Another Death in Cruise Ship Swimming Pool

Published Aug 11, 2014 7:26 PM by The Maritime Executive

Princess Cruises has confirmed the death of a 29-year-old woman on board Sapphire Princess last week during a cruise between Shanghai and South Korea. The woman was found dead in the swimming pool.

There have been a spate of drownings, or near drownings, in the cruise industry over the last two years, says U.S. based maritime lawyer Jim Walker of Walker & O’Neill. These include incidents involving children on Independence of the Seas, Norwegian Breakaway and Carnival’s Victory. Also, a 42 year old passenger drowned in a hot tub on the Carnival Dream last year. 

The situation reignites the debate about whether cruise lines should employ lifeguards around the ship's swimming pools, says Walker. Only Disney employs lifeguards on its ships, and it only did so after a tragedy affecting a four year old boy who nearly drowned on Fantasy

Statistics from the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention demonstrate that about 10 people drown every day in the country. Drowning ranks fifth among the leading causes of unintentional injury deaths there. About one in five people who die from drowning are children 14 and younger, and for every child who dies from drowning, another five receive emergency department care for nonfatal submersion injuries.

The center cites lack of close supervision as an important factor. It recommends that children are closely supervised and kept within reach and that adults maintain a buddy system. 

Drowning can happen quickly and quietly anywhere there is water, even in the presence of lifeguards.