Royal Caribbean International has implemented a water-safety program across its entire fleet.
Lifeguards will be posted on all pools during operating hours and will be trained and certified by StarGuard Elite.
In addition, the program incorporates gear and safety guidelines that will be provided to guests throughout their cruise. This includes swim vests for children ages 4-12, a water safety presentation in the Adventure Ocean kids program, and a teen 411 session on water safety.
The campaign launches in March, and will be available on every ship by June 2017.
The program launch makes Royal Caribbean only the second major cruise line to implement lifeguards on its ships. Disney Cruise Line’s lifeguard policy came about after a 4-year old boy nearly drowned on a ship in 2013, said James Walker, a maritime lawyer with Walker & O’Neill, P.A. based in South Miami, Fla.
Over the years, many children have drowned in pools on major cruise ships, including an 8-year-old boy who drowned in a pool on Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas ship in 2016, and a 10-year-old girl who perished on Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Gem in 2015.
A lack of lifeguards may have contributed to these incidents. There are no mandates requiring cruise ships to have lifeguards. Instead, many lines provide signage alerting consumers that no lifeguard is present.