I am aware that some of you may have never been on a cruise and as a result of recent news probably don’t understand why anyone would go on a cruise vacation. In just the past couple of months, we have seen Norovirus outbreaks, pirate attacks and passengers falling overboard. Honestly if I were less informed a cruise ship would be the last place I would want to spend my next vacation.
First time or non-cruisers need to realize that every year millions of people go on cruises. Out of all those cruisers, only one in one million ever go missing. This makes cruising significantly safer than most land-based options. The efficiency of our news coverage as well as the growth of internet makes it seem as though cruise ship accidents happen all the time the truth is they are simply more newsworthy than a man being in a car accident while on vacation in Europe.
My friends and I have talked at length about how someone falls overboard. My opinion on that matter is that you cannot simply fall overboard unless someone (the cruise line or the passenger) is being careless or negligent. Here are the only ways I can think of that someone could go overboard all of them amount to negligence, malice or and act of god:
- Climbing over the rail
- Horseplay while near the rails
- Being pushed or thrown over the rail
- The ship rolling while you are standing near the rail (in which case the decks will most likely be closed)
Do these rails really stop you from falling overboard?
Every cruise ship has rails that surround every open portion of the ship. For anyone that hasn’t seen these rails they are about 4 feet in height. I am perfectly fine admitting that I am on the short side and the rails reach the middle of my chest making it impossible for me to take a tumble but even if you were significantly taller, it would still be almost impossible. To put things in perspective what if you were in your backyard talking to your neighbor over a four-foot high fence do you think it would be possible that you could suddenly fall over the fence with no outside help?
The truth is most of these accidents are the direct result of a conscience decision a passenger makes and sadly most involve the excessive consumption of alcohol. I will admit that while cruising I like to enjoy alcoholic beverages as much as anyone (and probably more than most) the key is to also understand the concept of responsible drinking. We all need to remember that even though we are on vacation our common sense never gets a day off.
In closing let me just say this post was obviously inspired by the most recent case of a passenger overboard. However, it was not meant to judge anything that may have happened onboard the Norwegian Pearl. It is solely my opinion on cruise ship accidents in general and is not meant as a reflection on the actual events of the Jennifer Seitz tragedy.