NBC News and local WPTV are reporting that a man has gone overboard from Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas last night. 

U.S. Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Ryan Doss says that search crews are looking for a man who "either voluntarily jumped or fell" from a cruise ship overnight near the Florida Keys. NBC News quotes Royal Caribbean saying that that the passenger had "climbed over a railing," based on an after-the-fact review of surveillance cameras.

Liberty of the SeasThe cruise ship returned to port in Port Everglades, Florida, as planned this morning.

The incident happened about 20 miles off Marathon, Florida.

A Coast Guard cutter out of Miami and a boat crew based in Marathon are searching for the passenger. 

Royal Caribbean has not installed an automatic man overboard system on the Liberty of the Seas, or any other of its cruise ships

This year, people have gone overboard from the Carnival Triumph, Carnival Glory, Star Cruises’ Super Star Libra, Celebrity Constellation, Princess Sapphire Princess, and Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas.

Update“A review of the ship’s closed-circuit camera footage observed a 47-year-old male guest from the U.S. climbing over the railing and going overboard from deck 12,” according to a press statement from Royal Caribbean International.

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Photo Credit: Hassocks5489 via Wikipedia Creative Commons 3.0

  • Mary Ohms

    So 6 people have fallen overboard this year. The average per year is 17 people out of 20 million who cruise. Most of those 17 are doing something very irresponsible. Let’s not blame, demonize and penalize the cruise lines for idiots who use poor judgement.

  • Mary:

    The average is 20 a year.

    Passengers and crew go overboard for a number of reasons. Some are thrown overboard. Some are heavily intoxicated because cruise lines grossly over-serve them (alcohol is a major profit center for cruise ships, Carnival makes $500,000,000 a year from pushing booze sales). Most are mysteries because the cruise lines, like Royal Caribbean, don’t comply with the law and install automatic man overboard systems.

    Your reference to “idiots” is disrespectful. You’re demonizing the dead while giving the law breaking cruise lines a pass.

  • Mary, agreed, anyone that does go overboard does so on their own… You don’t just “Slip” overboard, there are railings to stop you from that. Maybe, just maybe if a gale force wind suddenly whips up and sweeps you off deck, but those are usually closed off before it gets that strong up there.
    Jim, if you choose to drink, its YOUR responsibility to drink responsibly. Blaming the alcohol is like blaming a train that you step in front of. You, and only you are responsible for your own actions, especially with alcohol.
    If the cruise line is breaking the law by not installing a monitoring system, why haven’t they been cited/fined? Kind of doubtful that this is a law, or they would have complied.

  • Darin

    I suspect that while alcohol is a major profit center for the cruise ship industry, litigating these companies is a major profit center for you. I don’t begrudge either as you are both for-profit businesses.

    I would be interested in knowing the time frame from the time this subject allegedly went overboard to the time he was reported missing.

    Thanks for the informative website.

  • John:

    Yes, there is a law. The Cruise Vessel Safety & Security Act of 2010.

    Cruise lines regularly break the law. Dumping garbage and plastics overboard, exceeding hi-sulfur limits, and breaking other environmental regulations is a common occurrence.


  • Peter McFarland

    20 or 17 does not make a difference to the percentage out of 20 million passengers. Every death is a tragedy which would probably not be prevented even with MOB systems. Ships this size cannot stop on a dime and the chances of finding the bobbing head near the empty life ring in the vast choppy Ocean is minimal, as proven by this incident. These systems are not the magic pill for ships that you seem to think they are, although they may be a slight improvement over the current system. I do not know any provable statistics of whether people jump, are pushed, are drunk or are just doing something incredibly stupid. If you have a source that proves how people end up overboard please quote it. I am sorry for this family’s loss.

  • CR

    Just to clarify, the law referenced is a US law, so non-US flagged ships are the issue here. So, while there is a law, the question is one of jurisdiction. If Mexico enacted a law requiring all cruise ships to carry at least 1000 lifeguards, would it apply to US, The Bahamas or Panamanian flagged ships (for example)? (And the reason for so few non-US flagged and built ships is another issue entirely).

    Always enjoy the info!

