Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday, and for so many reasons. This time of year inspires people to connect with one another and give back to each other and to the community. The holiday season tends to bring people closer together and highlights all the things we have to be thankful for. With this in mind, each maritime attorney at our firm would like to take this opportunity to wish you and your loved ones a very happy, healthy, and safe Thanksgiving and holidays in general and to share how thankful we are to have the opportunity to help those who have been involved in a cruise ship or boating accident to obtain justice.
We are also thankful for Senator John “Jay” Rockefeller’s continual efforts to improve transparency across the cruise industry (and safety in general), which has led several major cruise lines to reveal their crime and accident data reports to the public – data which many cruise lines have hid from the public eye for several years. In addition, we are thankful for all the efforts that have been made by cruise lines, cargo companies, and other maritime companies to improve safety for both passengers and crew members. We are equally thankful for those who have abided by the highest standards of safety while boating, such as avoiding speeding, refraining from boating while under the influence, and wearing life jackets. Your efforts continue to make a world of difference and, whether you realize it or not, have helped to reduce and prevent tragedies in open waters.
To continue on the subject of safety, we’d like to share a few maritime safety tips to ensure you stay as safe as possible during the holidays if your plans include spending time at sea on a cruise ship or aboard a boat or personal water craft.
- Wear a life jacket – Please do not head out to sea without a life jacket. We’ve said it time and time again, and we’ll continue to say it: life jackets prevent tragedies and are the only line of defense you may have if you are involved in a maritime accident. If you are severely injured or lose consciousness, your life jacket will keep you afloat and can save you from drowning before emergency crews arrive. Many life jackets even turn you over on your back to prevent you from inhaling water! If you are going on a cruise, please do not skip your life jacket safety drill. At the beginning of a cruise, you’ll be told where your particular muster station is and will be briefed on safety instructions so you know what to do in case there is an accident. Please do not skip this safety briefing – even if you know how to use a life jacket – because safety practices can change across the cruise industry and there may be updated information you don’t know about. This drill can save your life, and it’s only a few minutes long, so please make sure everyone in your party attends.
- Follow maritime safety laws – Each state has different laws when it comes to maritime safety, but there are a few ‘givens’ that everyone should abide by in order to prevent an accident out at sea. If you are going to spend the holidays on a boat or personal water craft, please abide by the speed limit, refrain from consuming alcohol before going out on the water or during your time in the water, make sure your vessel is in proper working condition, make sure the person operating the vessel is experienced, and please make sure you are paying very close attention to your surroundings. Many accidents happen just because someone was distracted for a split second. By abiding by these laws, you can not only save yourself from possible injuries (or death), but save others as well. If you are going on a cruise, please try to refrain from becoming overly intoxicated. Though we know that a cruise vacation is a time to relax and kick back (and for many this includes enjoying a cocktail or two), the overconsumption of alcohol can cause inhibitions to be lowered, leading to accidents, injuries, and possibly even tragic crimes. A large percentage of cruise ship rape cases occur because the victim was intoxicated and was unable to defend themselves from the attacker or because they lacked the sound judgment because of their intoxicated state to stay away from suspicious persons and found themselves isolated with an assailant. Additionally, intoxication can prevent you from noticing if someone slips a date rape drug in your drink. We cannot stress how dangerous it is to get overly intoxicated on a ship, so please enjoy your alcohol responsibly so that you can avoid a tragedy.
- Use the buddy system – Whether you are going out on a boat or cruise, please make sure you are traveling with at least one other person. Having a group with you at all times not only reduces your chances of getting hurt or becoming the victim of an accident, but can ensure that if something does happen, you have people who are watching your back and can notify authorities in the event something goes wrong. As the popular saying goes, there is always safety in numbers.
By following those tips, you can reduce your chances of getting hurt during this holiday weekend. And, don’t forget to download our free Cruise Lawyer App on your iPhone or Android smart phone for added safety while out at sea.