The holiday season is in full swing, and our maritime lawyers at Lipcon, Margulies & Winkleman, P.A. want to make sure you and your loved ones are enjoying a wonderful – and safe – holidays, especially if you decide to go on a cruise vacation or boat outing. Though we’ve been lucky that there has been a push for greater transparency in cruise accident and crime reporting, which has increased the public’s awareness of what really goes on aboard a ship as well as placed greater focus on the industry itself and (hopefully) has led cruise lines to make sure they are abiding by proper safety standards, the fact still remains that tragedies can – and do – continue to occur on the high seas.
If you are planning to head to sea during the holidays, it’s important to understand the dangers that can present themselves while on a cruise or on a pleasure craft. While there are times when freak accidents can occur, many maritime accidents and crimes are the result of operator negligence, and there are things passengers can do to reduce their risk of becoming a victim. Let’s take a look at a few ways you can help ensure you and your loved ones stay as safe as possible while out at sea.
For one, whether you are going on a cruise or a personal vessel, it’s important you come prepared. Make sure to pack an emergency kit with bandages, gauze, alcohol, and medicine so you are not left stranded without any supplies. Though several cruise lines have an onboard doctor, the truth is that ship medical facilities are only built to handle minor illnesses and injuries. Our maritime lawyers have often blogged about how cruise ship doctors aren’t always experienced enough to handle certain incidents, and sometimes it can cost an arm and a leg to obtain over-the-counter medical supplies. Packing your own emergency kit ensures that you at least have supplies ready to treat members of your party in the event someone suffers a minor injury or gets sick. If you are on your own vessel, this emergency kit is essential. It can take time for rescue teams to arrive at the scene of a boating accident, so having supplies on-hand can be critical in saving someone’s life.
Another way to reduce accidents and crimes at sea is to create a game plan with your party and establish meeting points. This is especially helpful for those who are taking a cruise. Ships these days are huge, and it’s easy to get lost. Given the fact that security is not the best on ships, assailants can also use a ship’s large size and hidden corridors to commit acrime, such as sexual assault. Establish meeting points with your loved ones so that in the event a party member does not show up right away, the matter can be quickly reported and cruise operators can initiate a search for the missing passenger. Also, avoid being alone whenever possible. The buddy system works not only to ensure your loved ones are always in the company of those they trust, but it also acts as a deterrent for assailants, who tend to target single travelers.
Additionally, it’s critical to ensure you either have life jackets on board your pleasure craft or if you are on a cruise, understand where your life jackets are stored in your stateroom and know where your muster station is so you can be prepared in the event of an emergency. A life jacket is often the only line of defense a maritme accident victim has and if you sustain any serious injuries or become unconscious, a life jacket is the only thing that will keep you afloat. Every person in your party should have fast access to a life jacket and know how to use one.
Lastly, in the event an accident or crime does occur, your loved ones can download our firm’s free smartphone app, Cruise Ship Lawyer , which is available for both iPhone and Android users. The app offers several convenient features, including a flashlight, data reporting, and even a Skype function so you can contact our maritime attorneys the moment something goes wrong so we can start building a case on your behalf before you return home.
These are just a few simple steps you and your loved ones can take to reduce your chances of being hurt or becoming the victim of a crime at sea during the holidays. From all of us here at LM&W, we wish you and yours a wonderful holidays.