On October 13, 2013, a six-year-old boy drowned in a pool on the Carnival Victory. A spokesperson for the cruise line stated that this is the first time a child has drowned aboard a Carnival cruise ship.
However, in the past year, an adult drowned in a hot tub on the same vessel. Traditionally, cruise lines are not required to provide lifeguards around the pool areas. There has been an ongoing debate between corporate responsibility and personal responsibility regarding the pool safety of cruise guests.
Members of the Cruise Line Passenger Ship Committee of the Maritime Law Association feel that drownings are a foreseeable risk, and that lifeguards should be required around the pools. Cruise lines see it differently. They believe that each adult should be responsible for themselves, and that every parent should be responsible for their children.
Cruise line are fearful that once they begin to undertake the responsibility of placing lifeguards by the pools, their liability will increase for any injuries or deaths that result from onboard pool use. Currently, injury cases that occur in or around cruise ship pools are very difficult to win in court due to the open and obvious condition of the pool decks. Cruise industry insiders feel that, if lifeguards are required, the cruise lines’ responsibility would be extended to the decks, increasing exposure for slip and fall cases.
So, the debate continues.
Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net by cbenjasuwan
Mark Hanson, Esq. is the Director of Litigation at LaBovick Law Group. Mr. Hanson is respected for his aggressive representation in personal injury and admiralty. He was one of only seven attorneys statewide recognized in the Aviation, Admiralty & Maritime category.