Cruise expert Professor Ross Klein’s website contains interesting comments from a passenger from the Carnival Triumph regarding what some thought was a man overboard situation. 

The passenger commented that on February 6th, while the cruise ship was docked in  Progresso, Mexico, the cruise ship’s PA speaker blared “Bravo,Bravo Starboard.”  A lifeboat was lowered to the water and 5 – 10 minutes later, retrieved what the passenger thought was a body in the water.  The passenger took a photo of the "body," which you can see was wearing a life vest.

Another person commented that this was apparently a drill involving a rescue dummy.  If you look closely at the enlarged photo you can see that this is not a real person – although it may have appeared to be from a far distance.

Nothing apparently was told to the passengers either before or after the exercise.  It seems strange to perform a rescue operation like this without notifying the passengers.  It’s a good way to unnecessarily alarm them during what should be a relaxing cruise.

It made me wonder how often these type of drills are performed.  Are they "surprise" drills, made without any advance notice to the crew to see how they perform?   Are announcements made to the passengers?   Does anyone have information about these type of drills? 


Cruise Ship Man Overboard

Story/Photo Credit:  Professor Ross Klein / CruiseJunkie


  • Harry

    I’ve wondered about these drills when I’ve been on a cruise. Many years aga I was in the Coast Guard serving on one of their High Endurance Cutters. We had many drills – all were “surprise”. In every case the drill was proceeded by “This is a drill, this is a drill, this is a drill” and then the information followed as if it were a real event. All acted as if it were a drill, but all knew that we were making sure we knew what to do in the real situation. I never have been able to understand why the cruise ships wouldn’t follow a similar policy.

  • kyle

    Aloha Jim,
    I work on the Norwegian Pride of America and yes, we do have many drills. we as an american flagged vessel are closely monitored and regulated by the USCG, and we have our weekly crew drill where we exercise our duties, im on medical team and simulate real emergencies. Throwing a dummy over the side is us simulating a Code Oscar, man overboard. we have simulated this while in port or leaving honolulu at night. how else do we get trained for real emergencies, guests should feel safer. a Code bravo is FIRE, delta is damage to the ship( a la cncordia) papa is polution i.e oil or fuel in water. alpha is for medical. anyways, we train over and over sometimes there’s 4 random drills a week. my two cents. mahalo 🙂

  • Mike

    If a drill is anounced it is no longer a drill. The crew needs to respond as if it were a real emergency so they can learn how to improve. One of the problems with dealing with the public is that they want to put the blame on anyone they can if you are not prepared. But if you inconvenience them trying to prepare, that is no good either.

  • Sue

    I’m just glad they do these drills! As a former school teacher, I thought we over did it with the fire and tornado drills. The day that the alarms went off and it wasn’t a drill, was proof that practice makes perfect!