Sad news is coming out that a 4-year-old child drowned aboard the Norwegian Breakaway a cruise ship opened by the Miami, Florida based cruise line NCL. Crew members were able to revive a 6-year-old boy also found in the pool. Both boys were found in the ship’s adult pool Monday morning. Most will remember last year a child died aboard a Carnival cruise ship. Our law firm handles all sorts of pool and hot tub related injury and death cases and we often find that such accidents can easily be prevented. In other words, there is NO EXCUSE why a child must die in a swimming pool.
Many vacation resorts install child barricades and hire life guards to minimize the likelihood of injuries and drowning deaths. Florida law requires resort pools to be surrounded by a fence that is at least 48 inches in height with self-closing and self-latching gates. The latches to these gates must be at a minimum 54 inches from the bottom of the gate. These safety measures are designed so that unattended children do not wander into pools and drown. In pools that have sloping transitions, such as cruise ship pools, floating safety lines must be mounted two feet before the dropoff towards the shallow end. This safety feature is designed to mark the deep end and give children something to hold onto if they find themselves in water over their heads. These precautions are relatively inexpensive for the average company and downright cheap for the multi-billion dollar cruise industry. This begs the question why such precautions are not taken on cruise ships?
At this time, the only major cruise line who employees lifeguards is Disney Cruise Lines (Magical Cruises). Disney’s decision to start using lifeguards was in reaction to a small child who almost drowned aboard its Fantasy cruise ship. If the cruise industry took the minimum precautions as other land-based resorts, child drowning would most differently be rare if not eliminated. One would think an industry that depends upon families vacationing on their ships would put in place basic pool safety precautions to protect the very same families who supports their business.