Cruise Ship Safety

The tragic grounding of the Costa Concordia along the coast of Italy last year may have you wondering about safety on your next cruise. Be assured that cruising is one of the safest of all types of leisure activities and means of transportation. According to the Cruise Lines International Association, “While any accident involving loss of human life is one too many, from 2005 through 2010 there were 16 marine casualty-related deaths out of nearly 100 million passengers carried worldwide. This record demonstrates the industry’s diligence and commitment to the safety and well-being passengers and crew.”Costa Atlantica

The cruise industry is one of the most highly regulated industries in the world. The industry complies with all International Maritime Organization (IMO) standards governing the operation of cruise vessels. These internationally mandated standards govern the design, construction and operation of ocean-going vessels. Any country where cruise ships dock have the right to board vessels at any time, unannounced, to conduct inspections. For ships that dock in U.S. ports, the Center for Disease Control’s Vessel Sanitation Program ensures cleanliness.

Lifeboats are an essential piece of safety equipment, and the cruise industry has made major strides in their design. Modern lifeboats are designed for quick passenger loading and to be launchable even when a ship begins to list, or lean to one side. For example, Royal Caribbean’s lifeboats are capable of launching even at a 20 percent list.

There has been at least one major change in procedure since the Costa Concordia incident. Previously, passenger safety drills (commonly known as muster drills) had to occur within 24 hours after the ship departed. Now, the drills will take place before the ship sails. And, the best thing you can do to ensure your safety on a ship is to participate in the muster drill. Know where you life vests are stored, your assigned muster station and how to get there from your cabin. Then, relax and enjoy your vacation!

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Copyright © Margaret Owen, Cruise Pro