What Happens During a Cruise Ship Safety Drill?

Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A

Whether it is your first time on a cruise, or you have been cruising for years, you may have some safety concerns before you head out on your next trip. We understand how you are feeling. After all, you want your vacation to be relaxing, exactly as it should be. You work so hard during the year, you and your family deserve a few days of uninterrupted fun. However, it is difficult to enjoy yourself when you are fearful for your physical safety.

As a result, many cruise passengers seek to have their questions answered and their worries pacified before they depart. Although many answers to major questions can be found on cruise ship websites, it may be more difficult to find detailed explanations of what you can expect when things go wrong. Therefore, if you have been wondering, “What happens during a cruise ship safety drill?” then you have come to the right place.

Understanding the Safety Drill Process

Understanding the safety drill process begins long before an emergency takes place. According to regulations from the Safety of Life at Sea Convention, passengers must be instructed on proper life jacket usage and steps to take during a muster drill (a cruise emergency drill) just before departure, or immediately after the ship has departed. This requirement this ensures that all passengers begin their journey with the same understanding of safety procedures.

Before a muster drill begins, the cruise director will announce all muster station locations, and crewmembers will be on hand during the drill to direct passengers to the correct stations.

Many major cruise lines assign guests to a muster station based on their cabin location. The station is then printed on each passenger’s cruise card, so that, in case of emergency, passengers report directly to that location, instead of returning to their room first. On smaller ships, there is typically only one muster station.

Once passengers have arrived at their muster station, they will receive further instruction which usually includes life jacket usage, as well as signs to listen and watch for. In this way, cruise lines do their best to make the drills as organized and stress-free as possible, so that all passengers are tended to in an efficient manner.

Unfortunately – Cruise Safety Drills Need Improvement

The initial cruise safety drill provides a unique opportunity for the cruise line to provide necessary warnings to passengers regarding hazards that passengers may encounter aboard the ship.  One of the most common hazards that most passengers are completely unaware of is the increasing incidence of sexual assaults aboard cruise ships.  “At a safety drill, the cruise line should warn passengers that: (1) there have been many instances of sexual assault aboard cruise ships; (2) passengers should avoid remote areas of the ship when they are alone; (3) passengers should watch their drinks from the point they are made until they are fully consumed because there have been many instances of people slipping drugs into drinks; (4) parents should be aware that child passengers are the victims in many instances of sexual assault aboard cruise ships and parents should not allow children to roam the ship alone, especially at night,” says Jason Margulies, one of our maritime lawyers who has represented many victims of cruise ship sexual assault.

LMAW Is Prepared to Help

Knowing what will happen aboard your cruise in case of an emergency can be a huge help for individuals who like to understand what is going on, well before it happens. We hope that this has helped you feel more prepared and better equipped to handle any situations that arise aboard your ship. However, we know that this is only half of the battle.

If a safety drill does sound aboard your cruise, we hope that no one falls victim to an accident or injury on board. But if that happens, you can rest assured that we are here to help. A maritime attorney on our team is ready to listen to your story, and help you get back to living your life.

So when you are ready to take the next step, do not hesitate to contact us.