Cruise Lifeguard Lawsuit Sparks Debate

It is one of the most hotly-debated topics among cruisers, and it is heating up again thanks to a lawsuit filed last week: Should cruise lines be required to hire lifeguards for their pools?

The Basis of the Suit

The Miami New Times reports that maritime attorney Michael Winkleman has filed a lawsuit against Norwegian Cruise Line on behalf of Colleen Blair, the mother of a child who drowned aboard the Norwegian Gem in May 2015. The lawsuit references similar incidents upon other ships, and notes that Disney Cruise Line began hiring lifeguards for their pools following a 4-year-old nearly drowned and suffered severe brain damage as a result.

Should Lifeguards Be Required?

The New Times article says that the child in question “briefly escaped from their mother’s sight,” and therein lies the debate that has long raged where lifeguard-staffed pools are concerned. Many believe that too many parents assume that someone else will watch their children, whether it be fellow passengers or ship employees, and therefore become lax. They also fear that if cruise lines do put lifeguards on duty, parents will basically consider them poolside babysitters… and treat them as such.

Others, however, believe that while the protection of children is primarily the responsibility of parents, the cruise lines should take it upon themselves to add the extra layer of protection which comes with the hiring of lifeguards. While this is not a debate that will be settled anytime soon, we want to hear your thoughts on the topic. So hit the comments and let us know where you stand: Should cruise ships be required to hire lifeguards?

Featured photo: Jim Pennucci on Flickr.

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