With so many destination and ship options for all of your vacation needs, more and more people are opting to go on cruises. You have the best of both worlds – being on the water and on land – plus countless other amenities and features that you can only find when you’re cruising.
Just like all vacations, however, it’s important to remember that along with having fun, staying safe and remaining injury-free should be one of your top priorities.
A cruise can potentially expose you to situations you wouldn’t find yourself in if you drove or flew to your vacation destination. So let’s look at where the most common cruise injuries happen and how to prevent them from happening in the first place.
Cruise Ship Accident and Injury Data
A 2010 study published in the International Maritime Health Journal analyzed passenger accidents and injuries on a cruise with “a median passenger load of 719 per day” over a three-year period of time.
During that time, 668 injuries were reported, with the victims’ median age being 72. Nearly two-thirds of those injuries were reported by women, and only 12.5 percent were determined to be serious injuries. “Serious injuries” were classified as a passenger needing to be hospitalized ashore or if a full recovery was not expected within two weeks.
Here are the injury results of the study:
- Most injuries – 65.3% – happened aboard the cruise ship, whereas 31.1% happened ashore, and 3.6% happened on tenders (where you have to go ashore on a small boat).
- On the ship, 20.1% of injuries occurred in cabins and 13.4% happened in bathrooms.
- Ashore, 29.6% of injuries happened in the streets and 16.1% occurred on buses.
- Slips, trips, and falls were the most common injury, causing 44.8% of injuries aboard and 69.4% ashore.
- The most common injury type was an open wound – 41.6% – and the most injured body part was a lower extremity at 43.0%.
- More fractures, dislocations, and wounds happened ashore than on board the ship.
- Only 2% of cruise injury passengers had to be hospitalized in port.
- Five percent of injured passengers were referred to specialists in local ports and then were able to return to the ship.
- During the entire length of the study, there were no helicopter evacuations or ship diversions.
So what can we determine from this data?
- First, most cruise ship injuries happen on the ship, but you also still need to be cautious when you’re on shore.
- Cabins and bathrooms are high-risk areas for injuries.
- Slips, trips, and falls cause the most injuries.
- Most cruise ship injuries aren’t serious and passengers tend to recover quickly.
Now that we know this cruise ship injury data, let’s explore how we can prevent these injuries from happening.
Cruise Safety Tips
Injuries can happen for a number of reasons, but when you’re on a cruise there are a few things you can do to try to avoid injuries. Remember these safety tips when you take your next cruise.
Wear appropriate shoes. Cruise ships are mostly stable, but there’s always the potential for rough water. On top of that, cruise ships today have numerous pools and water activities on board, so you’ll most likely encounter a slick surface or two. Packing shoes with a good rubber sole – along with packing other cruise essentials – will keep you from slipping or tripping. Also, no matter how tempting it is, don’t walk around barefoot on the ship.
Be aware of your surroundings. This applies whether you’re on a cruise or not. Whenever you go some place new, familiarize yourself with your surroundings so you can detect any potential hazards and possible exits if an emergency situation arises.
Don’t run. This probably isn’t as much of an issue for adults, but if you have children, remind them not to run from place to place. Someone running can not only cause injuries to themselves, but also to others.
Drink alcohol in moderation. One of the perks of being on a cruise when you’re over 21 years old is the ready availability of alcohol coupled with the fact that you don’t have to worry about driving anywhere, but too much alcohol can put you at a higher risk for injuries. By drinking alcohol in moderation, you can keep your wits about you and remain in control if you find yourself in an injury-prone situation.
Regardless of where you go on vacation, you always want to be cautious and safe, but a cruise ship can present you with numerous injury opportunities if you’re not a careful. Keep these safety tips in mind for your next cruise vacation, and, in the event that you or a loved one is injured, reach out to an experienced cruise injury attorney to see if you’re entitled to any compensation for those injuries.
About the Author:
Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of Winston Law. For over 20 years, he has successfully represented cruise victims who have suffered all kinds of injuries and illnesses due to negligence. He has been recognized for excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, is AV Preeminent Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, enjoys a 10.0 rating by AVVO as a Top Personal Injury Attorney, has been selected as a Florida “SuperLawyer” from 2011-2017 – an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state – and was voted to Florida Trend’s “Legal Elite” and as one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Florida and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the Miami area for 2015, 2016, and 2017.