Friday, November 13, 2015

Is going overboard during a cruise something you need to worry about?
(Photo: iStock)With headlines like these, one could think there"s an epidemic
of people going overboard on cruises.On Nov.
12, a woman aboard Norwegian
Cruise Line"s Norwegian Pearl went overboard as the ship was sailing the
Yucatan Channel between Mexico and Cuba.
In a statement, the cruise line told
World traveling club Travel that during the chartered cruise, "a female guest
was observed intentionally going overboard…"The ship"s crew immediately
initiated rescue measures, including deploying multiple rescue boats and
notifying the Coast Guard and other relevant authorities." The woman has not
been found."That apparent suicide attempt came almost a week after a more
high-profile incident that was caught on video when 35-year-old vacationer
Bernardo Elbaz fell from Royal Caribbean"s Oasis of the Seas ship after
clinging to a lifeboat as horrified fellow passengers looked on.
His body
hasn"t been found.WATCH:"Passenger Falls Overboard on Oasis of the Seas
These stories highlight a scary reality of cruising: sometimes people fall
overboard in cases that often end tragically.
While there isn"t always
dramatic video, these cases almost always make national news in a way that,
for instance, accidents in hotels do not.
All the hype about these man (and
woman) overboard incidents may lead one to wonder how real the danger
is.
World traveling club Travel looked at the numbers and talked to a number
of experts.
We found that, as in many high-profile safety issues, there are
some concerns that are overblown and some that are more than warranted.What
the numbers sayLet"s get one simple fact out of the way first: this is a very
rare thing we"re talking about.
"Publicly available data shows that incidents
of man overboard (MOB) on cruise ships are very uncommon," Cruise Lines
International Association (CLIA), a cruise industry trade group, tells World
traveling club Travel.
In the average year, about 20 people fall off cruise
ships.
Compare that to the nearly 22 million people who cruised last
year.
That"s roughly one person going overboard for every one million cruise
ship passengers.
Related:"I Was on the Oasis of the Seas When the Man Went
Overboard

This year has seen a slight uptick.
According to
CruiseJunkie.com, which looks at passenger overboard incidents going back to
1995, there are now 26 reported cases of people going overboard so far in
2015.
That"s the highest number since 2009, when there were 25.
But 17.2
million people took cruises in `09, roughly 5 million fewer than this year.
So
it would appear the percentage of man overboard cases may actually be
lower.
Either way, the numbers don"t quite indicate that this is some kind of
a cruise ship epidemic.
The vast majority of people who enjoy cruises do so without falling
overboard.
(Photo: iStock)"I can"t argue with that point." says
CruiseJunkie.com founder Ross Klein, an associate dean in the School of Social
Work at Memorial University of Newfoundland and a frequent expert witness in
trials involving cruises.
But just because the number is small doesn"t mean he
thinks these cases should be dismissed.
"I think the idea is that [man
overboard cases] are frequent enough that people should be concerned," he
says.Klein notes that because these cases aren"t always reported by the cruise
lines or the media, we may never know exactly how big a problem this is.
"I"m
sure the numbers are a lot higher," he says.The booze/bad decision comboIt is
extremely difficult to accidentally fall off a cruise ship.
So how does it
happen? World traveling club Travel asked sea survival expert Mike Tipton, a
University of Portsmouth professor and co-author of Essentials of Sea
Survival."His answer was blunt: "No idea.
But I suspect alcohol plays a
role."
Indeed, in many of these man overboard cases, intoxication and/or
another ill-advised action on the part of the victim played a role in their
misfortune.
And that"s a problem on cruises, where many vacationers have been
known to abuse alcohol amid a party-hearty atmosphere.
While it"s unknown if
last Thursday"s apparent suicide victim aboard the Norwegian Pearl was
intoxicated, it wouldn"t be surprising.
Norwegian Cruise Line confirms the
suicide happened during a chartered cruise called "The Mad Decent Boat Party,"
which is advertised as "a vacation packed with beer filled
wishes."Related:"They Fell Overboard … and Lived! Craziest Cruise
Survival TalesAlcohol also appears to have been a factor in that tragic
caught-on-video incident aboard Royal Caribbean.
Reports say Elbaz had jumped
off his seventh floor balcony and struck the metal support for a lifeboat two
decks below."Clearly he was drunk and put himself in a nightmare situation,"
his family"s attorney, Michael Winkleman, admits to"People.
"Yes, he intended
to do something dramatic and he certainly put himself in a dangerous situation
but I don"t think there was any attempt to kill himself." (Royal Caribbean
disputes that.
In a statement to World traveling club Travel, the cruise line
says, "The Broward Sheriff"s Office determined that this case was a
suicide.")Other high-profile person overboard cases have similar
backstories.
A woman who admitted she was "extremely intoxicated" fell off the
Carnival Destiny in 2012.
She was rescued and later sued the cruise line,
accusing it of plying her full of alcohol and not rescuing her fast
enough."WATCH: Woman shares story of going overboard during a cruise Even in
cases where alcohol use isn"t confirmed, some man overboard cases appear to be
the result of extremely bad decisions one wouldn"t expect from a clear-headed
passenger.
A college student who died earlier this year after falling off the
Carnival Glory reportedly had tried to climb over a balcony railing.
And in
2009, a man aboard the Carnival Sensation apparently jumped off a balcony
after an argument with his wife.
He was rescued."

