Falling Overboard

When you think about starting a career on board a cruise ship, the first thing your family and friends may talk about is the worry of falling overboard.

Also, the media is very quick in reporting cases where passengers or crew members "fell overboard". You see that I have put this expression in quotation marks, because nobody just falls overboard.

On all open decks and balconies you find handrails to prevent anyone just falling off the ship. Some cruise lines have even doubled up on handrails to make it more difficult to get on top or over the handrails.

Yes, people do fall into the ocean while on-board a cruise ship, but only because they are pushed or acting stupidly whether they are intoxicated or not.

For instance, some people think it is "cool" to sit on a handrail, when the name clearly states that the rail is there for hands – a handrail. If it would be something to sit on, it would be called a "buttock-rail". Even when ships seem to be stable in the ocean, there is always movement and often unexpected movements can occur and cause someone to lose balance.

Another example is a group of people, one is sitting on the handrail, the others are close by, joking, pushing and shoving a bit, accidentally hitting the one sitting on the rail so that they fall over board.

Unbelievably, some people try to perform a circus act by trying to walk on a handrail, whilst others try to push themselves up on the handrail and lay on it, to either look down the side of the ship – or to prove that they have a good sense of balance, or for whatever other strange reason.

Obviously the risks are to lose balance, overestimate body control and not consider that a ship is a moving object on water. (even if the ship is in port, alongside and tied up).

The most irresponsible and stupid behavior I have encountered is seeing passengers trying to climb from one passenger balcony to another – basically attempting to be the next cliffhanger.

Already the effort to climb over the handrail to get from the balcony to the outside of the ship is risking a fall of 10 decks or more before hitting a hard cement surface. You cannot call this "falling overboard" as the correct term is "person attempts/commits suicide on cruise ship"

Of course intoxication is to blame when individuals think that sitting on a handrail or climbing over it is cool or brave.

However before you sit/climb over a handrail, I suggest you think about the risks to your life.

Before believing everything heard / seen on the news regarding passengers or crew members "falling" overboard, it is a good idea to look at the facts.

Regardless if you go on board a cruise ship as a crew member or passenger, I urge you, for the sake of your life and survival, that you only touch a handrail with the body parts it is intended for - your hands.

Safe and happy sailing.