  • Lorena

    I Was on this ship:( we went to deck after we were told that was ok to leave our stateroom..
    I asked this morning one of the crew members about the person that overboard the ship, I was told that was a man on his mid 30s that was on the cruise with a couple friends, apparently he broke up with his girlfriend before he took the cruise and he was drunk.. Whatever the reason he had to climbed does not justified the reason why there are not enough security guards on the decks or any other type of safety precautions to avoid this type of incidents.. To be honest, I don’t even think this man istill alive..
    God bless him and his love ones!!

  • Thomas

    Where is personal responsibility nowadays, accountability, how about common sense. Even for the cruise lines. If a server has any suspicion of a minor being served alcohol by an adult passenger. Or knows something dangerous or unethical is going on, it should be investigated immediately. If a passenger is found breaking the law, or refuses to comply with safe sailing rules. They should be dropped off at the next port and they can find their own transportation home. AND THEY CAN BLAME THEIRSELVES

  • Dale

    Doesn’t the provision of the law which requires video surveillance and sound systems only apply to ships built after June 2012?

  • There currently is no automatic man overboard system on most cruise ships. They are reliant on a crew member or passenger spotting a person going overboard at night. It they don’t see the person, and they usually don’t, the cruise ship just keeps on sailing.

    The CVSSA compliant automatic man overboard systems are very sophisticated. They aren’t reliant on the passengers or crew. They will help save lives if the cruise lines invest in them.

  • CR:

    The CVSSA applies to foreign flagged cruise ships which enter U.S. waters like the Liberty of the Seas flagged in the Bahamas.

  • Shel Perlin

    Yes, it’s a sad day when someone decides to take the plunge overboard. I have sailed over 65 times on various cruise lines and have seen what alcohol does to those not responsible enough to hold there own. Since I do not consider myself politically correct, and feel you are responsible for your own actions, then you have to face your consequences. Cruise lines are in business to make a profit, just like attorneys. Now granted their profit margin is more than the average bear, it is still a business and bending the rules, unfortunately are part of it. I surly feel bad about those that have lost a life, or a loved one, even for an act of stupidly, but unless it was caused by other means i.e. violence etc. Then they have no one to blame but them selves. I certainly hope they find the poor soul so the family can have closure.

  • lisa

    It is a tradegy when someone loses their life. I dont blame the cruise companies. These people are old enough to know how much they can have for alcohol and where are the friends at? I’m sorry liquor is not a excuse for acting irresponsible
    I feel they went on these cruises knowing exactly what they were going to do.

  • Lynn

    Mary, you are very disrespectful and ignorant in calling these people idiots, especially when you have absolutely no idea of what the facts are. I believe the majority of these incidents arise as a result of suicide. Maybe you are lucky enough to not have known anyone suffering from mental illness but let me assure you, you are much more an idiot then they ever would be! Regardless of the circumstances you have no business calling anyone but yourself an idiot because that would be the truth!!!

  • Julie

    While it is sad whenever this happens, when will society realize that we cannot install systems that protect everyone from everything – especially themselves? If this man truly was suicidal, nothing anyone could have said or done would have stopped him. Even if the ship had a man overboard system, the fall from the 11th or 12th deck would most likely have killed him on impact – or at least knocked him unconscious. Stopping the ship takes time. Deploying lifeboats takes time. Finding this man under water would have been near impossible. If this man had not been on a ship, he may have chosen to jump in front of a train. We simply cannot protect everyone from their own choices.

  • Steve

    I was on this ship as well. The guy was in a cabin directly two decks above mine. There’s really no way that you can prevent someone from jumping off a ship that size. His cabin had a balcony and he could have jumped from there as well. I’ve cruised many times and it’s relatively safe if you follow the rules. This person clearly had issues that he was having trouble dealing with. The sad part is that other people had to risk their lives in the middle of the night to try and search for him. It’s a vast ocean and just about impossible to find someone in the water in the dark. We hope his family can cope with the untimely loss.

  • Jan

    I was on this ship as well. I can tell you that both the crew and it’s passengers were calm and overcome with concern and compassion. Something must have been troubling this man. May he be free of whatever it was that caused this tragedy. May those who love him find comfort. As for Royal Caribbean, I’ll gladly travel with them and not worry about my safety.

