Stories of passengers falling off a cruise ship seem to make the rounds every month or so. In fact, experts believe that an average of 1.5 passengers fall off the boat each month. It is a relatively small number considering the fact the cruise industry entertains about 27 million passengers annually, but critics wonder if the industry could do better.
Technology can monitor this issue
One of the biggest complaints for families of loved ones lost at sea is that many ships do not have better notification when someone goes over the railing. It can be hours or even a day before people are reported as missing. This is despite the fact that new technology involving radar, infrared sensors and video can alert crew immediately if someone goes over the side is now available. While ocean liners are large ships that take time to stop or maneuver, it would be possible to mark locations for potential rescue or recovery.
Cruise lines hesitant acknowledge matter
Another issue is that the cruise lines do not want to admit that it is foreseeable for passengers to go overboard. By admitting that possibility, it is thought that are admitting liability for not providing a safe travel experience.
Families do have options
Suits currently filed by families are subject to the Death of the High Seas Act. It does not cover such issues as the suffering and pain of loss, but family members can seek compensation to cover funeral expenses as well as potential lost wages the passenger may have earned.
Help is also likely on the horizon in 2019 thanks to the Cruise Passenger Protection Act. This bill that enjoys bipartisan support would increase the obligations of cruise lines to install new man overboard technology. It would also open the cruise lines to full wrongful death lawsuits that would involve full compensation similar to what airlines are required to provide.