Two weeks ago, we reported that Royal Caribbean was posting a job description for a lifeguard on an onboard crew TV channel on one of its cruise ship (Ovation of the Seas).
We viewed this as good news after at least five passengers, mostly children, have drowned or nearly drowned in the numerous pools on the Royal Caribbean ships. Its refusal to previously acknowledge that its we-don't-use-lifeguards policy was literally killing children was particularly frustrating to see.
It now seems clear that the cruise line appears committed to ending its ill conceived swim-at-your-own-risk policy. This weekend several people notified me that the cruise line is publicly advertising the lifeguard and lifeguard manager jobs on several sites on the internet, such as here and here.
These job postings link to a program called Star Guard Elite, which touts a "complete aquatic risk prevention and lifeguard training system unmatched in the industry." Last month, the Star Guard Elite website offered the job of a cruise ship lifeguard manager with Royal Caribbean. Its Facebook advertisement says: "Have you ever wanted to live on a cruise ship and see the world? We are looking for the best and brightest Aquatics Managers to join our project with Royal Caribbean."
This program is a product of IAM Star Guard Elite. "IAM" is the acronym for Innovative Attraction Management, LLC. IAM offers aquatic services including the providing of lifeguards as well as management, consulting, and risk prevention services. It consults with a wide variety of water parks in the U.S. IAM also provides litigation support as part of its risk management services.
Not coincidentally, at the end of this month, IAM is offering an aquatics conference aboard the Royal Caribbean Majesty of the Seas as well as at Atlantis, Paradise Island when the Royal Caribbean ship calls on the port of Nassau.
It seems that last year IAM StarGuard Elite joined the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association where it advertised CPR, AED, and water awareness services to cruise line excursion operators.
Although the cruise line has not publicly announced its association with IAM StarGuard Elite program, it seems that Royal Caribbean is finally headed in the right direction. So kudos to them. It reinforces my opinion that today's gigantic cruise ships with multiple swimming pools, water sides and jacuzzis are much more like a water park (which require lifeguards pursuant to state law) than a hotel (which typically doesn't). Without lifeguards, future deaths of children on the increasingly huge Royal Caribbean ships with H2O parks, swimming pools and theme-park-like water attractions, seem certain.
So Royal Caribbean will join Disney as the only cruise lines with a demonstrated commitment to keeping children safe around pools at sea. Hopefully, other cruise lines will quickly follow suit.
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Photo credit: Boy drowns on Royal Caribbean - Jacab Priplett via Twitter via NY Daily News.