Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) today announced that the line will begin employing certified lifeguards at all of the family pools across their fleet.
The need for Lifeguards aboard cruise ships was first highlighted in the a highly controversial expose gCaptain published in 2013.
Disney Cruises was the first large ship operator to hire lifeguards several year ago following the near-drowning of a four year old boy which caused significant brain injury and led to a large settlement for the medical needs of the child.
Since gCaptain first highlighted the problem several children drowned in swimming pools on NCL ships says Jim Walker, a cruise ship blogger and legal expert that’s been closely following the numerous swimming pool tragedies aboard ship. Two years ago, a 10-year-old girl drowned in a swimming pool aboard NCL’s Norwegian Gem and, in 2014, two small children were pulled from a pool on NCL’s Norwegian Breakaway as the cruise ship was sailing from New York to the Bahamas. Both children were unresponsive. The younger child (age 4) died on the cruise ship. The other child (age 6) was medevaced by the Coast Guard.
Royal Caribbean became the second cruise line to hire lifeguards when it announced two months ago that it would abandon its swim-at-your-own-risk which had been the industry’s standard policy for decades.
According to Norwegian Cruise Line the new lifeguards will be trained and certified by the American Red Cross in lifesaving rescue measures and will monitor the family pools during scheduled pool hours. The lifeguards will begin service this summer on the line’s four largest ships – Norwegian Escape, Norwegian Getaway, Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Epic – and on the remainder of the fleet by early 2018.
“Norwegian has stationed pool monitors on our largest ships since 2015 and we are now taking further steps to ensure the safety of our youngest guests with the addition of certified lifeguards across our fleet,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line. “While parents are always the first line of supervision when it comes to water safety, we felt it was important to provide this added measure across our fleet.”