Cruise Ships Without Lifeguards: Shame On You!

NC: Cruise Shihp DrowningIn the last nine months, four children age 6 or younger have drowned or nearly drowned on cruise ships.

A 4 year child remains brain damaged after he nearly drowned on a Disney cruise ship, the Fantasy.  A 6 year old child is dead after drowning on a Carnival cruise ship, the Victory.  A 4 year old is dead and his 6 year old brother is seriously injured after similar tragedies on NCL's Norwegian Breakaway.  

Cruise passenger Joe Boris, age 39, witnessed the NCL tragedies. He is motivated to convince the cruise industry to provide greater protection to children.

WTSB quotes Mr. Boris saying: "How can this happen? Why was there no lifeguard on board?" Boris said. "These cruise ships are money-making cash cows and to (make you) pay $11 for one drink. There's no reason why they can't supply a lifeguard at the pools."

"They boast on how this is a $900 million vessel holding almost 4,100 passengers, 1,600 crew members and they always say safety is of course their number one priority.  

"I honestly have to say to them, shame on you," Boris said. "Shame on you because there's no reason you cannot have or you shouldn't have a lifeguard present on board those ships."

There is absolutely no excuse for a cruise line, which pays absolutely no U.S. income taxes, not to invest in lifeguards. a dime from every passenger would more than pay for the lifeguards.  Here are some of our recent articles:

Dangerous Disney Cruise Ship Swimming Pool: Thoughts from a Concerned Cruiser

Imperfect Parents & Corporate Irresponsibility: Why No Lifeguards on Disney Cruise Ships?

 

WFSB 3 Connecticut

Drowning Tragedy Aboard the Norwegian Breakaway: Where Are the Lifeguards?

NCL Norwegian BreakawayNews broke tonight that two small children were pulled from a pool from NCL's Norwegian Breakaway as the cruise ship was sailing from New York to the Bahamas this morning. 

Both children were unresponsive. The younger child (age 4) died on the cruise ship. The other child (age 6) reportedly was medevaced by the U.S. Coast Guard accompanied by his grandmother a nurse from the ship.   

WBTW aired a video (below) of the sad events.

This is the third event in the last nine months involving children who have drowned or were permanently injured in cruise ship swimming pools.

The first tragedy involved a young child (also 4 yeas old) who slipped under the water on the Disney Fantasy cruise ship and sustained brain damage. You can read our articles below:

Dangerous Disney Cruise Ship Swimming Pool: Thoughts from a Concerned Cruiser

Imperfect Parents & Corporate Irresponsibility: Why No Lifeguards on Disney Cruise Ships?

Swimming Pool Mishap on Disney Fantasy Sends 4 Year Old to Hospital

To Disney's credit, it subsequently began to assign lifeguards to the swimming pools on its cruise ships.

The second recent event involved the death of a young child who drowned on the Carnival Victory.  Our article is below:

6 Year Old Drowns on Carnival Victory Cruise Ship

There is never an excuse when a child drowns in a swimming pool operated by an amusement park or cruise ship. Protecting children is the joint obligation of the parents and cruise line. There needs to be a combination of both personal responsibility and corporate responsibility to take care of kids around a pool.  

The Breakaway is suppose to be one of the newer and bigger cruise ships NCL offers to the public.  It is a shame that NCL decided not to assign lifeguards to the pool from where the children were eventually pulled unconscious.  What lesson did NCL learn from the Disney and Carnival tragedies?

The cruise industry will collect between $35 and $40 billion a year, tax free, but NCL won't assign lifeguards to the public pools?      

NCL apologized. However, cruising families with children deserve reasonable care exhibited by the cruise lines and lifeguards to watch over the public pools, not after-the-fact apologies.   

 

Photo Credit: Wikipedia / Dickelbers

6 Year Old Drowns on Carnival Victory Cruise Ship

Carnival VictoryThe AP reports that a 6-year-old boy drowned in a pool on Carnival Victory cruise ship on Sunday. 

Carnival said that this was the first time a child drowned on one of its ships.  

But just last month a 41 year-old passenger drowned in one of the hot tubs on the Carnival Dream. 

We reported the last time a major cruise line experienced such an incident.  The Disney Fantasy has a small boy rendered brain damaged when he nearly drown.  You can read our articles:

Imperfect Parents & Corporate Irresponsibility: Why No Lifeguards on Disney Cruise Ships?

Dangerous Disney Cruise Ship Swimming Pool: Thoughts from a Concerned Cruiser

I was quoted by the AP about this latest fatality:

"There is a great deal of debate on whether cruise lines should have lifeguards, according to Jim Walker, a Miami maritime attorney . . . " 

"This involves the debate between personal responsibility and corporate responsibility," he wrote in an email to the Associated Press. "Yes, parents should have responsibility for watching their children but at the same time cruise corporations have a duty to watch over the parents and children and provide a reasonably safe place for them to have a family vacation."

