Man Overboard a Cruise Ship

7 Things to Do ASAP if You Fall Overboard a Cruise Ship

Hearing the words “Man Overboard!” on a cruise ship is every passenger’s worst nightmare. It’s a distressing scenario where the chances of being rescued can be slim. So, what should you do if you find yourself in this situation? How can you increase your chances of survival if you go overboard? Below we’ll discuss the steps you should take if you ever find yourself overboard on a cruise ship.

What To Do If You Go Overboard a Cruise Ship?

Don’t Panic

The number one thing to remember if you fall overboard on a cruise ship is don’t panic. Stay calm. Your goal is to stay afloat for as long as possible. Long enough for the rescue team to come save you. 

Find Something to Keep You Afloat

If you go overboard on a cruise ship, the first thing you do is find something to keep you afloat. Treading water is exhausting, and you won’t be able to do it for long. 

You need to conserve your energy by finding things that can help you stay afloat longer such as floating trash or debris. Remember, every little bit helps, so be on the lookout for anything that can conserve your energy and help you stay afloat until you can be rescued.

What to do if you fall overboard a cruise ship

Remove Your Shoes But Keep the Laces

Your primary objective should be to stay afloat for as long as possible.  Shoes are heavy and will weigh you down. It’s going to make staying afloat harder if you have shoes on. You can get rid of your shoes, but before you do, remove the laces. You can use the laces to tie things. Keep your socks on! 

Use Your Clothes as Floatation Device

If you find yourself overboard on a cruise ship, you need to stay afloat for as long as possible while waiting for rescue. One simple way to do that is by using your clothes as floatation devices. You can turn your clothing into a floatation device by inflating it with air and tying the ends.

For example, to transform your pants into a floatation device, take them off and tie the ends of each leg opening. Then, wave your pants over your head to fill them with air and knot off the waist once they’re full. This method can help you stay afloat, increasing your chances of being rescued.

You can also make your T-shirt into a floatation device. This time, keep your T-shirt on while in the water. Simply knot the bottom of the T-shirt and securely tie it around your waist. Then, blow air into the neck hole until it’s inflated. After that, tie a knot or hold on to the neck hole to keep the air inside. You will need to inflate your T-shirt occasionally to maintain its buoyancy, but it will assist you in staying afloat.

If you are wearing a sweater, you can also use it as a floatation device. Simply fill your sweater with air and tie up the ends. Similarly, if you are wearing a dress or tank top, you can inflate them to create a makeshift flotation device by tying off the ends after filling them with air. 

The best is to practice turning your clothes into floatation devices. If you have a pool, go in with t-shirt and pants and try to turn your clothing into floatation devices! Once you get the hang of it, you can easily turn any clothing into floaties!

Don’t Drink Saltwater

Avoid drinking the salt water. Although it may be tempting to do so, drinking seawater can lead to dehydration, as your body will try to flush out the excess salt by excreting more water than it takes in. 

What to do if you fall overboard a cruise ship

Protect Yourself From the Sun

You should protect yourself from the sun. Wrap clothes around your head to protect it. 

Make It Easy to See You

You need to make it easier for the rescue team to see you. Spotting a person’s head in the vast ocean is no easy feat. But there are ways to increase your visibility. 

First, try to gather any floating trash or debris around you. This will make you appear larger and more noticeable. 

Also, if you have any bright-colored clothing, wrap it around your head to make yourself more visible. Remember, anything you can do to make yourself stand out will significantly improve your chances of being rescued.

What are the Chances of Surviving Falling off a Cruise Ship?

According to a study by the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), there is a 28.2% survival rate if you fall overboard! Between 2009 and 2019, 212 individuals fell overboard, of whom 48 were successfully rescued. The 28.2% survival rate suggests that the outcome is not as bleak as commonly believed. There is hope! Below are a few examples of passengers being rescued after falling overboard on the cruise ship.

In 2023, a 42 year old woman fell overboard from deck 10 of Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas. The cruise ship was 30 miles off the coast of the Dominican Republic when she fell overboard. Immediately, the ship’s crew sprang into action and launched a rescue boat to search for her. After a 45-minute search, the crew was able to locate her, and she was rescued safely.

Another example of a successful rescue was in 2022, when a 29 year old man, James Michael Grimes, survived 15 hours in the Gulf of Mexico!  He was on a five-day Thanksgiving cruise with his family on the Carnival Valor when he fell overboard. After leaving the ship’s bar to use the bathroom, he went missing and was found to be in the Gulf of Mexico.

During his ordeal, he encountered some unbelievable situations. He spotted floating bamboo and decided to eat it to survive. He also swam through a school of jellyfish and got up close to what he thought was a shark or a big fish with fins. Luckily, he was rescued by a tanker ship after surviving for 15 hours in the Gulf of Mexico. Imagine treading water for 15 hours! It’s not an easy feat!

What Should You Do If You See Someone Go Overboard?

If you see someone falling overboard, it’s important that you act fast. First, yell out “Man Overboard!” as loudly as you can. Next, grab a floatation device and toss it down to the person in the water. The bright orange color of the floatation device will make it easier to spot during rescue operations. 

After that, quickly inform crew members and take note of the time. This will help the ship’s officers determine the exact location where the person went overboard and steer the ship toward that spot as quickly as possible. 

It’s also important to provide a detailed description of the person who fell overboard. Every little piece of information can help locate them. Remember, you need to act fast.

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