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Florida family stresses need for cruise ship lifeguards

Most states, including Florida, either recommend or require that owners of pools that routinely entertain young children have lifeguards on duty to prevent drownings. Unfortunately, this responsibility does not seem to extend to the cruise industry, which has reported the drownings or near drownings of four children in the past year.

A family of central Florida suffered the worst possible tragedy when their 6-year-old son drowned in a crowded midship pool on the last leg of their five-day Carnival Victory cruise in the autumn of 2013. Despite repeated attempts by other passengers and staff members to use CPR to revive the boy, he was pronounced dead. The family not only lost their son but also saw their wrongful death lawsuit face trouble because the cruise ship industry is protected by a section of federal law known as the Death on the High Seas Act. The law does not provide compensation for pain and suffering, only financial losses in a wrongful death lawsuit. One legal professional describes this law as archaic.

The family emphasizes that their lawsuit is not about financial compensation but about making sure their son did not die in vain. They argue that because most cruise ships have unsecured swimming pools without lifeguards, they put their customers at risk, especially when the majority of cruise ship employees do not know CPR. Only Disney cruise lines provide lifeguards.

Any Florida family that finds itself in a similar situation of swimming pool injuries or death may want to consult a legal professional. A professional may help find the needed evidence and nuances of the law to find a cruise ship liable as well as give victims sufficient compensation for their losses.

Source: Click Orlando, "Parents of 6-year-old Central Florida drowning victim demand lifeguards on cruise ships," Louis Bolden, May 16, 2014

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