As a lawyer who sues cruise lines, I have been asked, “Should cruise ships have lifeguards at their swimming pools?” The real question is why not? Cruise lines have a very specific legal obligation to provide a safe and reasonable environment for both their adult and child passengers. Para leer en español haga clic aquí.

Just this week a young child died by drowning on board a Carnival cruise ship leading to another cruise ship death. I received a number of emails and comments on our Facebook page about why Carnival did not have a lifeguard on duty when six-year-old Quintin Hunter drowned just a few feet from his family on the final leg of four-day Caribbean cruise.

After the incident, Caribbean announced that it does not require lifeguards but s signs requiring that children under 13 be supervised by an adult. Sadly, Quintin’s parent was but failed to realize his child was drowning.

How could this accident happen? Cruise ship pool operators, like those at most resorts and hotels, serve food and alcohol, and promote multiple activities simultaneously. Those activities provide enormous distractions for parents who are there to relax and enjoy their vacation.

I am a parent of two children, but I am not a life guard. Life guards are required to be trained and experienced in promoting pool safety. They are working, not playing, and have the ability to prevent tragedy by constant vigilance.

I hope all cruise lines learn a valuable lesson from this tragedy, and hire certified lifeguards placed near both deep and shallow pools. Cruise ship life guards should be trained in both First Aid and CPR/AED. The Red Cross offers lifeguard certification classes. Since most major cruise lines are headquartered here in Miami, I have taken the liberty of providing them with a link to the Red Cross’s next lifeguard certification class here. The course costs only $100 per person, and I have a suspicion that Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian and Disney can afford it.

I am passionate about protecting the rights of injured children, especially when they are injured aboard a cruise ship. We are currently representing a nine-year-old boy who suffered a traumatic brain injury while under the care of the Kids Club aboard a Royal Caribbean ship while it was docked in Nassau. To learn more about that case click here.

If you have been injured aboard a cruise ship, please email me or call me at 1-866-597-4529 for a free initial consultation. Cruise ship cases almost always require that a lawsuit be filed in Miami’s Federal Court, no matter where in the world the accident occurred.