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What Happens When Someone Falls Overboard on a Cruise?

By Sherri Eisenberg of Fox News

The only thing harder than falling off a cruise ship is surviving the fall. But it does happen.

It happened in January when a 22-year-old passenger on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas went overboard off the coast of Mexico. After passengers and crew on a passing ship, the Disney Cruise Lines Magic, heard his cries for help, a lifeboat was deployed and the man was miraculously saved.

According to CruiseJunkie.com, which tracks incidents at sea, there were 22 man-overboard (“MOB,” in cruise line parlance) incidents last year. And when you consider that 22.1 million people took a cruise vacation last year, that number is literally one in a million…

…In 2010 the United States Coast Guard put into place the Cruise Vessel Safety and Security Act, which regulates railing heights and the training of crew members who respond to these situations.

The response includes a variety of actions, according to Erik Elvejord, a spokesman for Holland America Line:

•  The bridge, where the captain is located, is notified.

•  Sailors are deployed to the nearest deck to assess the situation, and a lifeboat is readied.

•  To perform a rescue, the ship needs to be slowed down and often turned around.

•  Local authorities are notified.

Searching for someone who has fallen from a ship isn’t easy, and speed is essential.

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