  • Anika

    I was on the ship when this happened. Supposedly from reports that went around the ship it was a 36-42 year old veteran with PTSD, and was confirmed that he himself jumped overboard off of deck 12, and a small boy saw him, and ran back inside the arcade area, and yelled that a man just jumped off the ship. On top of that, if you had a balcony room like I did, you could hear on the deck 9 balcony, a women, screaming and crying out for Frank, who was the guy that jumped over board, and when they did a head count and went on the intercom asking for Frank to return to his cabin, he never did. It was a really scary experience bc he jumped from 12 floors, into cold water, and ultimately when he hit that water, he more than likely broke a few bones if not broke his neck if he landed head first, and within the 2 minutes it took from him jumping off to the boy telling someone what happened, to the captain turning the ship around, he was already pushed around so much by the water and currents, and probably was sadly taken under the boat, bc he jumped off close to where the propellers were located and then large groups of big fish/similar shark looking fish, start swimming around one area as well. In my opinion, I don’t think he jumped to intentionally die, bc when you PTSD esp from being in the navy or any military branch, anything that triggers you to have an episode can have an extreme outcome. Maybe he jumped bc he was having an episode that he was back at war, and needed to fulfill a duty, and just did it, on top of that if he was drinking there’s no way he would’ve comprehended what he was doing. He was mentally unstable, and i think personally, mental health checks should be done first before anyone boards or signs up/registers to aboard a cruise ship, but either way I wish for the best for the family that they find inner strength and peace over this, and I pray that they do find some type of closure and that God is with them at this time. & for the child that witnessed this unforgettable image. Very sad ending to a very good vacation. smh..

  • John

    I too was on board and must say it was a very organized shut down of the ship, albeit only temporary. The crew did an outstanding job. From a safety perspective however, the ratio of security personnel to drink servers is blatantly irresponsible.

  • Shel Perlin

    After some checking rumor has it that this person was a Vet and was suffering from PTSD. He was on Deck 12, climbed over the rail and went over. Very Sad.

  • Loren

    I was on this cruise as well. It was very upsetting and a horrible thing to happen- I feel so terribly sad for the family of this man, I just can not imagine being so completely helpless and unable to do anything at all for a family member. I will say that I have always felt 100% safe onboard any cruise on a major line like RCCL. These things can happen and unfortunately there is no way to have enough security to watch everyone all the time. If someone is determined enough to jump off a ship in the dark, well that person has issues that are out of anyone’s control. I certainly don’t blame the cruise line. It did feel very strange and in a sense disrespectful to get “back to normal” afterwards though- after about 3 hours everything came back on- casinos open back up,music on, etc. It felt weird and not right. Someone is dying in the ocean and it’s back to party time? Doesn’t seem right to me.

  • His daughter… She does not deserve to be orphaned, I know someone who knows her. Although if there is a risk for drunk people to go over the rails(I’m not sure if he was drunk, I don’t think so though) they should make sure the bars are not easy to get pass

  • Patti

    I second everything Jan said. I was also a passenger onboard. My heart is broken for the family. The crew and passengers handled it in the best way possible under the circumstances.

  • dee moss

    i was also on the ship and the cruise line did a fantastic job. the calm and comerarderie was outstanding I was told that it was a man in his 40s who was a vet suffering from PTSD and drinking, He jumped at the back of the ship where it is easy to go without being hurt or slowed down. all other parts of the ship have awnings and structures. If he jumped as the video proved he did he knew what he was looking for.
    the crew and passengers were calm and complied with all things asked for.
    The cabin stewarts swiftly accounted for all of their passengers and the captain kept all of us with updates. The guy jumped and we heard about this in the dining room within 8 minutes the ship turned back maybe with 3 minutes of the event. Royal Carribean should have an immediate notification but the boy who saw this mid air event was taken seriously and notified teh authorities within seconds. You can not blame the cruise line for someone making the decision to commit suicide. we are all sorry for the loss of this passenger and his family. The thing that i heard on deck was spoken from teenagers they didnt want to drink in the future they didnt want to ever experience this/
    Who knows if he was drunk -depressed or suffering a PTSD moment. Also heard he was married and his wife was in the cabin. Lots of stories but the saddness remains. Royal Carribean did a fantastic job

  • ~~

    For those saying that you can’t prevent someone from commenting suicide, you are correct. If they can’t do it one way the will try another. No one was expecting it. He was not married but recently exited a relationship, the woman in the cabin was a close friend of his. Unfortunately he has now left orphans but it’s still not his fault. Please try to remain hopeful for his family to find the body.

