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Pennsylvania vacationers be warned: Cruise boats can be dangerous

Last Saturday, a young child almost drowned in a wave pool on a Royal Caribbean cruise boat. As of last reports, the 4-year-old boy was in critical condition at a hospital.

The boy and his family's cruise ship had just disembarked, when the boy wandered away from them. He eventually found himself in the ship's wave pool and got pulled underwater. He was submerged for almost six minutes before a fellow passenger noticed him there.

According to an maritime law attorney, the tragic incident likely could have been avoided if a lifeguard had been present on the ship. The maritime lawyer said that drownings are not uncommon on cruise boats, but the problem could likely be circumvented with the addition of lifeguards aboard vessels. The lawyer said that it is highly irresponsible for cruise lines not to employ lifeguards.

The Royal Caribbean ship where this accident occurred, Oasis of the Seas, sails from the same Florida port every week. The 16-deck vessel can entertain as many as 5,400 guests at a time. While the ship has warning signs posted in front of its pools saying "swim at your own risk."

Although Royal Caribbean does not employ lifeguards, Disney Cruise Line does. After a 4-year-old almost drowned aboard a Disney vessel in early 2013, the line decided to post lifeguards on duty. Hopefully, more cruise lines will see the benefit of employing lifeguards, and they will begin placing the safety of their guests above the bottom line.

If you or your loved one has suffered an injury during a recreational activity on a cruise boat, in a skiing accident or at an amusement park, you may have legal options available to seek justice and restitution. Every Pennsylvania recreational accident case is different, but if a viable claim for damages exists, victims can seek money for medical care, money for disability and families may be able to seek financial restitution for the wrongful death of their loved one.

Source: Miami Herald, "Near-drowning on Royal Caribbean cruise raises concerns about lack of lifeguards" Carli Teproff, Jan. 04, 2015

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