Is going overboard during a cruise something you need to worry about?
Okay, so many of you have put the boats in storage, and are now eyeing that inexpensive escape cruise this winter. But with headlines about people going overboard in abundance lately, one could think there’s an epidemic of people going overboard on cruises.
On Nov. 12, 2014, 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 stated 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 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.
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.
What the numbers say
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.ise ships are very uncommon,” Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), a cruise industry trade group, tells Yahoo 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.