Our cruise ship accident attorneys represent the victims of overboard accidents.  This includes Carnival Cruises, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian cruise lines, as well as private passenger boats and cargo vessels.  

 One thing that few people consider when they are planning a cruise is falling overboard.  While falling overboard is one of the worst things that can happen, it often goes undocumented.  Cruise lines are required by law to report serious incidents, such as this, to the Coast Guard, the FBI, and maritime authorities, they often doing just that.  Cruise lines often fear the bad publicity that will lead to a drop in customers, affecting their business.  They also may fear being named in a liability lawsuit.  Thankfully, family members and those who survive falling overboard can consult with a maritime attorney to determine if they have legal recourse.


These overboard tragedies tend to be underreported and, if reported, critical details are often omitted by the cruise lines.  Why do they do this?

If a cruise line becomes known for frequent overboard accidents, you can imagine the effect that it might have on their business.  A customer would more likely book a cruise with a cruise line with a safer record than one that has a higher number of documented overboard accidents.  Additionally, a portion of the man overboard accidents are a result of an unsafe condition on the ship and that would result in the cruise line being able to be held liable or partially liable for the incident.

Maritime law requires that cruise lines provide a reasonably safe environment on board.  This means that, to the best of their ability, the cruise lines need to assure that their passengers and crew members are safe.  In a time where we are seeing drastic improvements in technology, the cruise line industry has not made many changes to prevent these accidents.  Despite improvements in man overboard detection and security cameras, cruise ships will not always immediately stop when a man overboard incident has been detected or reported.  Therefore, it will take much longer to conduct a search and rescue.  The terrifying truth is that the longer some is left in the water, the chances of surviving to reduce dramatically. 

Here are some things that may contribute to overboard accidents on a cruise ship:

·       Homicide or assault

·       Failure to monitor and limit the amount of alcohol served to passengers

·       Inadequate surveillance and a shortage of security crew members on board.

·       Failure to monitor onboard security camera footage


When a person, crew member or passenger, has been reported as having gone overboard, the cruise line must immediately begin a reasonable search.  If they fail to find the person on board, they are legally bound to report the disappearance to the FBI and the Coast Guard.  Additionally, they must return the ship to the last place where the person was reported to be seen.  If a cruise line fails to perform these duties in a timely fashion, they not only reduce the victim’s chances of survival but they also open themselves to liability for the victim’s injuries or death.  Many overboard accidents may the direct result of the negligence of the cruise line; overboard victims and their families have the right to consult an attorney in these cases.

If you or a loved one, has been the victim of an overboard accident, contact the maritime attorneys at Madalon Law.  Our cruise ship accident attorneys handle cases including Carnival Cruise Lines, Norwegian Cruises, Royal Caribbean and more.