Drowning and near-drowning accidents are responsible for several cruise ship and boating fatalities. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drowning is responsible for around 10 deaths each day. Yet, while drowning accidents are highly preventable, not everyone understands the many risk factors that can contribute to these types of incidents or how to avoid becoming a victim.
Drownings can happen anywhere and at any time. They can occur in a community pool, residential pool, ocean, or hut tub. Most of the time, drownings happen because swimmers weren’t properly monitored by a supervising adult or a lifeguard.
Drowning Deaths and Near-Drowning Tragedies on Cruise Ships
In 2015 alone, several people died or were nearly killed in cruise ship drowning accidents. Sadly, many victims were children. However, there have been numerous drowning and near-drowning incidents to transpire throughout cruise industry history. While some accidents gain media attention, many go unreported.
For one, cruise lines can be held liable (or at least partially accountable) for any drowning accident on a ship. Cruise lines have a responsibility to abide by the highest standards of safety to the best of their ability, which includes equipping vessels with the latest accident prevention technology and ensuring ships are well-guarded by experienced security professionals. One of the many ways drowning accidents can be prevented is by hiring trained lifeguards on all ships. Yet, less than a handful of cruise lines employ lifeguards.
Instead of doing all that is within their ability to prevent drowning accidents, cruise operators post signs by their pools that warn passengers to “swim at their own risk.” The problem is that anyone can succumb to a drowning accident, whether it’s a child or an adult. And without lifeguards present to quickly assess a potentially dangerous situation and assist, the chances of a victim’s survival are minimal.
Below is a list of the most recent cruise ship drowning accidents and near-drownings:
- An 8-year-old boy died in a cruise ship drowning accident aboard Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas vessel in December, 2015
- A 10-year-old girl drowned in a cruise ship pool aboard the Norwegian Gem in May, 2015.
- A 4-year-old boy nearly drowned in a “kid friendly” swimming pool aboard Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas cruise ship in January, 2015
- A 4-year-old boy died and his 6-year-old brother was hospitalized after drowning and near-drowning accidents in a pool aboard the Norwegian Breakaway in February, 2014
- Michael Ward (aka Birdie Africa), a 1985 MOVE bombing survivor, died at age 41 after drowning in a hot tub aboard the Carnival Dream in September, 2013
- A 4-year-old boy was airlifted from the Disney Fantasy after nearly drowning in one of the ship’s pools in April, 2013
The Truth About Drowning Accidents
Anyone who is swimming in a pool, ocean, lake, or relaxing in a hot tub can become the victim of a drowning accident. Most of the time, drownings occur in just mere seconds – even if the victim is an experienced swimmer. However, these kinds of tragedies can be prevented. The easiest way to stop a drowning from happening is to closely supervise those in the water. No one should be left unattended in a pool or body of water, not even adults.
The following are some statistics that you might be surprised to learn about:
- The World Health Organization (WHO) explains that an estimated 388,000 drowning deaths occur every year
- It only takes a few minutes for someone to drown
- The human brain begins to fail after four minutes of being submerged underwater
- Survivors can still suffer a number of injuries, including lung and esophageal scarring, as well as permanent brain damage
- Children between the ages of one and four are most likely to experience drowning accidents
Obtain Justice With the Help of Our Drowning Accident Lawyers
If you or someone you love was involved in a drowning or near-drowning accident because the area where you were swimming was not properly monitored by a trained lifeguard or other professional, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit. The drowning accident attorneys at our firm can review your case and help you understand your rights as a victim. Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. has been assisting victims of maritime accidents since 1971 and our lawyers work diligently to recover compensation for your pain and suffering.
For more information on drowning and near-drowning accidents, or to schedule a free consultation with a maritime attorney, contact Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. today.