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Cruise lines beginning to hire lifeguards to make pools safer

Drowning deaths on cruise ships aren’t limited to man-overboard incidents, unfortunately. In recent years, several children have drowned or come close to drowning in cruise ship swimming pools, according to the maritime website gCaptain. Prominent incidents include a near-drowning on a Disney Cruise Lines ship and two tragic deaths on Norwegian Cruise Line ships.

All of these incidents took place in pools with no lifeguards in duty. In fact, until recently, it would be hard to find a lifeguard employed on any cruise ship in the industry. “Swim at your own risk” policies have been standard practice on cruise ships for years.

But in the wake of these tragic incidents involving children, some cruise lines are finally starting to hire lifeguards. Disney Cruise Lines was the first major cruise line to add lifeguards to its ships a few years ago, with Royal Caribbean Cruises following this year.

The latest cruise line to jump onboard is Norwegian Cruise Lines, which recently announced that they will hire certified lifeguards to work on all of their ships by early next year. The cruise line’s four largest ships will have lifeguards on duty beginning this summer. According to a press release, NCL has had pool monitors on their largest ships since 2015.

Even with a lifeguard on duty, you and your children will likely be assuming some risks when using a pool on a cruise ship. And just as poolside tragedies have been a wakeup call for cruise lines, parents vacationing with their children should also remember to be alert at the pool - and around the ship in general.

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