Dr.
Bradberry tells World
traveling club Travel that alcohol has played a role in many of the cases he"s
witnessed as a cruise ship physician.
He recalls a case of a young man who got
drunk on a cruise ship one night and accidentally fell overboard.
"His buddies
assumed that he had ‘gotten lucky" in the disco and did not become
concerned about his absence until late the following afternoon," Bradberry
recalls.
He says the passenger was successfully rescued after treading water
for over 12 hours."Excess alcohol consumption not only impairs one"s judgement
and coordination, it also reduces one"s ‘fear factor,"" Bradberry
continues.
"Intoxicated individuals are thus more prone to engage in risky
activities when intoxicated and do so with impaired performance.
The result
may be, for example, a 22 year old intoxicated male who decides to stand on
the first railing to urinate over the back of the ship at 2:00 a.m.
[only to
find himself] treading water.""Because alcohol consumption can also exacerbate
bipolar disorder and depression, Bradberry says it often plays a role in
shipboard suicides as well.
He says a passenger on one of his ships who"d
suffered a breakup and lost thousands of dollars in a casino decided to jump
overboard.
"Before hitting the water, he had enough time during the
seven-story fall to reconsider his action and changed his mind about wanting
to die," Bradberry recalls.
The passenger was rescued but, as Dr.
Bradberry
notes,""many [of these cases] do not have the same happy ending."Unsolved
mysteries
CruiseJunkie.com"s Ross Klein estimates that some combination of
ill-advised decisions, intoxication and suicide may account for as many as
two-thirds of passenger overboard incidents.
As for the rest, they may be foul
play or, as is more often the case, unsolved mysteries.
"I think what is most
problematic is that about a third of the cases are mysterious," Klein says.
He
recalls a case of one young man who went overboard.
"His family was told there
was video surveillance showing the person jumped overboard," says
Klein.
"Because of that report of a video, Klein says, the death was ruled a
suicide.
But then the family asked to actually see the video.
"The FBI
went back to the cruise line and said we want to see that video," he says.
"
It turns out the video didn"t show anything at all.
The FBI had believed what
the cruise line told them without looking at the video." Many MOB cases go
unsolved.
(Photo: iStock)Klein remembers another passenger whose mysterious
disappearance from a cruise was deemed a suicide, even though she was last
seen making plans to play bingo with her mother and daughter.
He also brings
up a couple whose disappearance was deemed a suicide even though their
families maintain the two had already started planning their next vacation.
In
such cases where there"s no body or no witnesses to a cruise passenger"s
disappearance, often the only story we get is from the cruise line —
whom Klein says might not always be open about such things."It"s not in their
interest to be totally forthcoming," he says of cruise lines, "in part because
they"re gonna be vulnerable to a lawsuit.
But probably even more so, it"s not
good for business to say people are disappearing from cruise ships."

What
can you do if you fall overboard?

Again, it"s extremely unlikely, but what
do you do if you fall off a cruise ship? First, the bad news: your chances of
survival aren"t great.
CruisePage.com looked at 86 man overboard cases from
2000-2015; the victim survived only 19 of them.
That"s a survival rate of
about 22 percent.
"If a person survives the impact with the water and manages
to not drown, there is very real risk of being run over by another ship,
especially at night," says Dr.
Bradberry.
There"s also the danger of
hypothermia and, yes, sharks."Related:"What Happens When Someone Falls
Overboard on a Cruise?