  • David Weinraub

    I was on board as well. As others have noted, someone saw the man jump and reported it, and the ship immediately stopped and summoned help. Automated man-overboard systems are utterly irrelevant here because the presence of such a system would not have made one iota of difference. Anyone discussing such systems in connection with this incident is either confused or pursuing their own agenda.

    This is a very sad situation for the guy, his family and his friends, but let’s not turn it into something it wasn’t. He wasn’t an “idiot” — the circumstances suggest that he knew exactly what he was doing and chose the highest deck and the last night of the cruise to do it. But this isn’t a “big bad cruise line” case.

  • Jordan Kronen

    I am 14 and I was on the cruise ship. I was sleeping when it happened but when my dad woke me up it was pretty scary. It kind of made me scared it could happen to me or someone from my family.

  • Sherry whidden

    As we read all the onboard cruiser reports, me included..I was in the casino and I was standing next to a security individual and I heard the OSCAR OSCAR OSCAR this is not a drill from his walkie talkie. A moment later a number of security started running at full speed. Throughout the evening the Capt. kept us fully advised , as we were told to immediately leave our locations and remain in our cabins until further notice.Onevcould hear his upset tone in his voice. So many rumors. What I was told by someone who also ” from the corner of my eye” “the guy moved one of the deck chairs close to the railing, stood on the deck chair, and over he went. How sad. The staff responded with efficiency and sigleness of purpose. A Royal Canadian vessel was first on sight and assisted in the initiation of the search, followed by an USCG chopper and vessle. The ship was unusually quiet and folks were shaken. I to pray for his family and send condolences.

  • eli

    I was on a cruise 2 days ago so i know that it’s not very hard to fall over if you are not carefull. The odds of falling may theoretical increase if you are intoxicated, I presume.

  • Maria

    Many people go to end in here, by their own will, in a river or at sea, and in the world cruise i did many went with no approval from their docs, still tho they went to it, and died during it, was 1 in the fridge every 15 days AT LEAST

  • Dale

    So I guess Jim will now sue the cruise line for not screening every passenger for PTSD and offering counselling before boarding. Those damn money hungry cruise lines will let anybody on.

  • Kristoffer

    Hey David and Dale, I bet your IP addresses come from Royal Caribbean HQ. Shills gonna shill.

  • Dale

    Kristoffer, Don’t know why you would draw that conclusion. I’m just an objective guy who believes in personal responsibility.

  • passenger

    I too was on the cruise. I was actually watching a show in one of the theater’s with friends we came with. We had a person that was not with us during the announcement. Needless to say we were in a frantic looking for them when we heard someone went overboard. I cannot imagine what their friends or family were going through. They actually let the show “go on…and let it end” before they announced someone went over. I do not know the time frame of when they got the announcement and relayed it to us.

    I will also say that the cruise did seem to take control and reacted rather quickly,however, I cannot for the life of me understand how you only look for someone for three hours, and move on. If that had been my family member that fell, jumped, or whatever and we stop looking for three hours, I would have been irate and out of control. Now please understand, there were a lot of boats looking for this individual, but it still makes no sense to me. I know that he likely died on impact, and if not probably drown, but what if? It was also very calm that night. I also had a balcony, and watching the crew controls the spot lights, well lets just say, I wondered if they were partly falling a sleep during their search. Shine it on a spot for 10 minutes move the light…………..not move the light for another 20 minutes and move it again. I also feel their was not enough spot lights on the boat. JMO. My heart and prayers goes out to the family…………RIP

  • Jonathan

    This is a very sad story as many are that I read on this blog. I feel like a lot of the people on here attacking Mr. Walker for his stance on the automatic man overboard system. This blog reports cruise law and cruise news. The purpose is to inform the public of cruise related incidents is it not? There have been so many articles in regards to this issue. In this isolated incident it appears that the man committed suicide which is tragic. The point Mr. Walker is trying to make is that automatic man overboard system’s should have been in place but were not, as is the point in all articles pertaining to this issue. Yes, people need to take responsibility for themselves just as RCCL and other cruise lines need to take responsibility and follow the law. It’s for safety, it’s a no brainer. You all claim to be so smart. Can any of you honestly give me one good reason that installing automatic man overboard systems is not a good idea?

