Don’t Want to Fall Off a Cruise Ship? Read This
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
A journey on the high seas on a very large boat may not seem as fraught with danger as it was in the days of schooners and Spanish galleons. But the ocean is still not something you want to fall into from the deck of a ship.
Statistically speaking, the instances of passengers falling overboard are extremely low. According to a 2017 report compiled for the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), a cruise industry trade group, only about 19 souls fall into the water from cruise ships annually.
In 2016, specifically, the report cited a total of 12 overboard incidents involving both passengers and crew. When you consider that, in the same year, more than 24 million people took a cruise — not including crew members — the odds are pretty good you won’t go overboard. In fact, cruising today is one of the safest forms of travel available. But serious incidents do happen.
For readers who follow cruise news, it may seem like overboard incidents are happening more than ever. In March, for instance, a server onboard the Norwegian Epic sailing near the Bahamas caught sight of a female passenger jumping off the ship at night. She was rescued by the ship’s crew.
In July, a 33-year-old Norwegian Cruise Line crew member fell overboard off the coast of Cuba, spending a miraculous 22 hours in open water before his rescue by another cruise ship. The following month, a 46-year-old British woman, Kay Longstaff, plunged from a deck of another Norwegian ship into the Adriatic Sea about 60 miles from the Croatian coast. Fortunately, the open water Longstaff fell into was relatively warm — about 80 degrees Fahrenheit — which helped her survive 10 hours before she was retrieved by the Croatian Coast Guard.
Most recently, German pop singer Daniel Kueblboeck was reported missing at sea after going overboard from an AIDA Cruises ship sailing off the coast of Newfoundland.
Why People Go Overboard
You may be wondering how someone manages to fall off a massive, city-size cruise ship. Sadly, some incidents are malicious (think: being pushed). Other times, people deliberately leap overboard. Cruise ships do take measures to stop these scenarios.
“Safety regulations, including uniform minimum railing and balcony heights, and structural barriers are also in place to prevent passengers who are acting responsibly from simply falling off a cruise ship,” said Sarah Kennedy, a spokesperson for CLIA. “There are no known cases of someone acting responsibly who has accidentally fallen over the railing of a cruise ship,” she added.
Frankly, the circumstances surrounding overboard incidents, including the aforementioned reports, are often unclear.
“However uncommon, [CLIA] takes[s] seriously the possibility of guests engaging in unauthorized, risky activity that could lead to them going overboard,” Kennedy said.
“[Cruise lines] have been testing different types of systems in order to detect those instances and respond as quickly as possible,” she added. “These measures make use of video and other imaging technology, as well as enhanced training for crew.”
As to why Norwegian Cruise Line has recorded more overboard incidents of late than other lines? Probably not because the decks are littered with banana peels. We reached out to Norwegian for comment, but they referred us to back to CLIA.
5 Ways to Avoid Falling Overboard
Every traveler should want to avoid falling off a cruise ship, and there are absolutely measures you can take to stay planted safely onboard.
1. Think Before You Drink
Do not imbibe excessively and then swagger around the deck, or lean against the railing under the moonlight trying to locate the Big Dipper.
2. Never Replicate Scenes From “Titanic”
Sorry, Leo fans. That means no hanging precariously off the bow of a ship in a romantic gesture. It’s a good way to end up reenacting another scene from the classic film: the one where you’re floating around waiting to be rescued.
3. Don’t Strut Around in Deteriorating Weather
If you can’t open the door to the deck because it’s so windy, just stay inside. Say your ship gets caught in a hurricane, for example, or even in the upper reaches of the Beaufort scale and you’re outside on a slippery, exposed deck: The cruise lines won’t blame the weather for your tumble — they’ll file that away under “passenger behaving irresponsibly.”
4. Take Arguments Inside
If you find yourself in a threatening situation, move inside quickly and immediately alert a crew member.
5. Be “Slip Smart”
Go ahead: Don your towering stilettos for a fancy onboard dinner. But switch to sensible footwear for that postprandial al fresco stroll. Look for a true boat shoe, like the classic Sperry, which is known for its reliable wet and dry nonslip sole.
Feature image courtesy of the author.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants in the first three months of card membership.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Earn 50,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
- Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees