When the subject of cruise ship accidents arise, what might immediately come to mind is the most famous maritime disaster of them all: the wreck of the Titanic in 1912. But in all reality, there are dozens of mishaps and problems associated with modern day cruises that occur every year. Some of them are enough to simply annoy passengers, and yet others can be fatal, such as an ill-fated cruise that took place in China not too long ago.
Says the professionals at Stein Law Injury Lawyers, a 2015 sightseeing cruise along the Yangtze River held more than 450 passengers, most of whom were senior citizens and retirees. After a serious storm occurred that possibly included severe winds from a nearby tornado, the boat capsized. In the end, only 14 passengers survived the tragedy. Later on, it was determined that the vessel’s top-heavy engineering put it at serious risk of losing its balance.
Obviously, the surviving travelers and the families of the deceased had a serious lawsuit on their hands and most consulted with reputable personal injury lawyers to receive the financial compensation they deserved. If there is a golden lining to the Yangtze disaster, such incidents are rare in the 2020s. However, that doesn’t mean you should ignore safety protocols when you step aboard a cruise ship.
According to a recent report by Tripadvisory company Cruisecritic, the million dollar question is this: Are cruises safe? This is said to be one of the most common questions from both first-time cruisers and seasoned cruising veterans alike. As luck would have it, the answer is a good one. Cruising in the 2020s is said to be one of the safest forms of travel, and most cruises occur without incident, much less a capsizing.
That said, how can cruise ships keep you safe once you’re onboard and have pulled away from port? Here are some ways that cruise ships keep crew and passengers very safe along with some tips on keeping yourself safe and sound.
How Modern Cruise Ships Keep Passengers and Crew Safe
While accidents involving cruise ships are uncommon, they do happen, nonetheless. Cruise ships are required to go through regular inspections by the U.S. Coast Guard which seeks out any safety issues or irregularities that could pose potential concern. Also, the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Protection make regular inspections as a part of its stringent Vessel Sanitation Program.
Cruise ships, no matter their country of origin, must operate under international rules known as SOLAS, or Safety of Life at Sea. This organization monitors and regulates everything from maritime security, to navigational practices, to fire safety. Cruise lines are also expected to abide by local government laws when they call on ports located in countries outside the U.S.
While small problems can arise on a modern-day cruise ship like propulsion issues, or even small engine room fires, cruising remains a safe mode of transport. With that clearly in mind, what are some tips for keeping yourself safe?
Regulate Your Alcohol Intake
Alcohol consumption is said to be a common denominator when it comes to personal safety incidents occurring on cruises. You need to go easy on the drinking and be aware of your limitations. Since there’s plenty of alcohol onboard, it’s not hard to get carried away.
Be wary of strangers buying you drinks, and never accept an offer from someone you don’t know who wishes to walk you back to your cabin.
Buddy Up if Cruising Solo
If you’ve decided to take a cruise all by yourself, it pays to find a friend whom you can trust early on. Not everyone who is traveling on the big boat is as friendly as they appear. You become less of a target when buddying up than you would by being alone all the time.
Do not make a point of telling people you’re traveling alone. You should not occupy solitary areas late at night. Make sure to have a buddy around as often as possible, especially after the sun goes down.
Use Your Cabin Balcony Safely
The obvious rule here is not to fall off your balcony, in which case you will likely drown at sea. While there is nothing better than listening to the waves lapping the hull while you gently fall to sleep, it’s a better idea to keep the balcony door locked during the night, especially if you’ve been drinking.
Make a thorough check on the balcony prior to going to sleep. Do not leave the balcony door open when you are not in your room, especially if you are docked in a foreign port. You never know who might sneak on board and make your vacation at sea a tragic one.
In the end, cruising is a wonderful, exciting, and safe way to see the world. But that doesn’t mean you must ignore some basic safety precautions to keep yourself safe and sound while at sea.
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Last Updated on January 3, 2024