  • FamilyFriend

    While you all are bantering about PTSD, alcohol and suicide WITHOUT KNOWING ANY ACTUAL FACTS, understand there IS A FAMILY that deserves the right to mourn their loss, or have hope for a miracle, since they, unlike MOST of the people commenting, HAVE been given ACTUAL FACTS, NOT ASSUMPTIONS by on board passengers and media. Please let them have the peace and respect EVERY SINGLE PERSON deserves when the VERDICT IS NOT YET IN… LET THEM HAVE HOPE.. or let them them grieve… each of you would want it if it were your father, brother, son…

  • Chris

    I was also on this ship with my family. 1st I would like to send our prayers to the family of the man who went over. 2nd I believe the staff and crew did an excellent job handling this situation. 3rd I had to wait 15 min every time I ordered a drink so I do not believe the cruise ship is pushing drinks down everyone’s throats as it has been suggested, I would have drank way more if the service was better or the if it had not been 15 bucks for a drink. 4th a man overboard system really would not have changed this situation at all it was our understanding that this man jumped of his own free will and the impact alone was probably enough to kill someone so unless the cruise ships install safety netting all the way around the ship I do not see how Royal Caribbean could have changed this mans fate. And lastly HOW CAN YOU ACCIDENTALLY FALL OFF OF A SHIP? The railings are over 4 feet high even drunken stumbling it would be nearly impossible to fall over, you would have to be seven foot tall and very top heavy for this to happen, we have been on two cruises and I have never felt like I was in danger of falling overboard.

  • aj

    I also was on the Liberty. The captain asked everyone to return to their cabins for a head count. It was done very quickly, a crew member checked each cabin to verify if the occupants were accounted for. We had a balcony cabin. I will never forget the three hours we spent on that balcony! As you looked around, every balcony was filled with people searching the water. You could hear a few whispers, but for the most part you could hear a pin drop, and we’re talking about thousands of people. Everyone was so respectful. It was so solemn and sad!! We also questioned why we only searched for three hour, I think every life boat should have been dropped down to aid in the search. Only saw one helicopter, one large cruiser and a few smaller vessels. The ship also needs to have many more search lights, only saw one from the front of the ship. This is the second cruise that we have been on that had a man overboard. The first man was found seven hours later. I fear that a fall from deck 12 would be fatal, especially since we saw sharks in the water near the ship.

  • Dale

    Jonathan, I don’t think anyone here thinks it’s a bad idea. At least I haven’t read a post that suggests that. (Could have missed it though)

  • David Weinraub

    Jonathan, I think you’re misunderstanding. I take no position on whether automatic man-overboard systems should be in place. It seems like a good idea, but I don’t know enough about the issue to say. But on this blog and elsewhere, the lack of a man-overboard system is being cited in a way that suggests it was a factor in this particular guy’s death. And that’s ridiculous.

    If anything, this incident undercuts the importance of man-overboard systems by illustrating that even when an immediate alarm is raised, you’re unlikely to find or save a person who’s gone overboard. I know there are counter-examples, like the guy who fell of one cruise ship and was picked up by another hours later. And again, I don’t know enough about this to say which scenario is more likely. I just don’t like the accusatory tone here because it doesn’t match my experience as a passenger who saw the rescue efforts.

  • passenger

    I was also on board this cruise and very bothered by the short amount of time the vessel spent searching. Perhaps if they didn’t have to use up so much fuel to get us to Cozumel on time, due to “cleaning” that delayed our departure, they could have searched longer. As others have speculated, from that height it probably wouldn’t have made a difference, but I can’t help but wonder. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.

  • David Weinraub:

    You should take a few minutes and educate yourself regarding the capabilities of modern automatic man overboard systems.

