy over the side to mark the spot, call out loudly “man overboard”, then immediately call 911 (the emergency phone number on most ships manned 24/7) on one of the many phones placed around all cruise ships and report “man overboard”. In this case the scenario is that the bridge will stop the ship, go back and locate the buoy as a starting point and lower rescue craft to search. Naturally speed is of the essence for a satisfactory outcome. If, as a passenger you ever see other passengers skylarking or climbing on railings, immediately report the matter to security, you could prevent a tragedy.
“Man Overboard” is always covered in the mandatory safety drill held before departure on all cruise ships. As is the case with airline safety drills, it’s important to pay attention to the warnings and advice provided by the qualified staff.