Still, sea survival expert Mike Tipton tells World
traveling club Travel it is impossible to "increase your odds.
"Be fit," he
says.
"Try and float rather than swim.
If you can float, do nothing until your
breathing is under control." Tipton warns of the "cold shock" people
experience when they"re suddenly immersed in cold water; the phenomenon
temporarily causes you to breathe deeply, thus putting you at risk of taking
in too much water.


Once that passes, Tipton recommends you just stay
still.
"Assume a fetal position if you can," he says.
"Wrap your arms around
your body to minimize body surface area exposed to the water." Other than
that, he says, stay positive and await rescue.""What can cruise lines do to
keep you from falling overboard?This is where the issue gets contentious.
The
cruise lines say they do more than enough to combat this
problem.
"Uniform minimum railing and balcony heights, structural
barriers, along with many other safety measures prevent passengers who are
acting responsibly from simply ‘falling" off a cruise ship," CLIA tells
World traveling club Travel.

Critics say cruise lines can do more.
"There
still appears to be too many cases of a passenger going overboard at night,
unnoticed by the crew or other passengers, with the cruise ship sailing on
cluelessly," maritime attorney Jim Walker tells World traveling club
Travel.
He points to technology that uses laser sensors to detect when someone
falls overboard and alerts the crew.
Cruise lines, with the reported exception
of Disney, have balked at installing the technology, which they call
ineffective.Then there"s the issue of alcohol, which is a common denominator
in all kinds of cruise calamities, from man overboard cases to sexual
assaults."Dr.
Bradberry says cruise lines already have policies in place to
prevent passengers from abusing alcohol.""Similar to on land, cruise ship
bartenders are trained to recognize intoxication and to ‘cut off"
passengers," he says.
In extreme cases, he says, on-board physicians and
security officers can revoke a passenger"s drinking privileges for the
remainder of the cruise.
"A simple adjustment to the passengers computerized
account can effectively block further alcohol purchases," he says.Watch: Man
Overboard — Cruising Under the Influence
Some critics contend, though, that cruise lines are more inclined to keep
the booze flowing, even if the results potentially are dangerous.
"We"re
dealing with an industry that sells all-you-can drink packages on board their
ships," says Klein.
"They can"t sell unlimited alcohol and then say it"s the
passengers fault for getting drunk.""
But is it reasonable to ask cruise
lines to forgo the considerable profits they get from alcohol, which is
enjoyed by millions of cruising vacationers who manage to partake without
falling overboard? Or to install railings high enough to deter people who are
determined to commit suicide? After all, "if someone wants to kill themselves,
you can"t keep them from doing it," says Klein."In the end, it all boils down
to the central question in public safety, at sea and on land: where is the
fine line "between taking reasonable precautions and protecting people from
themselves?
Let World traveling club Travel inspire you every day.
Hang out
with us on Facebook,Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.
Watch World traveling
club Travel"s new original series "A Broad Abroad.""
On Nov.
12, a woman aboard Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Pearl went
overboard as the ship was sailing the Yucatan Channel between Mexico and
Cuba.
In a statement, the cruise line told World traveling club Travel that
during the chartered cruise, "a female guest was observed intentionally
going overboard… The ship's crew immediately initiated rescue measures,
including deploying multiple rescue boats and notifying the Coast Guard and
other relevant authorities." The woman has not been found.  That apparent
suicide attempt came almost a week after a more high-profile incident that was
caught on video when 35-year-old vacationer Bernardo Elbaz fell from Royal
Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas ship after clinging to a lifeboat as horrified
fellow passengers looked on..
The vast majority of people who enjoy cruises do so without falling
overboard.
(Photo: iStock)"I can"t argue with that point." says
CruiseJunkie.com founder Ross Klein, an associate dean in the School of Social
Work at Memorial University of Newfoundland and a frequent expert witness in
trials involving cruises.
But just because the number is small doesn"t mean he
thinks these cases should be dismissed.
"I think the idea is that [man
overboard cases] are frequent enough that people should be concerned," he
says.Klein notes that because these cases aren"t always reported by the cruise
lines or the media, we may never know exactly how big a problem this is.
"I"m
sure the numbers are a lot higher," he says.The booze/bad decision comboIt is
extremely difficult to accidentally fall off a cruise ship.
So how does it
happen? World traveling club Travel asked sea survival expert Mike Tipton, a
University of Portsmouth professor and co-author of Essentials of Sea
Survival."His answer was blunt: "No idea.
But I suspect alcohol plays a
role."
Indeed, in many of these man overboard cases, intoxication and/or
another ill-advised action on the part of the victim played a role in their
misfortune.
And that"s a problem on cruises, where many vacationers have been
known to abuse alcohol amid a party-hearty atmosphere.
While it"s unknown if
last Thursday"s apparent suicide victim aboard the Norwegian Pearl was
intoxicated, it wouldn"t be surprising.
Norwegian Cruise Line confirms the
suicide happened during a chartered cruise called "The Mad Decent Boat Party,"
which is advertised as "a vacation packed with beer filled
wishes."Related:"They Fell Overboard … and Lived! Craziest Cruise
Survival TalesAlcohol also appears to have been a factor in that tragic
caught-on-video incident aboard Royal Caribbean.
Reports say Elbaz had jumped
off his seventh floor balcony and struck the metal support for a lifeboat two
decks below."Clearly he was drunk and put himself in a nightmare situation,"
his family"s attorney, Michael Winkleman, admits to"People.
"Yes, he intended
to do something dramatic and he certainly put himself in a dangerous situation
but I don"t think there was any attempt to kill himself." (Royal Caribbean
disputes that.
In a statement to World traveling club Travel, the cruise line
says, "The Broward Sheriff"s Office determined that this case was a
suicide.")Other high-profile person overboard cases have similar
backstories.
A woman who admitted she was "extremely intoxicated" fell off the
Carnival Destiny in 2012.
She was rescued and later sued the cruise line,
accusing it of plying her full of alcohol and not rescuing her fast
enough."WATCH: Woman shares story of going overboard during a cruise Even in
cases where alcohol use isn"t confirmed, some man overboard cases appear to be
the result of extremely bad decisions one wouldn"t expect from a clear-headed
passenger.
A college student who died earlier this year after falling off the
Carnival Glory reportedly had tried to climb over a balcony railing.
And in
2009, a man aboard the Carnival Sensation apparently jumped off a balcony
after an argument with his wife.
He was rescued."

