Are Cruise Ship Pools Safe?

In July, a 4-year-old boy nearly drowned, suffering critical injuries, following an incident involving a cruise ship pool.

The boy was on a family vacation when he was “swept under” a pool aboard the Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas. It is believed that he was underwater for an estimated five to 10 minutes. The incident occurred outside of Florida, where the boy was later transported for medical treatment.

Royal Caribbean released a statement after the incident saying that the cruise line does not have lifeguards stationed on ship pools. “Signs are always posted that warn passengers to swim at their own risk, similar to what you’d see at many hotels,” a representative said.

The boy was traveling with his two parents and another sibling when the incident occurred. A bystander reportedly noticed the child in the pool, alerting a nearby swimmer to pull him out of the water. After he was removed from the pool, he had no pulse and witnesses began performing CPR. He was then transported to the ship’s infirmary and provided with “aggressive advanced life support” measures, where workers were able to restore his pulse.

He was then transported from the vessel for medical treatment on land. It remains unclear if the boy was being monitored by adults nearby when the incident occurred.

The Dangers of Cruise Ship Pools

As this incident shows, cruise ship pools can be dangerous for guests. Most cruise lines do not offer lifeguards on decks, so it is often up to guests to monitor their own behavior and safety. This is especially true if you have children.

Cruise ship pools offer the same dangers as land-based pools; however, sometimes there are additional hazards as there can be wet surfaces or shifts in a voyage that can contribute to a passenger fall or someone being swept into a pool. Additionally, the presence of alcohol aboard many vessels can contribute to drownings or other injuries, as people can lose their balance and become inebriated.

If you have been injured in a cruise ship pool, you may want to speak to an attorney, who may be able to conduct an independent investigation into the incident. A maritime trial lawyer could help you determine if negligence on the part of a cruise line contributed to the accident. This can include investigating whether a guest was overserved alcohol, if there were slip hazards around a pool and whether employee negligence contributed to an event.

In the video above, maritime injury attorney David Anderson details laws that apply to Americans injured on cruise ships.