    Take a look at MoBtronics:


    The system not only detects a person going overboard but tracks them in the water. A person seeing an overboard typically loses site of the person in the water. The system has radar and computer tracking capabilities which follow the person in the water. This greatly enhances a rescue.

    There have been many, many cases of people going overboard from upper decks and surviving, as well as people who intentionally jump due to psychological issues but are not necessarily intending to commit suicide. People intending jumping need just as much help as a person thrown overboard or someone who goes overboard while intoxicated.

    Perhaps you should have at least a minimal understanding of MOB systems before you reject the proven capabilities of these systems as “ridiculous.”

  • David Weinraub


    Thanks for the response. You make a valid point. I had not realized MOB systems had those capabilities. I’m still not convinced it would have made any difference here but was wrong to discount the possibility as ridiculous.

  • Eve Boykins

    I too was on the ship and Royal Caribbean acted quickly. We were having dinner and felt the boat tip to the side. I went to ask what was going on and they stated someone had jumped over. My kids and I finished our dinner went to deck four and saw the boats and lights on. They were searching form him. They acted quickly in my opinion. Once they accounted for everyone they allowed us to leave our staterooms. It was very sad and you could tell everyone was bothered by it.

  • The Moores

    This man was a dear friend of our family. We are still in complete shock. It just doesn’t make sense to those of us who knew him well. Did anyone happen to interact with (or even see) Frank the hour leading up to him going overboard? I don’t know if we will ever know “why”‘ but we are just trying to get some sense of closure…

  • Rene Van Hout

    1. I was Franks companion on the cruise. It was me that was screaming for him from our balcony.
    2. It was NOT suicide.
    3. He DID NOT have PTSD.
    4. We spent the entire day celebrating and he WAS severely over-served, had not eaten or had water since breakfast, 11 hours earlier. He was in a extreme drunken stooper/incoherent.

  • Michelle

    Rene, I too was on the ship and was shook up by what happened. I can not even imagine what you went through and continue to endure. My thoughts and prayers are with you and Frank’s family.

  • Gary

    I was on the ship as well. It was a very somber feeling as the crew and Coast Guard were searching the waters. The crew acted very professionally and the Captain sounded very distressed. Once the individual was identified, the Cruise Director came on the P.A. and in his obnoxious cheerful voice announced that the Casino and Bars are now opened again. I guess business trumps tragedy.

  • LML

    Rene, with all do respect. I would never leave my companion drunk and incoherent by alone and when you’re drunk you don’t jump off the boat…you may fight someone but you do not get drunk and feel the need to jump off the boat.

  • Will

    LML .. that is utterly ridiculous ..saying blah blah I would never leave drunk friend alone . No one would expect something like that and I am sure Rene can do without a moronic comment like that .. you dic .. with do respect and Jim why do they not just have safety cargo nets around the ships ?? Lower them at sea and raise in port ??

  • Jim

    I came back from a cruise last nite which was to Alaska. I had a balcony room. I would think that is a horrible scary way to die. I have been severely depressed from forced Early Retirement and certain past spending decisions over a certain time period. Its like I am a different person wondering what I was thinking then. I was with my wife and while the thought of someone jumping came to my mind it is something I would never do nor leave my wife (a breast cancer survivor in that situation). I was laid off (financial mgt) April 14, 2015 (no hint it was coming)found a job a week later then fired from it on trumped up reasons (taking that job cost me two good interview opportunities) a day after my 65th birthday. I have had to have zanex at times to get to sleep. She had scheduled the cruise months before at the worst possible, bad luck time in my life but I went with the intention of holding myself together although haunted continually by the situation – worry the depression “garbage truck” etc. I had suffered a major depressive episode in 2004 but recovered after 45 days. I feel for the individual and family. I remember a gentleman asking me in a washroom if I had enjoyed the cruise and I said ok and he looked at me strangely. I can see how people might contemplate jumping (especially if out of control) but self preservation kept me from ever seriously considering it.

  • Will

    Jim , why cant they just lower boom cargo nets around the ships at sea , so simple ?

  • Maria

    I was there on the ship at that time! I knew it was a guy.