Many cruise ship passengers slip and sustain injuries due to slippery decks each year. Maritime law imposes certain duties upon cruise lines to lessen the likelihood of such accidents and injuries. The purpose of this article is to explain these duties. Cruise lines are obligated under maritime law to exercise reasonable care under the circumstances for the safety of their passengers. In the context of slippery decks, this duty typically requires the cruise line to first warn passengers of the slippery condition and to make the area safe.
Maritime law imposes the duty upon cruise lines to warn of dangerous conditions. This duty extends to conditions it creates (decks wet due to daily washing procedures), conditions it had actual knowledge about (water accumulated on the deck due to a rain shower) and conditions it should have known about in the ordinary exercise of reasonable care (the banana that fell off a passenger’s plate and was laying on the deck for 10-15 minutes).