How To Stay Safe On A Cruise Ship Pool Deck

The pool is often one of the most popular places on a cruise ship. And it's no wonder why! A cool dip beneath the hot sun in the middle of the open sea is as refreshing as it is fun. But a cruise ship pool deck can be extremely dangerous, which leads many travelers to wonder — exactly how safe are you on a cruise, particularly in this wet and crowded area? Injuries occur regularly on cruise ships, often on slippery surfaces. Between kids splashing, vacationers hopping in and out of the water, and the occasional overnight rainstorm, cruisers should consider the pool deck to be wet at all times.

So, is it safe to visit the ever-popular cruise ship pool deck? Yes, but you need to be careful, and certain precautions can make that a little easier. Some are no-brainers: Don't forego sunblock, don't drink too many alcoholic beverages, and don't forget about your kids. But other precautions can make the difference between a lovely afternoon hanging poolside and the unfortunate event of a serious accident. 

Walk, don't run, on the pool deck

While most cruise ship pool mishaps arise from accidental drowning, according to the WHO's Guide to Ship Sanitation, severe and even deadly injuries can occur from slipping on a cruise ship pool deck. The motion of a ship at sea, combined with slippery floors, unfamiliar surroundings, and crowded spaces, make accidents almost inevitable.

Fortunately, however, most ships have certain safeguards in place, which you should combine with your own good judgment. When possible, hold on to handrails, pay attention to cautionary signs, and stay out of fenced-off areas. Always walk, and consider wearing sandals or flip-flops with a good rubber sole.

And for those traveling with children, conscientiousness is especially important. Parents should talk to kids about pool safety before boarding the boat because, let's face it — once those kids get a glimpse of that glistening pool, your safety tips will be in one ear and out the other. Try to help your children control their natural urge to run and roughhouse. Not all cruise ships have lifeguards on duty, so a supervising adult should be within arm's reach of their child at all times. Unfortunately, drownings do occur on cruise ships, and all it takes is one misstep on a slippery pool deck to send someone splashing into the cold water.

Know what to do in case of an emergency

Accidents happen. And when they do, it's essential to know how to react. First, flag down help. Crew members are available to address a variety of issues ranging from illnesses to accidents. They're typically on call 24 hours a day, and if serious medical attention is required, they should be able to arrange medical care on land. The sooner a crew member is alerted of any accident, the sooner the injured traveler can start on the road to recovery.

Also, attending the cruise ship muster drill is always a good idea. The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) mandates that all passengers attend a muster drill before embarking. This drill includes a detailed safety presentation, and paying attention is vital. Passengers learn cruise ship safety tips, what to do in emergency situations, how to put on a life jacket, and how to decipher what the different cruise ship alarms mean. Attending could very well save your life — on the pool deck and beyond.