Boy Involved in Near Drowning on Disney Cruise Ship Struggling to Recover

Arnold Palmer Hospital Orlando A number of readers have asked me for information about the little four year old boy who nearly drowned last week aboard the Disney Fantasy cruise ship.

Today there is a short article in the Orlando Sentinel indicating that the child may face "extensive brain damage" but his parents, "helped by their faith, remain optimistic their little 'warrior' will continue to recover." 

The boy, whose first name is "Chase," and his family are identified in the article.

The article makes reference to comments the parents are posting on a site to share personal health news as well as the family's Facebook page. 

Imperfect Parents & Corporate Irresponsibility: Why No Lifeguards on Disney Cruise Ships?

This weekend, there was a "near drowning" of a 4 year old boy on Disney's Fantasy cruise ship.  

The incident reportedly occurred during the afternoon when a family boarded the Disney cruise ship and before the ship sailed. The boy was pulled from the pool, apparently non-responsive, and had to be taken to an emergency room at the Cape Canaveral Hospital, and then airlifted to Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando. Fortunately this happened while the ship was in port so the child could be rushed to receive emergency medical treatment rather than a few hours later on the high Disney Fantasy Cruise Ship Pool Near Drowningseas where no such assistance would have been possible.

The latest word I heard was that the boy had survived, and was stable and recovering.

The parents of the child were reportedly not at the pool but arrived when the boy was rescued. The parents were soundly criticized by cruise fans on the Disney boards and the Cruise Critic on-line community.

People have posted comments on my article on Facebook criticizing the parents. Some say things like there are no lifeguards on any cruise ships, which all parents should know. Others say that the passenger ticket states that the cruise line does not accept any responsibility for liabilities arising out of swimming pools. Still other say that there are signs on cruise ships saying that there are no lifeguards on duty and that swimming is at the passenger's risk.

I understand the concept of personal and parental responsibility, having two boys who my wife and I are raising. But I also understand that the law also demands corporate responsibility as well. It's easy to criticize a parent when a child is injured; we are all perfect parents when it's not our child, aren't we? But I find that those people who are quick to blame parents when kids are injured and who talk incessantly about "personal responsibility" are the first to defend corporate malfeasance and use the term "personal responsibility" as code words for condoning the complete absence of "corporate responsibility."     

Cruise lines like Disney have legal responsibility to parents and children on Disney cruise ships. A "no lifeguard on duty" sign does not legally exonerate a cruise line, or a hotel, or an amusement park.  It simply raises the issue whether the sign was legally conspicuous enough to provide an effective warning to the parents.   

It is inexcusable for Disney not to assign multiple lifeguards around the ship's pools. Is it correct that Disney Cruise Line has no lifeguards at all?  If so, that's reckless. Yes, parents need to be responsible, but they will make errors. Reasonable safety can exist only when there is both personal responsibility and corporate responsibility. 

A friend brought to my attention that Disney advertises that it has well-trained lifeguards on its cruise ships and in its parks.

In a 2008 publication entitled Walt Disney Report on Safety, Disney states that it trains over 1,200 lifeguards a year, including on its cruise ships. Here's what Disney states:   

"Lifeguard Training"

"Together, the Disneyland® Resort, Walt Disney World® Resort and Disney Cruise Line® train more than 1,200 lifeguards a year to monitor activities at these venues."

"Our lifeguards must complete a thorough training program that exceeds most U.S. standards and includes both a water-skills test and up to 24 hours of basic training in water rescue techniques, CPR, basic first aid, oxygen administration and the use of AEDs. After completion of basic training, lifeguards must also perform four hours of in-service training each month, undergo eight hours of recertification Disney Resort Drowning Deathtraining every year and participate in frequent unannounced audits by one of the world's premier aquatic safety service providers."

Is this bait-and-switch?  Does Disney tell the public that its kid-friendly resorts and ships have well trained lifeguards but in reality it does not have any?

Last month, a 13 year-old boy died at a Disney amusement resort near Epcot which had no lifeguard. You can read about that death here.

Disney issued a statement after the dream-vacation turned into a nightmare. The Imperfect Parent quotes Disney saying that it was "saddened" by the death and " . . . our hearts go out to his family, friends and loved ones. We have reached out to his family to offer care and assistance during this difficult time.” 

Families don't need after-the-fact condolences.  They don't need "no lifeguard" signs. They need some of the 1,200 lifeguards who Disney claims it trains each year doing their jobs at the pools in the Disney resorts and on the Disney cruise ships so that no other children are killed or seriously injured when their parents are imperfect.

Have a thought? Join the discussion on our Facebook page about this issue

 

Photo Credits:

Disney Fantasy cruise ship pool - Fodors

Disney resort pool - Wikipedia via Daily Mail 

Swimming Pool Mishap on Disney Fantasy Sends 4 Year Old to Hospital

Disney Fantasy Cruise ShipNewspapers are reporting that a four year-old boy was pulled from a pool on the Disney Fantasy cruise ship, taken to Cape Canaveral Hospital, and then airlifted to Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando on Saturday afternoon. 

