It appears that most cruise lines do not want to spend the money needed to protect young passengers from drowning in their pools. If it is not that they are trying to save money, I cannot understand the reason why they continually resist hiring and placing trained and competent lifeguards at their pools.
Perhaps they argue that they would be exposed to even greater legal liability by not positioning the lifeguards in the proper places, not training them correctly, or for their failure to respond quickly enough. However, if they can find people qualified to get a massive mega cruise liner with 6000 passengers and crew from Miami to Cozumel three times a week, they can hire some Red Cross-approved teenagers who want to make some money and live on a cruise ship for three months--and most importantly save some lives.
Unfortunately, until the cruise industry--Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Celebrity, and Carnival--puts passenger safety ahead of profit, parents will need to make sure they put their vacation on hold whenever their kids want to enjoy the pools. Cruise lines simply prefer to place the responsibility for pool safety on untrained parents who have been plied with unlimited drink packages and spa days, and can easily fall asleep or be distracted from maintaining constant visual contact with their kids who are splashing around in overcrowded swimming pools with dozens of strangers.
For example, last week RCCL's Anthem of the Seas was forced to make an emergency return to port shortly after it left the Port of Bayonne, New Jersey, after an eight-year-old Dutch boy nearly drowned in one of the ship's swimming pools. The child, found unconscious, was airlifted to Staten Island University Hospital and is currently on life support.
RCCL released the following statement:
"On Thursday, June 30, an eight-year-old boy onboard Anthem of the Seas was treated by the ship's medical team after an accident in one of the ship's swimming pools, but required additional medical attention," a representative for the cruise line said in a statement. "Royal Caribbean's Care Team is providing support to the guest's family."
Cruise ships today have evolved into floating theme parks, complete with high-wire obstacle courses and waterslides. And like amusement parks, they need lifeguards who are trained to protect both children and adult passengers from harm.
What can parents do to protect their young kids who use the pools on cruise ships? As an experienced cruise ship accident attorney, I have investigated dozens of cases where children have been injured in and around swimming pools and other water attractions on cruise ships.
Here are five things all parents need to know to keep their kids safe on cruise ships this summer:
1. Keep your eyes on your children at all times.
2. Don't bring a book, magazine, game, or even your cellphone to the pool as this can lead to momentary distractions.
3. Do not drink alcohol while watching your kids in the pool.
4. If you need to use the restroom, make the kids get out of the pool and accompany you, rather than leaving them alone.
5. Do not trust strangers to keep their eye on your children while you get a spa treatment, grab a beer, or hit the casino.
In the end, our children are our responsibilities, and the cruise lines' failure to meet this simple level of safety is further evidence that profit is their number-one priority.