There’s something quite surreal about watching the news, when you’re confined in an artificial environment out at sea. From the war on terror to the Arab uprising to earthquakes and other natural disasters in Haiti, Japan and New Zealand, the real world seems like a sensational action movie. But then to watch another cruise ship sink on live TV, now that hits a bit closer to home.
All of a sudden, I have a new appreciation for the multiple boat drills we do each cruise. Safety is paramount not only because it’s Maritime law and the right thing to do, but because it’s obviously bad for business not to make safety first.
I obviously don’t know the specifics but whatever happened with that Costa cruise ship sounds like a tragic anomaly. The cruise line industry has come a long way from the days of the Titanic, so I’m puzzled as to how they could have “hit a rock” when it would shown on a nautical map. (Update: Apparently, the captain has now been arrested and accused of manslaughter, shipwreck and abandoning the ship.)
I considered what would happen if I were in a similar situation. It’d definitely be scary if the lights went out and the ship were listing to one side. But I’m fairly sure I would not panic. And hopefully, the passengers would keep their cool enough to listen to instructions from crew members. If not, well I can imagine it would be chaos.
Nevertheless, I still feel safe working on a cruise ship. If anything, I feel safer on-board than in places like Belize or Colon or Callao. Cruise lines actually have the best safety record in the travel industry. 19 million passengers traveled on cruise ships last year, with a minimal of issues.
If you really want something to worry about, than consider the significantly higher danger of jaywalking or being in an automobile accident or eating too much McDonald’s. End of the day, you should be more concerned about being hit by a car or dying from obesity. But I guess that’s too common now to be news.