Dr.
Bradberry tells World
traveling club Travel that alcohol has played a role in many of the cases he"s
witnessed as a cruise ship physician.
He recalls a case of a young man who got
drunk on a cruise ship one night and accidentally fell overboard.
"His buddies
assumed that he had ‘gotten lucky" in the disco and did not become
concerned about his absence until late the following afternoon," Bradberry
recalls.
He says the passenger was successfully rescued after treading water
for over 12 hours."Excess alcohol consumption not only impairs one"s judgement
and coordination, it also reduces one"s ‘fear factor,"" Bradberry
continues.
"Intoxicated individuals are thus more prone to engage in risky
activities when intoxicated and do so with impaired performance.
The result
may be, for example, a 22 year old intoxicated male who decides to stand on
the first railing to urinate over the back of the ship at 2:00 a.m.
[only to
find himself] treading water.""Because alcohol consumption can also exacerbate
bipolar disorder and depression, Bradberry says it often plays a role in
shipboard suicides as well.
He says a passenger on one of his ships who"d
suffered a breakup and lost thousands of dollars in a casino decided to jump
overboard.
"Before hitting the water, he had enough time during the
seven-story fall to reconsider his action and changed his mind about wanting
to die," Bradberry recalls.
The passenger was rescued but, as Dr.
Bradberry
notes,""many [of these cases] do not have the same happy ending."Unsolved
mysteries
CruiseJunkie.com"s Ross Klein estimates that some combination of
ill-advised decisions, intoxication and suicide may account for as many as
two-thirds of passenger overboard incidents.
As for the rest, they may be foul
play or, as is more often the case, unsolved mysteries.
"I think what is most
problematic is that about a third of the cases are mysterious," Klein says.
He
recalls a case of one young man who went overboard.
"His family was told there
was video surveillance showing the person jumped overboard," says
Klein.
"Because of that report of a video, Klein says, the death was ruled a
suicide.
But then the family asked to actually see the video.
"The FBI
went back to the cruise line and said we want to see that video," he says.
"
It turns out the video didn"t show anything at all.
The FBI had believed what
the cruise line told them without looking at the video." Many MOB cases go
unsolved.
(Photo: iStock)Klein remembers another passenger whose mysterious
disappearance from a cruise was deemed a suicide, even though she was last
seen making plans to play bingo with her mother and daughter.
He also brings
up a couple whose disappearance was deemed a suicide even though their
families maintain the two had already started planning their next vacation.
In
such cases where there"s no body or no witnesses to a cruise passenger"s
disappearance, often the only story we get is from the cruise line —
whom Klein says might not always be open about such things."It"s not in their
interest to be totally forthcoming," he says of cruise lines, "in part because
they"re gonna be vulnerable to a lawsuit.
But probably even more so, it"s not
good for business to say people are disappearing from cruise ships."

