A cruise vacation can be a wonderful way to relax and enjoy time away, but the fear of falling overboard is a deterrent for some from ever booking a cruise.

Approximately 300 individuals have fallen off cruise ships since 2000. In 2017 alone, 17 individuals fell overboard, and thus far in 2018, five people have been reported as falling overboard.

On April 12, 2018, a woman fell from the Pacific Dawn, a P&O cruise liner. Crew members searched in the choppy waters after she had fallen overboard, but she was never found.

In any given year, approximately 19 people on average fall overboard while on a cruise ship, based on data released in April by cruise industry consulting firm G.P. Wild.

Relatively speaking, these numbers are low considering more than 20 million people go on cruises every year. The chances of it happening to you are slim, but it certainly doesn’t take away the fear. Knowing the facts can help clear up some misconceptions regarding the possibility of falling overboard while on a cruise.

Specific Safety Standards

Specific safety standards are in place to prevent passengers from falling overboard while on a cruise ship. These safety features include having railings be set at a certain height and having security cameras in public places. The Coast Guard is also working on new technology to report when someone falls overboard, although this technology is not on many ships.

In addition, cruise bartenders are trained to tell when someone has had too much to drink, and if a passenger shows signs of having too much to drink, the bartender will not serve them anything further.  Many of these overboard occurrences can be attributed to excessive alcohol consumption.

New legislation would require cruise vessel owners to notify the FBI within four hours of a passenger going overboard and would prevent ships from leaving if the incident occurred while docked at a U.S. port.  In addition, the proposed legislation clarifies the need for video surveillance equipment in all common areas, while requiring video records be kept for at least 30 days following the cruise.  The video surveillance footage would also be made accessible to individuals seeking to file civil actions against the cruise line.

Comparative Risks

The bigger risks associated with cruise ships, is not falling overboard, but rather contracting an illness while on board a cruise ship. Diseases can be contracted through contact with bathroom doors or railings on the ship, as well as the many open food buffets on the ship. More cruise ships failed health inspections in 2017 than any other year the past decade.


If you have been injured on your cruise, on a wet and slippery deck, down a poorly lit staircase or steep gangway, in port on an excursion, or on a tender boat- it is important that you speak as soon as possible with a lawyer who specializes in personal injury claims against cruise lines. Most cruise lines, including Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Norwegian, MSC, Disney, Holland America, Princess, Costa, Regents Seven Seas and Oceania require that claims against them be pursued in a very specific place under very strict deadlines. Failure to comply with each individual cruise lines deadlines can result in a complete loss of any and all legal rights.

Aronfeld Trial Lawyers is a personal injury firm located in Miami, Florida since 1991.  We have fought hard to hold cruise lines accountable when they put their profits ahead of passenger safety.  We are available 24/7 and encourage you to contact us even if you are still on your cruise. The sooner we can begin our investigation and preservation of key evidence, such as the CCTV footage of your trip and fall, slip and fall, assault or other type of injury the more likely we will be able to understand and prove how the incident occurred. Remember, the cruise lines have the most aggressive and well funded defense lawyers in the world- protecting their profits.  You need an experienced legal advocate in your corner who will fight to obtain the compensation you deserve for lost wages, medical expenses, transportation reimbursement and pain and suffering.  Call us today and speak with a cruise ship claims lawyer about your potential claim- toll free 1-866-597-4529, 305-441-0440, or by email. We are ready to help.