Last time, our cruise ship lawyers discussed some simple ways in which you, as a cruise passenger, can reduce your chances of becoming a target of theft while on the high seas or in port. In this part of our blog installment, we’ll explore how you can reduce your chances of getting hurt at sea, as well as how to keep loved ones as safe from harm as possible.
The attorneys at our firm have been representing the victims of cruise ship accidents and crimes for several years. Though we would like nothing more than for all cruise passengers to have an incredible and safe time on their vacations, our experience has shown us that unfortunately, even the most careful of travelers can get hurt at sea or in port. Sure, at some point we all take a tumble and suffer an injury through no particular person’s fault, and sometimes we may make a few wrong decisions (such as consuming a little too much alcohol) that can cause us to get hurt. But there are times when even the most prudent of travelers is faced with an unforeseeable circumstance that can result in a serious accident.
No one goes on a cruise vacation automatically thinking the worse will happen. But it’s important to always keep a watchful eye for signs that something may be off. Many of us get that “6th sense” when danger approaches, and it’s important to listen to that gut feeling. But for the average cruise passenger, who is trying to relax and having a good time, it can be difficult to stay alert at all times.
That being said, there is a huge difference between being in a constant state of anticipation for the worst possible scenario, and enjoying a vacation in a responsible and cautious manner. Let’s take a look at a few of the ways you can reduce your chances of getting hurt while on your cruise voyage.
Monitor Your Alcohol Intake – and that of Your Loved Ones
Consuming too much alcohol can lead to accidents, injuries and even death on a cruise ship. There have been numerous people that have gone overboard from ships because they were too intoxicated and others who have died from alcohol poisoning – many of whom were underage. At the very least, being overly intoxicated on a ship can lead you to sustain a fall. At the very worst, it can lead to sexual assault or death. Cruise ship vacations are supposed to be fun, and for many, that includes the ability to enjoy an alcoholic beverage or two. But that being said, it’s important to drink responsibly. It’s dangerous enough to become intoxicated on land, but if a cruise passenger were to become intoxicated on a ship, there are no police officers around to help and there’s no way to call a cab or a friend to go home.
As on land, make sure that if you are drinking on you cruise vacation, you 1) have a trusted designated companion with you at all times, 2) keep a close watch on your drink and never leave it unattended, 3) never accept drink from persons you do not know, and 4) stay away from isolated areas.
Notify Travel Companions of Your Whereabouts
Cruise ships are getting bigger, but that doesn’t mean they are becoming safer. It’s very easy to get lost on a ship, and very easy to become the victim of an accident or crime. Since cell phone usage is extremely limited (reception is usually only available in port), it’s important to establish meeting points with your group, bring communication devices on board, like walkie talkies, and always employ the “buddy system” while out and about on the ship.
Let your party know what your plans are for the day so you can easily be reached. In the event something goes wrong, your loved ones will know where to find you, and if you are not at your aforementioned location, they can contact ship security and initiate a search much faster. If you do not inform your party of what you’ll be doing, you may become the victim of an accident or crime at sea and it can be hours before someone notices you are missing or in danger and by the time help is sought, it may be too late.
Keep a Close Eye on Children
As important as it is to notify your travel partners of your whereabouts on a ship or in port, its even more crucial to monitor the whereabouts of young children. Many cruise ship sexual assault victims are under the age of 18. Though there are many on board children’s activities, we highly advise to keep young children monitored by someone in your party as much as possible. Sadly, many assailants on ships are crew members – and many of those crew members work in on board children’s programs. And aside from crimes, children are much more likely to become the victims of drowning accidents. Refrain from letting young children roam around a ship unattended and always make sure you have a set meeting point in the event you are separated from your kids.
Know Your Options
If you become the victim of an accident or crime on board a ship, you have a right to seek help. Notify ship security or medical personnel immediately. Always document the incident in writing and take pictures of the scene of the accident or crime if possible. Collect the names of all crew members and witnesses you spoke with and contact the FBI at the nearest port.
Aside from seeking help on board or with law enforcement officials, you also have a right to seek legal help with a cruise ship lawyer. Our firm offers a free app for iPhone and Android users called “Cruise Ship Lawyer”, with several important features that can help you in the event of an emergency, including a built-in flashlight, incident documentation, and Skype, so you can reach one of our attorneys as quickly as possible.