How to Survive Falling from a Cruise Ship in Open Ocean

Posted on Wednesday, May 15th, 2024 at 6:17 pm    

How to Survive Falling from a Cruise Ship in Open Ocean Image

Cruise vacations offer a chance to relax, unwind, and enjoy breathtaking ocean views. But sometimes, the unthinkable happens — a passenger falls overboard into the vast, open sea. While falling from a cruise ship may seem like a death sentence, quick thinking and a clear survival strategy can make the difference between life and death.

At Louis A. Vucci P.A., we understand the risks of ocean travel. We want our clients to feel empowered with the knowledge to stay safe on their voyages. Our proficiency extends beyond mere legal counsel; we provide comprehensive resources and guidance to ensure that travelers are equipped to navigate potential dangers and enjoy their cruise experiences to the fullest.

Is It Easy to Fall Off a Cruise Ship?

Modern cruise ships feature sturdy railings and barriers to prevent accidental falls overboard. Passengers must climb over these barricades to get in the water. So, in most cases, falling from a cruise ship is not a matter of chance but rather a deliberate action or the result of highly reckless behavior.

Slippery decks, rough seas, and intoxicated passengers can increase the risk of an unintentional fall. Cruise lines are responsible for maintaining safe conditions on board and monitoring passenger behavior to prevent dangerous situations from developing. When they fail in this duty, and a passenger falls overboard, the cruise line may face liability for any resulting injuries or losses.

What Happens If Someone Falls Off a Cruise Ship?

A fall from a cruise ship into the open ocean triggers a series of emergency response protocols. Every crew member has a role to play in the rescue operation.

First, the ship’s security personnel will review camera footage to determine the exact time and location of the fall. They will immediately notify the bridge, which will alarm the crew and passengers of the emergency.

The ship’s captain will stop the vessel and turn around to initiate a search and rescue operation. Crew members will deploy life rings, buoys, and other flotation devices to mark the area where the passenger went overboard. The ship’s rescue boat will launch a search for the missing person, while a designated crew member will maintain visual contact from the deck.

The cruise line will also contact the Coast Guard and other nearby vessels to assist in the search and rescue efforts. Time is of the essence in an overboard situation, as the fallen passenger faces dangers from hypothermia, drowning, and even shark attacks.

How Often Do People Fall Off Cruise Ships?

Falling from a cruise ship is relatively rare, but it does happen. According to a Cruise Lines International Association report, approximately 25 to 30 people fall off cruise ships each year out of more than 20 million passengers. That means the chances of going overboard are about one in every one million passengers.

While these statistics may seem reassuring, it is essential to remember that falling from a cruise ship is a life-threatening emergency. Passengers should always exercise caution and good judgment when drinking alcohol, moving about the ship in rough weather, and interacting with other passengers near the railings.

Do Cruise Ships Stop When Someone Falls Overboard?

As soon as a passenger falling overboard is reported, cruise ships are required to stop and engage in search and rescue operations. The ship’s crew will deploy its rescue boat and coordinate with the Coast Guard and other vessels to locate and retrieve the missing passenger.

The chances of survival decrease rapidly the longer a person remains in the water, however. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, the expected survival time in 70-degree water is only about three hours. In colder temperatures, hypothermia can set in much faster, leading to unconsciousness and drowning in as little as 30 minutes.

That is why passengers must know how to survive a fall from a cruise ship, should the unthinkable occur.

Surviving a Fall from a Cruise Ship

How to Survive Falling from a Cruise Ship in Open Ocean Image 2

If you find yourself falling from a cruise ship into the open ocean, follow these survival tips:

  • Stay calm and try to orient yourself. Look for the ship, as it will be your primary reference point.
  • Kick off your shoes, if possible, as they will weigh you down in the water.
  • Float on your back to conserve energy. Your body’s natural buoyancy will keep you afloat.
  • Resist the urge to swim after the ship. It will move too fast to catch, and you will only exhaust yourself.
  • Attract attention by waving your arms or wearing brightly colored clothing. Shout for help to alert passengers or crew who may be scanning the water.
  • If you see a rescue boat approaching, make yourself as visible as possible. Splash water or wave your arms to catch the rescuers’ attention.
  • Once rescued, immediately seek medical attention to address any injuries or symptoms of hypothermia.

Consult with a Cruise Ship Accident Attorney

Falling overboard from a cruise ship is a harrowing experience that no one should ever endure. If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in a cruise ship fall, consult with an experienced maritime attorney. At Louis A. Vucci P.A., we fight to hold cruise lines accountable when their negligence or unsafe practices contribute to passenger injuries.

Contact us today at (786) 375-0344 for a free and confidential consultation. Let us put our knowledge and resources to work for you as you focus on your physical and emotional recovery.