The incident occurred after the boy's family had boarded the ship and before it had left Port Canaveral in Brevard County,

Brevard County medical personnel arrived on the cruise ship to respond to the incident which occurred around 3:30 p.m. The incident was describes as a "potential drowning" at the family pool. The articles on line indicate the boy had a pulse when taken from the cruise ship.

Comments are being made on the on-line Disney message boards that the child’s parents were not in the pool when the accident happened but ran over while emergency rescuers worked on the boy. There was no lifeguard at this particular swimming pool although the cruise line positions lifeguards near the water-slides some cruisers are saying. 

April 1, 2013 Update: Imperfect Parents & Corporate Irresponsibility: Why No Lifeguards on Disney Cruise Ships? 

Photo Credit: Fodors

Passenger From Carnival Elation Drowns in Cozumel

A newspaper in Jacksonville reports that a local resident sailing on a Carnival cruise died earlier this week during a stop in Cozumel Mexico.   Andrew Wooten, age 50, was reportedly swept away by an undercurrent and drowned. 

Mr. Wooten was the president of Safety Awareness Firearms Education, a firm that conducts training. He was providing continuing education courses on the cruise. 

According to the newspaper, Wooten apparently drowned during an  excursion after sailing to Mexico on the Carnival Elation cruise ship. 

Cruise Passenger Drowns in Bahamas

Yesterday a U.S. cruise passenger drown in Grand Bahama during a cruise visit. The Eleutheran News reports that the passenger was age 61 and was from Pennsylvania. She was snorkeling with a family member and other cruise guests. The name of the cruise line and cruise ship was not released. 

Cruise Passenger Found Dead in Cayman Islands

Cruise Passenger Drowns - Cayman IslandsToday the Cayman News Service reports that yesterday afternoon a seventy one year old cruise passenger was found dead in the water near an area referred to as the "Sand Bar."  This is a popular location where tourists can swim in shallow water near stingrays.

Police have identified the cruise ship passenger as Mr. Samir Rizk of Raleigh, North Carolina.

According to this news source, a spokesperson for the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service said that just before 2:00 PM on December 6th, the local police police received a report that "a man had been found in the ocean, near to Coral Gardens, floating in the water by people who were on a boat at the Sand Bar."  

The boaters lifted the man onto their vessel, but found he was unconscious and non-responsive to CPR.  

The news source further reports that the Joint Marine Unit’s ‘Niven D’ went to the location and transported the man to the Yacht Club where paramedics were standing-by.  He was then taken to the Cayman Islands Hospital in George Town, but was found to be dead on arrival.

A post mortem examination is scheduled to take place on this Friday, December 9th.  There is no indication regarding the name of the cruise line or cruise ship on which the deceased passenger was sailing.  It is also unknown whether the passenger was on an excursion, or a tender, or swimming or engaged in water sports.

If you were on the cruise and have information regarding this incident, please leave a comment below.   

December 8, 2011 Update: The Raleigh News and Observer newspaper has an article where Mr. Rizk's brother described him as an excellent swimmer and marathon runner, having completed a marathon just two months earlier.  He questions how no one observed his brother in distress in such a popular and often crowded area.

 

Photo credit:  photos4travel / @patrix99

Crew Member in Critical Condition in Hawaii

Newspapers in Hawaii are reporting today that a twenty-seven year cruise ship employee was pulled from the water at Kalapaki Beach this afternoon.

The local police are saying that bystanders brought the man to shore and administered CPR.  Paramedics later continued CPR after arriving on the scene, and transported the crew member to Wilcox Hospital, where he is listed in critical condition.

The crew member is from an unidentified cruise ship docked in Nawiliwili Harbor which is the major port for Kauai.  If you are familiar with this incident and know what cruise ship the crewmember is from please leave a comment below.  
 

 

Carnival Passenger Dies While Snorkeling Off Bermuda

The Royal Gazette newspaper in Bermuda reports that a 79 year old cruise passenger died on Sunday while snorkeling about one mile offshore off the West End.

The newspaper indicates that man was a US citizen from Carnival's Fantasy cruise ship, and part of a tour group.  He was found in a “unresponsive state” in the water. 

A member of Carnival Cruise Lines "guest care team" reportedly was meeting with the victim's family. 

The comments to the article raise the issue whether the tour company had a policy in place requiring passengers to wear personal floatation devices (PFD's).

This is the second death of a cruise passenger in the waters of Bermuda recently.  In June 2011, a passenger from Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas died after going on a "helmet diving" in excursion with Hartley's Bell Diving off of Bermuda.  You can read that tragedy in Royal Caribbean Passenger Dies During Diving Excursion in Bermuda

September 22, 2011 Update:

The passenger has been identified as Joe Alston.

Three Year Old Child From Holland America Line's Zuiderdam Drowns in Half Moon Cay

A Christmas cruise ended in tragedy when a three year old girl from Holland America Line's Zuiderdam cruise ship reportedly drowned in HAL's private destination Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas.   The incident occurred on the afternoon of Christmas Eve, according to a newspaper in the Bahamas.