This case involves a child who suffered a traumatic brain injury on board a cruise ship while participating in a staff-run activity. The activity was geared towards 10-14-year-olds and took place in a recreational space dedicated for children. On the day in question, there were 5 staff members supervising the activity. The children were competing in teams for a prize and were required to run from one side of the space to the other as fast as possible. While running, a young girl slipped and struck her face on the ground suffering a traumatic brain injury. An expert in cruise ship recreation was sought to opine on how this accident could have been avoided.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. Please briefly describe your experience working with cruise ship recreational safety.
- 2. What could have been done differently to prevent this accident from occurring?
Expert Witness Response E-008094
I have served as a safety officer on several foreign flag passenger ships. Part of my job involved conducting daily rounds to identify unsafe conditions that might jeopardize crew or passenger safety. I also took part in safety meetings to help identify, mitigate, and remove unsafe conditions. This race was an unsafe and unwise decision by the cruise staff member. I would look at this from a historical perspective: whether this tactic was used before by this or any other cruise staff member. Was this tactic something that was used on other occasions during other cruise staff events? Was it known of by the supervisor of the cruise staff member involved? Was this tactic condoned by management? What was the weather at the time? What was the sea state? Even a low sea state on the bows or beam can create a dynamic situation where the ship is moving beneath you, which could make walking let alone running more challenging and dangerous. One thing I do know from being on numerous family cruises is that passengers are always admonished not to run. I have witnessed crew members tell running children not to do so. As a passenger ship safety officer I (on too many occasions to count) have requested that guests stop or not run on the ship.