What
can you do if you fall overboard?

Again, it"s extremely unlikely, but what
do you do if you fall off a cruise ship? First, the bad news: your chances of
survival aren"t great.
CruisePage.com looked at 86 man overboard cases from
2000-2015; the victim survived only 19 of them.
That"s a survival rate of
about 22 percent.
"If a person survives the impact with the water and manages
to not drown, there is very real risk of being run over by another ship,
especially at night," says Dr.
Bradberry.
There"s also the danger of
hypothermia and, yes, sharks."Related:"What Happens When Someone Falls
Overboard on a Cruise?

Still, sea survival expert Mike Tipton tells World
traveling club Travel it is impossible to "increase your odds.
"Be fit," he
says.
"Try and float rather than swim.
If you can float, do nothing until your
breathing is under control." Tipton warns of the "cold shock" people
experience when they"re suddenly immersed in cold water; the phenomenon
temporarily causes you to breathe deeply, thus putting you at risk of taking
in too much water.


Once that passes, Tipton recommends you just stay
still.
"Assume a fetal position if you can," he says.
"Wrap your arms around
your body to minimize body surface area exposed to the water." Other than
that, he says, stay positive and await rescue.""What can cruise lines do to
keep you from falling overboard?This is where the issue gets contentious.
The
cruise lines say they do more than enough to combat this
problem.
"Uniform minimum railing and balcony heights, structural
barriers, along with many other safety measures prevent passengers who are
acting responsibly from simply ‘falling" off a cruise ship," CLIA tells
World traveling club Travel.

Critics say cruise lines can do more.
"There
still appears to be too many cases of a passenger going overboard at night,
unnoticed by the crew or other passengers, with the cruise ship sailing on
cluelessly," maritime attorney Jim Walker tells World traveling club
Travel.
He points to technology that uses laser sensors to detect when someone
falls overboard and alerts the crew.
Cruise lines, with the reported exception
of Disney, have balked at installing the technology, which they call
ineffective.Then there"s the issue of alcohol, which is a common denominator
in all kinds of cruise calamities, from man overboard cases to sexual
assaults."Dr.
Bradberry says cruise lines already have policies in place to
prevent passengers from abusing alcohol.""Similar to on land, cruise ship
bartenders are trained to recognize intoxication and to ‘cut off"
passengers," he says.
In extreme cases, he says, on-board physicians and
security officers can revoke a passenger"s drinking privileges for the
remainder of the cruise.
"A simple adjustment to the passengers computerized
account can effectively block further alcohol purchases," he says.Watch: Man
Overboard — Cruising Under the Influence
Some critics contend, though, that cruise lines are more inclined to keep
the booze flowing, even if the results potentially are dangerous.
"We"re
dealing with an industry that sells all-you-can drink packages on board their
ships," says Klein.
"They can"t sell unlimited alcohol and then say it"s the
passengers fault for getting drunk.""
But is it reasonable to ask cruise
lines to forgo the considerable profits they get from alcohol, which is
enjoyed by millions of cruising vacationers who manage to partake without
falling overboard? Or to install railings high enough to deter people who are
determined to commit suicide? After all, "if someone wants to kill themselves,
you can"t keep them from doing it," says Klein."In the end, it all boils down
to the central question in public safety, at sea and on land: where is the
fine line "between taking reasonable precautions and protecting people from
themselves?
Let World traveling club Travel inspire you every day.
Hang out
with us on Facebook,Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.
Watch World traveling
club Travel"s new original series "A Broad Abroad.""
On Nov.
12, a woman
aboard Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Pearl went overboard as the ship
was sailing the Yucatan Channel between Mexico and Cuba.
In a statement, the
cruise line told World traveling club Travel that during the chartered cruise,
"a female guest was observed intentionally going overboard… The ship's
crew immediately initiated rescue measures, including deploying multiple
rescue boats and notifying the Coast Guard and other relevant authorities."
The woman has not been found.  That apparent suicide attempt came almost a
week after a more high-profile incident that was caught on video when
35-year-old vacationer Bernardo Elbaz fell from Royal Caribbean's Oasis of
the Seas ship after clinging to a lifeboat as horrified fellow passengers
looked on.

0 commentaires:

Post a Comment

Travel Club. Powered by Blogger.

Popular Posts

Popular Posts

.